• “Research on" vs "Research with” Communities
    Vol 2 No 3 (2017)

    In this Issue of the African Journal of Rural Development (Vol. 2, Issue 3), 10 of the 12 articles published are authored by university-based research teams and for the other two articles, the authors are affiliated to National and International Research Institutions. All the articles, except for Nkunya (2017) and Nyongesa (2017) have a diverse representation in terms of authorship between and among departments at the same university/institution engaged in knowledge co-creation with end-user communities as a strategy to enhance uptake and adoption. Although Nkunya (2017) and Nyongesa (2017) are single authored articles, there is emphasis on the importance of partnerships as a pre-requisite for research to enhance contribution to socio-economic development and accelerate attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Institutional engagement and representation in research implementation underpins the importance of multi-disciplinary and inter-disciplinary approaches in relation to promoting uptake of research outputs and  innovations in rural development. The premise of this proclamation is based on the collaborative engagement limitations of the Linear Research and Development Model which makes the Integrated Research and Development Model, as discussed in Nkunya (2017), more superior on account of facilitating greater collaboration that recognises all partners as equal in the research implementation process. The key issues addressed are clearly very broad in scope and are associated with rural development processes that are characterised with complexity that can only be addressed with cooperation between expertise with diverse backgrounds both in natural and social sciences.

  • Tracing the evolution of higher education institutions and linkage to rural development in Africa
    Vol 2 No 2 (2017)

    This issue of the African Journal of Rural Development (the June 2017 Issue-Vol.2 (2)) features 16 articles that demonstrate the evolving role of higher education institutions (HEI’s), particularly universities in Africa. The evolution of HEI’s in Africa highlights a few striking examples that existed prior to colonial era. Nonetheless, most HEI’s in Africa are situated in the legacy of colonial relations. In the post independence arrangement, HEI’s on the continent have been variously tasked with endogenous mandates in support of building human capacity in order to address local, national and at times regional issues. It is envisaged that unemployment in Africa can be solved by placing greater emphasis on entrepreneurship education in agriculture and its contribution to rural development using models similar to the EARTH University approach as presented in the lead paper. The remaining 15 articles present issues of policy engagements, adoption of best practice and knowledge generation to provide technological solutions to pressing challenges such as clean seed, declining soil fertility, etc which are examples among the diversity of research problems addressed by HEI’s in Africa. The evolution since colonial pre-and- colonial times depicts a shift from ancient universities, and/or HEI’s that were largely dealing with vocational training to distinguished institutions that are in addition to vocational education, taking on more roles and increasingly being classified variously as modern, research-intense, community-based, entrepreneurial universities, etc. In this editorial, we trace the evolution of HEI’s in Africa and its linkage to socio-economic development. The historical account is consistent and clearly indicates that HEI’s have always positioned and repositioned to serve needs of the society within the contemporary context.

  • Strengthening Research Capacity of African Agricultural Higher Education Institutions
    Vol 2 No 1 (2017)

    About the Journal
    The African Journal of Rural Development (AFJRD) is an online open access scientific journal that publishes articles on a quarterly basis (March, June, September, December). It is a multi-disciplinary peer-reviewed journal with an ultimate purpose of sharing and increasing the depth of knowledge on aspects of sustainable rural development. The Journal welcomes submission of manuscripts that meet the general criteria of domain significance and scientific excellence. All articles published in AFJRD will be peer reviewed.

    AFJRD is an open access journal
    One key request to researchers across the world is unrestricted access to research publications. Open access gives a worldwide audience larger than that of any subscription-based journal and thus increases the visibility and impact of published works. It also enhances indexing, retrieval power and eliminates the need for permissions to reproduce and distribute content. AFJRD is fully committed to the Open Access Initiative and will provide free access to all articles as soon as they are published.

    Editorial
    Strengthening research capacity of African Agricultural Higher Education Institutions
    J. M. ERBAUGH
    Director of International Programs in Agriculture Office and Associate Professor in the Department of Extension, The Ohio State University, 113 Agri. Admin Building, Columbus, Ohio, USA
    Corresponding author: erbaugh.1@osu.edu

    Abstract
    The African Journal of Rural Development (AFJRD) is focused on issues that affect sustainable rural development. The articles contained in this issue of the AFJRD, Volume 2 Issue 1 demonstrate the contributions that scientists affiliated with African Agricultural Higher Education Institutions (AHEI) can make to increasing agricultural productivity, food and nutrition security and improved livelihoods in sub-Saharan Africa. These institutions are essential to sustainable agricultural development because they are responsible for training the next generations of scientists and policy makers, communicating science to the general population, and through their research, addressing critical challenges to food security facing the continent.

