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Experiences of working downstream with farmers
23 July 2013


More than ever before is there a great challenge for developing countries in sub-Saharan Africa to improve the quality of life of its citizenry. The larger proportion of this citizenry consists of small-holder farmers whose livelihood is hinged on agriculture. As such, scientists are faced with the task of improving agricultural productivity, farmer incomes and the overall livelihoods of small-holder farmers. To respond to this challenge, universities and other institutions are intensifying efforts of working with rural communities to improve agricultural productivity and livelihoods. A number of universities have established outreach programmes to strengthen entrepreneurship along value chains; to infuse experiential learning for graduate students, academic staff and other actors they interact with including communities. Other agencies notably NGOs and National Agricultural Research Institutes (NARIs) have well established programmes for reaching not only to farmers but also to emerging to emerging agribusinesses.

The Regional Universities Forum for Capacity Building in Agriculture, a Network of 32 African Universities in Eastern, Central and Southern Africa (RUFORUM: see www.ruforum.org) is keen to document case studies where institutions and individual actors could share their experiences of working downstream with farmers; what are some of the lessons and skill mix that universities would need to take into account in terms of strengthening their academic programmes to produce graduates with a blend of necessary skills and competences that will facilitate change processes at community level. Further, what institutional arrangements need to be addressed to more effectively reach small-holders to enable them improve their agricultural productivity and enterprises?.

RUFORUM therefore invites interested authors to submit a maximum of 8 page (A 4 size font 12) paper that are in-line with sharing experiences identified above. The papers should bear: title, authors name and contact details, summary (not more than 150 words), background/rationale for study, objectives, methodology and approaches, emerging issues/findings and lessons, conclusion and recommendations for action, acknowledgement, and a list of not more than 10 references. Inclusion of some data such as tables, pictures is highly encouraged. The deadline for submission is 30th July, 2013. The approved papers will be peer reviewed and published in the RUFORUM working document series which will be made available electronically and a few in a peer reviewed journal. Papers may be submitted in English or French, and where feasible include both English and French summary.

Papers should be submitted to secretariat@ruforum.org with a copy to p.nampala@ruforum.org


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