Current Projects

Africa Research in Sustainable Intensification for the Next Generation (Africa RISING

BACKGROUND

Research and development on agricultural productivity is grappling with the growing demand for food. The key challenge is how to increase food production to feed an ever growing population, while at the same time decreasing the negative environmental impacts of agricultural expansion. This challenge requires sustainable transformations in the entire food value chain system. Thus, several development partners have proposed ‘sustainable intensification’ (SI), as a potential approach to enhance agricultural productivity. The approach has been widely promoted to increase food production from existing farmlands, in ways that do not overexploit the environment. Within this context, sustainable intensification is a system through which agricultural yields are increased to sufficiently improve food, nutrition, and income security, particularly for women and children, and at the same time conserve or enhance the natural resource base.

Efforts have been made to disseminate proven SI technologies and practices, as well as promote upscaling for adoption by a larger population of farmers. Yet, the adoption of many proven SI technologies has been low and remained patchy. It is against this background that the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) is implementing the second phase of the Africa RISING project in Ghana. During the first phase of the project, the following SI technologies/practices were generated and proven:

 

Climate-smart (high-yielding, early-maturing, drought and disease tolerant) crop varieties

Good agricultural practices to improve cereal-legume-vegetable cropping

Soil fertility and water management practices

Livestock feeding, housing, health-care and breeding management

Ways of food waste and spoilage reduction

 

The second phase of the project aims to provide pathways out of hunger and poverty for smallholder families through effective upscaling of the proven sustainable intensification technologies and practices for diverse farming systems in Ghana.

Our involvement with Africa RISING

Most studies highlight the importance of the socio-economic environment (policy and institutional contexts), in ensuring the effective delivering of necessary goods and services underlying SI. Thus, there is a need to develop evidence-based understanding of the SI gaps and dysfunctionalities in national agricultural policies and/or programmes, as well as the institutional contexts of farming communities. To this end, CSIR-STEPRI is conducting research to understand the gaps in national agricultural policy and programme, as well as the farming institutional contexts, to be able to draw out insights on how best to scale-up the proven SI technologies.

The main aims of the research are to:

  • Identify gaps in existing agricultural policies and programmes (with a focus on sustainable intensification)
  • Diagnose the institutional conditions prevalent in input and output markets, and farming systems in IITA intervention areas (Northern, Upper-East and Upper-West Regions of Ghana)
  • Identify and mapped out strategic partners engage in agricultural development and agribusiness and investigate their potential for scaling-up the proven SI technologies

 Work done so far

The research is basically centred on a case study design with a deductive reasoning based on the conceptual framework of sustainable intensification (Montpellier Panel 2013).

We have purposively selected, reviewed and profiled or mapped eight (8) agricultural policies on (e.g. seeds, irrigation, livestock, FASDEP/METASIP); nine (9) agricultural programmes (e.g. Planting for Food and Jobs, GASIP/IFAD, MOAP/GIZ); twelve (12) strategic organisations (e.g. N2Africa, RING, IFAD, ACDEP, ESOKO). The research team is currently conducting face-to-face personal interviews with purposively sampled directors and/or managers of the profiled policies, programmes and strategic organisations.

Plans are underway for a first field work in northern Ghana, to interview some managers of programmes based here, and to also create alliances for conducting the research pertaining to the institutional context of farming systems.

The data generated will be analysed and a preliminary report written by first week of September. The report will form the basis for a validation workshop to be held at CSIR-STEPRI auditorium in late September.

 


 

 

Operationalizing Green Economy Transition in Africa

The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), in collaboration with the German International Development Agency (GIZ) is implementing the Green Economy Transition project in five African countries, namely, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Mozambique and Rwanda. The project receives financial support from the Federal Government of Germany with UNEP taking the lead on the development of the toolbox and the capacity building component while GIZ is supporting the pilot application and development of a knowledge management platform.  The Science and Technology Policy Research Institute of The Council for Scientific and Industrial Research(CSIR-STEPRI) is the lead national technical institution in Ghana.