    Key words: Sub-Saharan Africa, sustainable agricultural development.

    Résumé
    La Revue Africaine de Développement Rural traite des questions qui influencent le développement rural durable. Les articles contenus dans ce numéro 1, volume 2 du journal démontrent les contributions que les scientifiques dans les institutions africaines d’enseignement supérieur d’agriculture peuvent faire pour accroître la productivité agricole, la sécurité alimentaire et nutritionnelle et améliorer les moyens de subsistance en Afrique sub-saharienne. Ces institutions sont importantes pour le développement agricole durable car elles sont chargées de former les prochaines générations de scientifiques et de décideurs politiques, de communiquer la science au public et, à travers leurs recherches, d’aborder les questions de sécurité alimentaire que fait face le continent.

    Mots clés: Afrique sub-saharienne, développement agricole durable

    Perspectives on strengthening research capacity of Africa Agriculrural Higher Education Institutions
    Over the past five to ten years, a convergence of opinion has re-emerged regarding the fundamental importance of agricultural development to ensuring food security, economic growth and poverty alleviation in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), where the population is expected to double to 2 billion before 2050 (United Nations, Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Population Division, 2015). Agriculture remains the mainstay for most of the continent’s economies. It serves as the primary source of livelihood for 65% of its people, contributes 30% to 40% of national GDPs and accounts for almost 60% of national export incomes (Fulginti et al., 2004; Jayne et al., 2012). Yet, low agricultural productivity, low incomes, malnutrition, and food insecurity persist in many of these largely agrarian countries.

    Strengthening the research capacity of AHEIs is central to addressing these challenges. Technological change, driven by research, is a key factor in driving agricultural productivity growth and development. The AHEIs’ provide the institutional foundation for addressing development challenges through research programs that generate new technologies and innovation, and degree training programs that produce the next generation of scientists, educators and leaders. It is the degree training component – the development of human capital – that makes AIHEs indispensable to sustainable agricultural development.

    University contributions to sustainable agricultural development throughout SSA have been considerable. However, efforts to strengthen the research capacity at many of these institutions has been constrained by a variety of factors including the poor articulation of AHEI programs with National Agricultural Research and Innovation Systems. This has often left AHEIs on the outside, making it difficult for them to access national and regional funding. In recognition of this, the African Higher African Centers of Excellence program supported by National Governments through the World Bank has attempted to directly target AHEIs with funding to improve select research and postgraduate programs on campuses in West Africa (ACE I) and Eastern and Southern Africa (ACE II). Limited and variable (erratic) funding has been a chronic limiting factor when it comes to improving the research capacity at AHEIs. Other major limiting factors include burgeoning undergraduate enrollments that leave professors little time to pursue and conduct research, depleted faculty numbers attributable to aging and retirements, and declining research facilities.

    Ongoing efforts to strengthen the research capacities at AHEIs reinforce several key themes. First and foremost, research capacity is strengthened by filling the faculty ranks with well trained, dedicated and experienced research scientists. High quality faculty research capacity is essential in order to develop and conduct quality research and to build strong postgraduate degree programs. Reciprocally, strong postgraduate degree programs are necessary in order to improve the scientific and research capacity of AHEIs because research is an essential component of these programs. Strong postgraduate degree programs will boost research output, help fill critical gaps with the “next generation” of well-trained research scientists, and improve other programmatic aspects including instructional quality and outreach to farmer groups and other community stakeholders.

    Moving forward, both quality and relevance are key attributes that will need to be addressed to improve these programs. Improving quality will require curricular revisions that anticipate and incorporate changing labor market dynamics, and enhance rigor and training in laboratory analytics and field research methods. A two pronged strategy will be required to improve relevance. First, AHEI research programs need to be better linked-in with the National Agricultural Research and Extension Systems (NARS) so that research topics address national agricultural research priorities. Second, research conducted will need to address farmer and other client needs. An applied problemsolving research agenda that addresses farmer stakeholder needs and national agricultural research priorities will greatly enhance the relevance of AHEI research programs. Other important ways to improve the quality and relevance of AHEI research include use of interdisciplinary teams, on-farm research, participatory methods and research attachments with research institutes and the private
    sector are also “best-practices” that will contribute to both quality and relevance of the research output.

