Low impact of agricultural research in Africa is a combined result of weak linkages and collaboration with extension services and farmers. The application of research results appears to be most successful when research organisations closely collaborate with and provide mentoring to the national and regional research institutes (NARS and SROs) and farmers' federations. A similar conclusion can be made with regard to collaboration with RECs. In conclusion, impact of research results can be improved by strengthening linkages, synergies and complementarities at continental/regional level with concerned research (SROs) and regional economic development institutions (RECs) and Farmers Federations (FFs).
The continental and regional approach adopted by icipe and AU-IBAR in collaboration with FFs and RECs and SROs in addressing issues of bee health in Africa and related pollination services, and biodiversity conservation for agricultural productivity aims to add value to national research efforts and facilitate regional integration in research related issues, including capacity development on policies, regulatory frameworks, and design and implementation of specific interventions.
Most reviews of bee programmes in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) point to the fact that countries:
- continue to benefit from horizontal programmes on honeybees and bee management but not in bee health;
- bee health programmes could have a significant impact on income generation, poverty reduction and livelihood improvement, and human and livestock health.
In fact, the introduction of improved disease and pest control and management strategies using bio-pesticides has a positive impact on beehive numbers (and consequentially on the increase of bee products) and pollination services (and consequently on the increase of crop production and crop productivity at farmers field level). The introduction of improved disease and pest management strategies proved also to have a beneficial effect on reducing soaring food prices in developing countries.
The project will draw lessons from EC past cooperation that has helped to reinforce and facilitate livestock improvement and trade within Africa through technical cooperation provided by icipe and AU-IBAR.
The project will also build on lessons from vast experience of AU-IBAR and icipe on policy driven, disease control, market and compliance to standards. Very few interventions have so far targeted the institutional aspects of the apiculture sector, and lessons learnt and best practices related to that topic have not been compiled yet. The project will thus attempt to compile and disseminate them to inform policy making and future interventions.