The objective of the project is to enable the participating African countries translate national Green Economy and climate resilience strategies to concrete development plans at the sub-national level. In April 2016, CSIR-STEPRI signed a contract with the GIZ for the project to be conducted in Ghana.

Research Activities so far:

CSIR-STEPRI is currently leading the conduction of a Baseline Survey in the Tema Metropolitan Assemby (TMA) in the Greater Accra Region, Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly (KMA) in the Ashanti Region and the Tolon District in the Northern Region.

Programme for Accompanying Research in Innovations (PARI)

The Programme of Accompanying Research for Agriculture Innovations (PARI) is a research initiative implemented in Africa by the Forum for Agriculture Research in Africa (FARA) and its partner institutions in Africa. This project is funded by the German Government through the Centre for Development Research (ZEF) of the University of Bonn. The project,  PARI, is one of the arms within the German Government’s ‘One World No Hunger’ initiative. This initiative in innovation research is based on the concept of Integrated Agricultural Research and Development (IAR4D)
The Science and Technology Policy Research Institute of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR-STEPRI) is FARA’s partner organization in Ghana. The programme seeks to build an independent accompanying research programme that will focus on scaling up of agricultural innovations identified in the participating countries across Africa as a way of contributing to and transforming the agricultural sector.

Research activities under PARI include

1. Reviewing the national and international investments that may have taken place in agricultural innovations in the countries targeted in the PARI project.
2. Reviewing the context(s) within which the investments were made.
3. Assessing the extent of investments and the specific innovations targeted.
4. Analyzing and determining the value addition of these investments to the target innovations.
5. Identifying possible areas of investments by the PARI Project and the likely value it would add to the realization of the PARI objectives.
6. Suggesting appropriate measures or steps to properly position the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) initiative for Agricultural Innovation Centers.

Deliverables already produced are as follows:

a) Country dossier on the state of agriculture
b) An inventory and analysis of agricultural technologies and innovations developed, transferred and unitized over the last two decades.
c) An inventory and analysis of agricultural innovation platforms established and being operated in Ghana
d) A report on agriculture investment initiatives within the agriculture innovation system

Development Research Uptake in Sub-Saharan Africa (DRUSSA)

DRUSSA seeks to strengthen research uptake capacity and participation in the international development research system with the ultimate goal of improving the accessibility and utilization of locally relevant research evidence to inform Sub-Saharan and global development policy and practice. The DRUSSA project is sponsored by the UK Government's Department for International Development (DfID) with technical support from the Association of Commonwealth Universities (ACU). In Ghana, DRUSSA is being implemented by the Science and Technology Policy Research Institute of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR-STEPRI). The collaborating institutions are the Institute of Statistical,Social and Economic Research (ISSER), Uganda National Council for Science and Technology (UNCST), the Economic Policy Research Centre (EPRC) at Makerere University and the Association of Commonwealth Universities (ACU). The participating ministries are the Ministry of Finance (MOF), Ministry of Trade and Industry (MOTI) and Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MOFA).

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The CSIR-Technology Development and Transfer Center (TDTC)

The CSIR-Technology Development and Transfer Center aims at developing a structured mechanism that facilitates effective transfer of CSIR technologies to the private sector on one hand. On the other hand, the structured system ensures the generation of ideas from the private sector for the development of appropriate innovations and technologies that provide business solutions. This market-oriented project is under the Component 2 of the Ghana Skills and Technology  Development Programme. The participating CSIR institutes include Animal Research Institute (ARI), Food Research Institute (FRI), Institute of Industrial Research (IIR), Water Research Institute (WRI), Forestry Research Institute of Ghana (FORIG), Crops Research Institute (CRI), and Building and Road Research Institute (BRRI).