    The Regional Universities Forum for Capacity Building in Agriculture (RUFORUM), a Network of 66 member universities in Africa (Osiru et al., 2016) has been engaged in several programs to reduce constraints and provide inter-institutional collaborations to boost postgraduate training and research. The research included in this Issue of the AFJRD illustrates how many of the practices and concepts discussed above are being applied to improve postgraduate research programs and to strengthen the research capacity of its partner institutions. Most recently RUFORUM has collaborated with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) funded Innovative Agricultural Research Initiative (iAGRI) project in the postgraduate degree training of Tanzania students. Through this collaboration RUFORUM has been able to apply many of the “best practices” it has developed over the years with its partner institutions, including Sokoine University of Agriculture in Tanzania in collaboration with relevant Government agencies such as the Tanzania’s Ministry of Agriculture, Food Security and Cooperative. This issue AFJRD includes six papers from the iAGRI project and seven others that give insight into some of training and research work in the continent. Indeed publication of this issue has been made possible through iAGRI funding.

    REFERENCES
    Fulginiti, L., Perrin, R. and Yu, B. 2004. Institutions and Agricultural productivity in sub-Saharan Africa.           Agricultural Economics 31 (2/3): 169 – 180.

    Jayne, T., Chamberlin, J. and Muyanga, M. 2012. Emerging land issues in African Agriculture: Implications for food security and poverty reduction strategies. Stanford Symposium Series on global policy and food security in the 21st Century. Stanford, CA: Stanford University.

    Osiru, M., Nampala, P. and Adipala, E. 2016. African Faculties of Agriculture within an Expanding University Sector. In: Lynam, J., Beintema, N., Roseboom, J. and Badiane, O. 2016. Agricultural Research in Africa: Investing in the Future Harvests, International Food Policy Research Institute, Washington, DC.

     

  • Vol 1 No 3 (2016)

    The African Journal of Rural Development (AFJRD) is a multi-disciplinary peer-reviewed journal with an ultimate purpose of sharing and increasing the depth of knowledge on aspects of sustainable rural development. The articles contained in this issue of the AFJRD, Volume 1 Issue 3 demonstrate the potential contributions of universities to uptake and diffusion of research outputs through well-structured outreach programs. Higher education is increasingly being recognised as a critical aspect of the development process, especially with the growing awareness of the role of science, technology and innovation in economic renewal. There is consensus that universities have immense potential to promote technological development and uptake through their three-fold mission of teaching, research and outreach/community engagement. These are noticeable variations in strategy and approach to outreach/community engagement mainly due to the traditional separation between research and teaching. Reforms that will entail a close linkage between the three-fold mission and promote integration of research and teaching using experiential learning approaches will no double facilitate significant attention and improvements in structuring as well as institutionalising outreach/community engagement programs.

  • Vol 1 No 2 (2016)

    About the Journal
    The African Journal of Rural Development (AFJRD) is an online open access scientific journal that publishes articles on a quarterly basis (March, June, September, December). It is a multi-disciplinary peer-reviewed journal with an ultimate purpose of sharing and increasing the depth of knowledge on aspects of sustainable rural development. The Journal welcomes submission of manuscripts that meet the general criteria of domain significance and scientific excellence. All articles published in AFJRD will be peer reviewed.

    AFJRD is an open access journal
    One key request to researchers across the world is unrestricted access to research publications. Open access gives a worldwide audience larger than that of any subscription-based journal and thus increases the visibility and impact of published works. It also enhances indexing, retrieval power and eliminates the need for permissions to reproduce and distribute content. AFJRD is fully committed to the Open Access Initiative and will provide free access to all articles as soon as they are published.

    FOREWORD ON CURRENT ISSUE

    There has been significant discourse on the role of higher education for accelerating economic and social development, from as far back as 1962, when UNESCO hosted a conference on the ‘development of higher education in Africa’. More recently, various studies as well as development trends in other parts of the world have confirmed that higher education is an important sector for investment with high returns accruing. This evidence is best demonstrated by the Chinese and Indian economies which have shown tremendous growth in the last two decades based largely on their huge investments on knowledge generation and related requisite human capital. For Africa, with a very young population (close to 50% of its 1 billion population are less than 24 years of age) higher education is a critical investment area. Equally important, Africa expects, according to the World Bank, that over 11 million persons each year will enter into the workforce. At the same time, higher education has an important role in strengthening both the primary and secondary education sectors. The emergence of the ‘knowledge economy’ underpinned by globalization and its related challenges will require greater application of science, technology and innovations towards enhancing competitiveness. In this context, higher education will continue to play a crucial role in delivering the knowledge products- knowledge, competencies and skills if development is to be accelerated significantly in Africa.

    Although having grown significantly since independence, the higher education sector in Sub- Saharan Africa (SSA) is faced with many challenges. Expansion has been driven by rising populations and a related growing demand, coupled with the growth in African economies (between 2002 – 2008 African average GDP growth was over 5% per year) and a growing private higher education sector. Rapid expansion with little parallel growth in staffing, infrastructure nor funding for the sector has exposed the sector to many quality challenges. Today we estimate that there are close to 1700 universities in Africa, from less than 300 in the 1990’s. Enrollment has expanded from just over 20,000 in the 70’s to over 5 million today. However, most university programs are focused on undergraduate education, with little focus on postgraduate education. With close to 12% of the World’s population, SSA accounts for only 1% of the world’s research output. On closer analysis of this output, a significant portion of this 1% has been undertaken in collaboration and often driven by northern knowledge institutions. Other higher education challenges include outdated pedagogies, low scholarly productivity, and low global competitiveness.

    In the light of above, questions have been raised about the role of the African university for supporting development in Africa. Agriculture in Africa employs over 70% of the continents’ population. Agriculture and Agribusiness are projected to be worth over US$1 trillion by 2050, up from just over US$300 million today. Higher education must be brought to bear to strengthen rural agriculture in Africa, the single most important contributor to GDP in Africa. The so called ‘developmental role’ of the African universities needs to be strengthened in Africa, where necessary through differentiation to allow for a greater engagement of universities with the society. Higher education will be an important mechanism to strengthen the competitiveness of commodity value chains in Africa through the development and use of science, technology and innovation for improving productivity while at the same time, reducing losses, particularly post farm.  For this to happen, higher education institutions must focus on their own relevance to rural communities, and generate relevant research output that supports small holder farmers to enhance productivity. Staff and students will need to spend more time with farmers to better understand the rural contexts that they wish to support. Higher education access must also improve significantly, taking into account that the current enrollment is within the top quintile of income, and in some countries, only the top 1% are able to access higher education. This has important ramifications for poverty reduction in Africa. African Governments have an important role to play in supporting the transformation and development of such institutions in Africa through supportive policies and funding incentives.

    This issue of the African Journal of Rural Development presents a series of papers that explore the higher education sectors in Africa to understand some of the key issues above and issues for accelerating rural development in Africa. We hope that this will add to the ‘discourse’ on this subject and provide important information to strengthen the role of African universities in development.

    AVANT-PROPOS

    Il y a eu un discours important sur le rôle de l’enseignement supérieur dans l’accélération du développement économique et social, depuis 1962, lorsque l’UNESCO a organisé uneconférence sur le «développement de l’enseignement supérieur en Afrique». Plus récemment, diverses études ainsi que les tendances de développement dans d’autres régions du monde ont confirmé que l’enseignement supérieur est un secteur important d’investissement à rendement élevé. Cette évidence est la mieux démontrée par les économies chinoises et indiennes qui ont connu une croissance vertigineuse au cours des deux dernières décennies due en grande partie à leurs énormes investissements dans la production aussi bien de la connaissance que du capital humain requis pour sa transmission. Pour l’Afrique, avec une population très jeune (près de 50% du milliard d’habitants ont moins de 24 ans) l’enseignement supérieur est une zone primordiale d’investissement. De même, selon les estimations de la Banque Mondiale plus de 11 millions de personnes chaque année en Afrique entreront dans la population active. Parallèlement, l’enseignement supérieur a un rôle important dans le renforcement des secteurs de l’éducation primaire et secondaire. L’émergence de «l’économie de la connaissance»

    soutenue par la mondialisation et ses défis connexes, nécessitera une plus grande application de la science, de la technologie et des innovations en vue de renforcer la compétitivité. Dans cette perspective, si le développement doit être considérablement accéléré en Afrique l’enseignement supérieur doit continuer à jouer un rôle crucial dans la prestation des connaissances, des compétences et des aptitudes de la connaissance.