The project seeks to achieve the following objectives:

  • Establish a private-sector oriented programme based on institutional incentive schemes;
  • Develop and implement a structured model for engaging the private sector in partnerships for technology development and transfer;
  • Develop capacity on technology transfer that enhances knowledge and skills of the TDTC staff, the researchers and other relevant staff whilst also addressing the technology adoption capacity needs of the private sector entrepreneurs; and
  • Create a system or platform for intensive research-industry interaction.

Under the TDTC project, 20 selected market-ready CSIR technologies are to be funded through a competitive Grant Award Scheme. The selection process  nvolves, call for proposals, screening and final selection by the Project Steering Committee (PSC) and Transfer of total Award Sum of maximum GHC30,000 (US$10,000 equiv.) per research-private sector technology transfer arrangement.

Multi-National Enterprises in Emerging Markets (MNEmerge)

MNEmerge is a collaborative research project funded by the European Union's Seventh Framework Programme (EU FP7) for research, technological development and demonstration under grant agreement number 612889. Its aim is to provide a comprehensive framework for understanding the impact of multinational enterprises (MNEs) on United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in developing countries using case studies, quantitative data as well as policy analysis.

The project has four broad goals namely:

  • Development of a framework to analyse MNE impact towards socio-economic development,
  • Development of a model that describes the relationship between MNE, FDI and the economy,
  • Analysis of the role of public policies in supporting responsible business practices and the Millennium Development Goals, and
  • Case studies and quantitative analysis to support the methodological framework model on health, environment and energy.

The collaborating institutions under this project are the University of Technology, Finland;King's College London; Brunel University, UK; University of Oxford, UK; United Nations University, Maastricht, The Netherlands; Public Health Foundation of India; University of Turku, Finland; and CSIR- STEPRI, Ghana. In the rice value chain, MNEs were located both in the downstream and upstream activities. However, few MNEs were located along the Cassava value chain and they were mainly along downstream activities such as processing. 

Rain Water Harvesting (RWH) for Resilience to Climate Change Impact on Water Availability in Ghana

 “Rain Water Harvesting (RWH) for Resilience to Climate Change Impact on Water availability in Ghana’ is a collaborative research project between Science and Technology Policy Research Institute (CSIR-STEPRI), Water Research Institute (WRI) both of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) and SINTEF, a leading research institution in Norway. The project is financed by the Nordic Development Fund (NDF) through the Nordic Climate Facility.

 The objectives of the project are:

  • Increase resilience to climate change impact on water availability in Ghana;
  • Facilitate business development in RWH technology;
  • Improve urban livelihoods;
  • Increase water availability in selected household and schools;
  • Make affordable, appropriate and innovative RWH systems more available in Ghana;
  • Strengthen human and institutional capacities in RWH
  • Stakeholder engagement and promotion of RWH systems.

The project has accomplished the following activities:

  • Successful training of thirty artisans (mainly Carpenters, masons, plumbers and Electricians), assessment, procurement, installation of the RWH systems and business development
  • Formation and registration of RWH cluster as a business entity.
  • Installation of the systems in 20 households and a school in Accra.
  • Monitoring of quantity and quality of harvested water;
  • Engaged stakeholders to communicate research findings, through workshops, seminars and meetings. Some of the key stakeholders include Ministry of Water Resources Works and Housing (MWRWH), Community Water and Sanitation Agency (CWSA), Water Resources Commission (WRC), Ghana Real Estate Development Association (GREDA),National Development Planning Commission, the media etc.
  • Socio-economic monitoring and evaluation of beneficiaries of the RWH systems
  • Promotion of the RWH technology in Ghana through outreach events at shopping malls water forum and technology fair in Accra.
  • Publication of two books on the results of RWH project implementation.