    Bien qu’ayant considérablement augmenté depuis l’indépendance, le secteur de l’enseignement supérieur en Afrique subsaharienne (SSA) fait face à de nombreux défis. L’expansion a été alimentée par une demande croissante associée à la croissance démographique, couplée avec la croissance dans les économies africaines (entre 2002-2008 croissances moyennes du PIB de l’Afrique étaient de plus de 5% par an) et un essor du secteur privée de l’enseignement supérieur. Une expansion rapide à côté d’une faible croissance de la dotation en personnel, d’infrastructure et du financement a exposé le secteur de l’enseignement supérieur à de nombreux défis de qualité. Aujourd’hui, nous estimons qu’il y a près de 1700 universités en Afrique, comparée à moins de 300 dans les années 1990. L’inscription dans les universités a augmenté d’un peu plus de 20.000 dans les années 70 à plus de 5 millions aujourd’hui. Cependant, la plupart des programmes universitaires sont axés sur l’éducation supérieure du premier cycle, avec peu d’attention sur la formation du second cycle. Avec près de 12% de la population mondiale, l’Afrique subsaharienne ne génère que 1% des résultats de recherche dans le monde. Une analyse approfondie de ce résultat, révèle qu’une importante partie de ce pourcentage a été entreprise en collaboration avec les universités du Nord et est souvent fondé sur les connaissances générées par ces dernières. D’autres défis de l’enseignement supérieur comprennent les pédagogies obsolètes, la faible productivité de savants, et la faible compétitivité mondiale.

    Au regards de tout ce qui précède, des questions ont été soulevées sur le rôle de l’université dans le processus de développement en Afrique. L’agriculture est pratiquée par plus de 70% de la population du continent africain. L’agriculture et l’agro-industrie devraient dépasser le milliard de dollars américains d’ici 2050, contre une valeur d’un peu plus de 300 millions de dollars américains à nos jours. L’enseignement supérieur doit être amené à supporter, renforcer l’agriculture rurale, qui est le seul plus important contributeur du PIB en Afrique. Ledit «Rôle de développement» des universités africaines doit être renforcé, par la différenciation afin de permettre un plus grand engagement des universités dans le développement de la société. L’enseignement supérieur sera un mécanisme important pour renforcer la compétitivité des chaînes de valeur des produits en Afrique à travers le développement et l’utilisation de la science, de la technologie et de l’innovation pour améliorer la productivité tout en réduisant les pertes, en particulier les pertes après récolte. Pour ce faire, les institutions de l’’enseignement supérieur doivent se concentrer sur leur rapport avec les communautés rurales, et de générer de pertinents résultats de recherche au profit des petits exploitants agricoles afin d’améliorer la productivité. Le personnel enseignant et les étudiants devront passer plus de temps avec les agriculteurs pour mieux comprendre les contextes ruraux qu’ils souhaitent soutenir. L’accès aux études supérieures doit également s’améliorer de manière significative, en tenant compte du fait que l’effectif actuel est de l’ordre des quintile du revenu, et dans certains pays, seul 1% sont en mesure d’accéder à l’éducation supérieur. Ceci a des conséquences importantes sur la réduction de la pauvreté en Afrique. Les Gouvernements africains ont un rôle important à jouer dans le soutien à la transformation et au développement de ces institutions en Afrique par le biais de positives politiques de soutien et des incitatifs financiers.

    Ce numéro de la Revue Africaine pour le Développement Rural présente une série d’articles qui explore les secteurs de l’enseignement supérieur en Afrique afin de comprendre certaines questions clés ci-dessus énumérées et les défis d’accélération du développement rural en Afrique. Nous espérons que cela va s’ajouter au «discours» sur ce sujet, et fournir des informations importantes pour renforcer le rôle des universités africaines dans le développement.

    AE

    Professeur Adipala Ekwamu

    Editeur-en-Chef

  • African Journal of Rural Development (AJRD)
    Vol 1 No 1 (2016)

    FOREWORD

    It gives me great pleasure to introduce our First Edition of AJRD, the African Journal of Rural Development. This journal is directed at providing a platform to share research findings which will help to improve the well-being of rural communities in Africa. It is also geared to encourage post-graduate students, university faculty members, other scientists and other actors to publish their findings and to frame them within the context of their contribution to rural development. This is a multi-disciplinary journal aimed at sustainable and inclusive rural development and other development concerns in Africa. It is also open to relevant contributions from other parts of the World.