IFPRI-STEPRI: Agricultural Science and Technology Indicator Survey (ASTI)

Agricultural Science and Technology Indicator ASTI survey is a collaborative research project between the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) and the Science and Technology Policy Research Institute (CSIR-STEPRI). ASTI conducts primary surveys to collect data from government, higher education, nonprofit, and private agricultural R&D agencies. ASTI survey has been carried out in about 40 African countries including Ghana in order to update data on agricultural research investments, human resource capacity and research focus themes. This survey which is conducted biannually in Ghana has the following objectives: 

  • To provide high-quality, up-to-date datasets on agricultural R&D;
  • To conduct ongoing analysis of its agricultural R&D datasets;
  • To communicate the results of its analysis to promote advocacy and support policymaking;
  • To build national and regional capacity for both data collection and data analysis;
  • Provide up-to-date data and information on Agricultural R&D to enable policy makers make informed decision at the national level.

Among others, the study shows trends in public agricultural R&D spending in Universities, CSIR and Cocoa Research Institute of Ghana (CRIG).

Assessing Critical Issues in Human, Financial and Institutional Capacities in West African Agricultural Research and Development

The first phase of assessing critical issues in human, financial and institutional capacities in West African Agricultural Research and Development System is being carried in six West African countries including Benin, Burkina Fasso, Ghana, Senegal, Sierra Leone and Togo. The project execution is collaboration between CSIR-STEPRI and IFPRI. The National Agricultural Research Systems (NARS) in the participating countries are the main target of this survey. In Ghana, ten (10) CSIR institutes engaging in agriculture and related research were surveyed.

Diffusion of Innovation in Low Income Countries (DILIC) Project

In developing countries, technological innovation is fundamental for industrialization and catch-up. However, technological innovation has been traditionally concentrated in a few developed countries, given the costs and risks involved in fomenting technological innovation. Foreign sources of technology account for a larger part of productivity growth in most countries. The development process in Low Income Countries (LICs) therefore can be supported by tapping existing knowledge and know-how. The transfer, adoption and adaptation of knowledge to LICs hence constitute an important issue for economic growth and global development.

The objectives of the project are:

  • To understand the barriers to innovation and diffusion in LICs at the firm level; and
  • To identify useful industrial and relevant policies to overcome the barriers under institutional, resource and affordability constraints.

The collaborating Institution is the Oxford University in the United Kingdom. The DILIC project had made important contribution to the knowledge on how innovations emerge and how they diffuse as well as the extent to which diffusion is made possible and effective in the developing country context.

Advancing Sub-Saharan Africa – European Union cooperation in research and innovation for global challenges (CAAST-Net Plus)

CAAST-NET Plus is a network of 26 partners based in Europe and Africa. It is based on the goal of strengthening research and innovation between the two regions to effectively tackle global challenges of health, food security, and climate change. Ghana is represented on the platform by the Science and Technology Policy Research Institute of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR-STEPRI).

The specific objectives of CAAST-Net Plus are:

  • To encourage new and diverse multi-stakeholder partnerships that, through research and innovation, tackles the global challenges in health, food security, and climate change that affect Europe and Africa.
  • To enable better understanding between the public and private sector in Africa and Europe of the link between research and innovation, and to identify and share opportunities for cooperation through networking and communication.
  • To facilitate exchanges that result in learning and that support formal policy dialogues, in partnership with the 8th Joint-EU Strategy, for more effective research and innovation cooperation.

The general project activities of the platform include:

  • Strengthening bi-regional research and innovation cooperation in health, food security, and climate change through policy and situational analysis, and multistakeholder networking activities;
  • Supporting informal and formal policy dialogue processes, and offering practical support to bi-regional research partnerships and networks to enable effective cooperation; and
  • Disseminating key results effectively, and providing a multi-media platform for communication and interaction within relevant African and European research and innovation communities.

The general project activities are executed through Work Packages. The activities are divided into seven Work Packages of which each Work Package is divided into several 'Tasks'. Ghana (CSIR-STEPRI) is involved in the Work Packages 2 and 5. Under the Work Packages 2 and 5, information on the new European Union funding framework, Horizon 2020 as well as training of National Contact Points have been impacted to some beneficial African countries including; Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, The Gambia, Ethiopia and Ghana. Per the work plan of the project, the number of beneficial countries would be up-scaled in the subsequent years.