    Rural development relates to the processes, advances, institutions and approaches which improve the livelihoods and quality of life of people living in relatively sparsely populated and more isolated areas (Moseley, 2003). Their livelihoods are usually very closely related to agriculture and to renewable natural resources. But rural development also needs to encompass a wider perspective than only those initiatives related to increasing agricultural productivity and entrepreneurship. It also needs to include the social systems, physical infrastructure, the policies that enhance accessibility and free movement of goods and services, and the capacity of both those in the rural areas and those servicing them. According to Van Assche and Hornidge (2015) “ In contrast to urban regions, which have many similarities, rural areas are highly distinctive from one another”. For this reason there are a large variety of rural development approaches and it is important to provide a platform to discuss the relevance of these approaches in different settings.

    Furthermore “to address rural development issues, one must not only elaborate on the specifics of agricultural approaches, but also the social phenomena framing these practices in local and regional settings” (Bakker, 2015). This journal is primarily geared to the issues faced by small farmers and rural communities. But as outlined in a seminal paper by Scoones (1998) at any scale, livelihoods are composed in complex ways, with multiple and dynamic portfolios of different activities. In different contexts, sustainable livelihoods are achieved through access to a range of livelihood resources (natural, economic, human and social capitals) which are combined in the pursuit of different livelihood strategies (agricultural intensification, livelihood diversification and migration). Central to the framework is the analysis of the range of formal and informal organisational and institutional factors that influence sustainable livelihood outcomes. This journal provides a platform for agriculturalists, environmentalists, economists, sociologists, entrepreneurs, development agencies and policy makers to better understand some of the challenges outside their disciplines and to work together to address the challenges faced by small farmers and rural communities.

    The primary purpose of this journal is to share knowledge on all aspects that contribute to sustainable and inclusive rural development as widely as possible. With its broad scope bridging the biological, physical and social sciences, this journal aims to address all those issues that will enable Africa’s rural areas to be a major contributor to meeting the ambitious aspirations of the African Agenda 2063.  The journal will document case studies of researchers working in a participatory way with farmers and agri-entrepreneurs to increase productivity and to encourage greater uptake of new technologies. It will address the institutional systems and skill mix that universities and other actors need to strengthen their academic programmes to produce graduates and research that increases agricultural productivity and profitability, facilitates change processes at community level, informs policy and leads to sustainable and inclusive rural development. The founding and launch of the Journal has been inspired by the on-going efforts by African Universities under the auspices of the Regional Universities Forum for Capacity Building in Agriculture (RUFORUM, see www.ruforum.org ) to deepen engagement in rural transformation efforts in the continent. Indeed RUFORUM has provided seed funding to jump-start the publication of this Journal.

    REFERENCES

    Bakker, J.I. (Ed.). 2015. The Methodology of Political Economy: Studying the Global Rural-Urban Matrix.

    Lexington Books.

    Moseley Malcolm, J. 2003. Rural development: principles and practice. London: SAGE.

    Scoones, I. 1998. Sustainable Rural Livelihoods: A Framework for Analysis. IDS working Paper.

    Van Assche, Kristof, Hornidge and Anna-Katharina. 2015. Rural development. Knowledge & expertise in

    governance. Wageningen Academic Publishers.

    AVANT-PROPOS

    C’est avec un grand plaisir que je présente notre Première Edition du AJRD, le Journal Africain du Développement Rural.

    Ce journal est destiné à fournir une plateforme pour échanger les résultats de recherche lesquels aideront à améliorer le bien-être des communautés rurales en Afrique. Il vise également à encourager les étudiants du troisième cycle, les membres de faculté d’université, les autres scientifiques ainsi que les autres divers acteurs à publier leurs résultats et les faire cadrer à leur contribution au développement rural.

    Le présent journal multidisciplinaire a pour objectif leiii développement rural durable et inclusif ainsi qu’autres aspects relatifs au développement en Afrique. Aussi ses portes restent-elles ouvertes à d’autres contributions pertinentes venant des autres parties du monde.