 Pan African Competitiveness Forum (PACF Ghana Chapter)

The Pan-African Competitiveness Forum (PACF) was established in April 2008 in Addis Ababa with the support of the African Union (AU) and the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida) in collaboration with The Competitiveness Institute (TCI). The establishment of the PACF was in response to the concern to see Africa develop in a sustainable manner and achieve the Millennium Development Goals within the foreseeable future, and get integrated into the global economy. The PACF's vision of Africa's integration and effective competition on the global stage is founded on innovation and cluster-based initiatives bringing government, academia and business into a triple helix partnership. CSIR-STEPRI is the host of the Ghana Chapter, comprising entrepreneurs, academia/research institutions, and government.

 The achievements of the project are:

  • The growth of registered clusters under the PACF Ghana Chapter, from just three in 2009 to eight (GATCI of Accra, Accra Mushroom cluster, Eastern Region GNTDA, Central Region GNTDA in Elmina, Eastern Region Rabbit Cluster, Accra Dairy Cluster, Kumasi Wood Cluster, Tamale Shea Cluster) active clusters in 2014. With each cluster's membership ranging from 6 – 40.
  • Improved relationships among the enterprises and their suppliers; for instance there is an improved working relationship between the mushroom growers and marketers which has contributed significantly to the increase in the sale of mushroom by farmers.
  • Intensification of relationship between businesses and research institutions. For instance, the mushroom cluster was linked up with the Forestry Research Institute of Ghana (FORIG) of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research to learn new ways of producing other varieties of mushroom.
  • The Garment and Textile Cluster has championed the standardization of dress codes in the informal sector of their trade. The Ghana Standards Authority has approved the standards and through the MSME project the standards have been replicated in the Eastern Region of Ghana, with the Ghana National Tailors and Dressmakers Association.
  • The very establishment of Clusters outside the Greater Accra region is an achievement by itself. Some potential clusters were discovered from a nationwide cluster mapping, commissioned by the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MSME Project).
  • Contracts were facilitated for clusters in other businesses such as in the Oil and Gas industry.
  • Provision of venue of meetings for mushroom cluster at STEPRI.

 Developing an Enabling Scientific Equipment Policy in Africa: Ghana Study

The scientific endeavor in Africa and the developing world is saddled with challenges of which one of the most critical is infrastructure. A major concern in infrastructure is equipment. The overall purpose of the study was to assess how science equipment policy can facilitate scientific endeavour across Africa.

The specific objectives of the study included:

  • Reviewing the effectiveness of science equipment policies (if available) of key organizations in Ghana in relation to organizational structures and systems.
  • Mapping the national research and policy landscape, i.e., identifying the key scientific institutions, and the national and institutional policies of relevance to scientific equipment.

 The findings of the study showed that Ghana's scientific institutions are grappling with several challenges including:

  • Inadequate funds to budget for scientific equipment;
  • Bureaucracy and delays in provision of tax exemption on duty of research equipment, resulting in some institutions paying for duty even though they qualify;
  • Inadequate logistics;
  • Obsolete scientific equipment which do not provide reliable results;
  • Inadequate training of scientific staff on use of scientific equipment, and high rates of staff turnover; and
  • Almost no or little local content in scientific equipment because there are no local manufacturers of scientific equipment, especially for schools.

 Creating Strategic Framework for the Development of Public Access in Ghana

The importance of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) to socio-economic development cannot be over-emphasized. Therefore increase in ICT services has assumed great importance. Percentage of households with internet access, by region in 2011 showed a wide gap between Europe (71%) and Africa (4%). In Ghana, 14% of the population has access to the internet. At the household level, RIA studies showed that internet at that level had been low though improving. It was 0.3% in the 2007/8 household survey and increased to 3% in the 2011/12. Recent Digital Divide Study conducted in 2013 put Ghanaian internet users at 14.2%.