    Le développement rural se définit comme les processus, avancées, institutions et approches qui améliorent l’existence et la qualité de vie des personnes vivant dans des zones relativement peu peuplées et isolées (Moseley, 2003). Leurs moyens de subsistance sont souvent très intimement liés à l’agriculture et aux ressources naturelles renouvelables.

    Mais le développement rural doit englober une perspective plus large que seules les initiatives liées à l’augmentation de la productivité et l’entrepreneuriat agricoles. Il est également fondamental d’inclure les systèmes sociaux, l’infrastructure physique, les politiques mettant en valeur l’accessibilité et la libre circulation des biens et services, et la capacité des personnes vivant en milieux ruraux et ceux qui les aident. Selon Van Assche and Hornidge (2015), « Contrairement aux milieux urbains qui ont de nombreuses similarités, les milieux ruraux sont très distinctifs les uns des autres ». Pour cette raison, il y a une multitude d’approches de développement rural qu’il est important de mettre en place une plateforme pour discuter de leur pertinence et de leurs différents cadres d’exécution. De plus, « pour résoudre les problèmes liés au développement rural, l’on ne doit pas uniquement se baser sur les spécificités des approches agricoles mais aussi les phénomènes sociaux déterminant ces pratiques dans les contextes local et régional » (Bakker, 2015).

    Ce journal est en premier lieu destiné aux problèmes rencontrés par les petits exploitants et communautés rurales. Mais comme l’a projeté Scoones (1998) dans un papier séminal, quelle que soit l’échelle, les moyens de subsistance sont complexes avec des activités diverses ayant de multiples et dynamiques portfolios. Dans différents contextes, une vie durable s’acquiert à travers l’accès à un certain nombre de ressources (capital naturel, économique, humain et social) qui sont combinées dans la recherche des différentes stratégies de survie (l’intensification agricole, diversification des moyens de survie et migration). L’élément central du cadre de travail est l’analyse de l’amplitude des facteurs institutionnel et organisationnel, formel et informel qui influencent les effets produits par une vie durable.

    Le présent journal fournit donc une plateforme aux spécialistes agricoles, environnementalistes, économistes, sociologues, entrepreneurs, agences de développement et décideurs politiques pour mieux cerner certains défis qui sortent du cadre de leur discipline afin de travailler ensemble pour relever les défis que rencontrent les petits exploitants et communautés rurales

    L’objectif premier du présent journal est de partager, aussi largement que possible et dans tous les aspects, la connaissance contribuant à un développement rural durable et inclusif. Avec son vaste champs d’application reliant les sciences biologiques, physiques et sociales, ce journal vise à solutionner diverses sortes de problèmes afin de rendre les milieux ruraux d’Afrique un contributeur majeur à l’atteinte des aspirations ambitieuses de l’Agenda Africain 2063.

    Ce journal documentera les études de cas des chercheurs travaillant avec les paysans et entrepreneurs agroalimentaires suivant une démarche participative pour augmenter la productivité et encourager une plus grande adoption des nouvelles technologies. Il s’occupera des systèmes institutionnels et compétence que les universités et autres acteurs doivent renforcer leurs programmes académiques pour produire des diplômés et de la recherche qui augmentent la productivité et profitabilité agricoles, facilitent les processus de changement à l’échelle communautaire, sensibilisent et mènent au développement rural durable et inclusif. Le financement et le lancement de ce journal ont été inspirés par les efforts actuels des Universités Africaines sous la tutelle du Regional Universities Forum for Capacity Building in Agriculture(RUFORUM, voir www.ruforum.org) pour approfondir l’engagement concernant les efforts de transformation rurale sur le continent. En effet, RUFORUM a mis à disposition le financement de base pour démarrer la publication dudit journal.

    RÉFÉRENCES

    Bakker, J.I. (Ed.). 2015. The Methodology of Political Economy: Studying the Global Rural-Urban Matrix.

    Lexington Books.

    Moseley Malcolm, J. 2003. Rural development: principles and practice. London: SAGE.

    Scoones, I. 1998. Sustainable Rural Livelihoods: A Framework for Analysis. IDS working Paper.

    Van Assche, Kristof, Hornidge and Anna-Katharina. 2015. Rural development. Knowledge & expertise in

    governance. Wageningen Academic Publishers.

    AE

    Professeur Adipala Ekwamu

    Editeur-en-Chef

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