This research project was basically a follow up policy activity on the PAV survey with the general objective of contributing to policy making process to support the development of public access to internet and broadband services. The following activities were undertaken as part of the follow up activities:

  • Reviews of policy documents (eg. Ghana ICT4AD and National Telecommunication Policy)
  • Research reports of relevance to public access to determine the extent of utilization of PAVs by Ghanaians (eg. Deployment and Utilization of Public Access Venues in Ghana, Ghana ICT Performance Review, Ghana Digital Divide Report)
  • Activities of the Ghana Investment Fund for Electronic Communications

Business Opportunity Identification Study (BOIS)/REP Phase II

Micro and small enterprises (MSEs) play critical roles in rural development through the provision of jobs and incomes in both the farm and non-farm sectors. They play crucial role not only in rural communities but also in national economic development through poverty reduction. These projects are located mostly in the district capitals. The government of Ghana through the Rural Enterprise Programme (REP) and with funding from IFAD, consulted STEPRI to conduct a Business Opportunity Identification Survey (BOIS) to inform REP's intervention strategy for promoting small business operations in the rural areas of Ghana. This project aimed at exploring the potentials of these businesses while identifying new ones that can all be scaled up. The programme specifically aims at using a district-based model for development based on access to business development services, rural financing and appropriate technology transfer and skill training modules.

The study was conducted in forty - nine (49) selected districts in Ghana. The research team interacted with key informants in the selected districts/municipalities including District/Municipal Chief Executives, the Coordinating Directors and the Planning Officers of the Assemblies. Information gathered included the natural resource endowment, the business environment, local and traditional skills, and potentially viable businesses (existing and new). Other information gathered included the capacity of existing BAC staff and offices in handling business training at the district levels.

OTHER ACTIVITIES

Commissioning of STEPRI's New Office Block

STEPRI, from its IGF completed an office building which begun in 2004. The building was commissioned on 28th February, 2014. The activity saw the presence of the CSIR Director General, past CSIR-STEPRI Directors, Directors and staff from CSIR sister institutes as well as staff of STEPRI. At the time of the commissioning, about 70% of the offices were fully furnished. An exhibition hall was opened and the Institute showcased a number of its books, reports and other publications. 

STEPRI’s Retreat at the Forest Hotel in Dodowa

STEPRI held a retreat, the first of its kind for the institute at the Forest Hotel, Dodowa on 22 nd December 2014. The aim of the retreat was to review the activities of the institute and draw a strategic plan for the coming year (2015) and beyond. In attendance were the Board Chairman for STEPRI, the Director of CSIR-INSTI, the Internal Management Committee (IMC) members of STEPRI, STEPRI's Research staff as well as the Accountant of STEPRI.

The following specific actions also were decided on at the retreat:

  1. Research Programme
  • Five (5) research proposals (at least one must succeed)
  • Each researcher should work on at least two (2) projects
  1. Infrastructural development and logistics
  • Good computerization (phase out old computers every 3 years)
  • Strengthening internet presence (use of institutional addresses by end of first quarter 2015)
  • Maintenance of buildings
  • Solving problem of stable electricity supply (Purchase of a power plant and new meters to be installed due the GHS 92,000.00 debt).
  1. Staff Development and Progression
  • Contracts will be enforced in 2015
  • At least two seminar presentations in a year per researcher
  • At least one conference/workshop participation abroad
  • Payment for good open access journals
  1. Financials
  • There will be the 15% or mandatory deductions at least from all project budgets and this must be made to IGF account promptly.
  • All projects will be expected to contribute additionally in bringing assets and resources to STEPRI.
  1. Mentorship
  • A mentorship scheme will be put in place. For now, the Director and the Deputy Director will be offering guidance and counseling to the staff in a more structured manner.
  1. Good Human Relations
  • Fostering good human relations is important for creating conducive atmosphere for work. This will be one of the priorities of management.