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Capacity Building for Linkages of Research Policy and Practice

There are two angles to the research-policy linkage: the demand for research and the supply of research. Effective and functional linkages between research, policy and practice hinge upon the synergy between research supply and research demand. Any asymmetry between both sides hampers the mutual interest and mutual confidence that are so crucial for bridge building between policymakers, practitioners and researchers. The major drawback to the bridge building is that there is low and inchoate demand for research by government policymaking organs, private sector and civil society. There is low government capacity to articulate research demand, access and use existing research findings and policy recommendations. Similarly, the private sector and civil society is weakened by poor capacity to pool research and use them accordingly. On the other hand, researchers do not have the requisite communication skills and the right process orientation to transmit their research findings and policy recommendations. APRNet will enhance the capacities of stakeholders on both divides – research supply and research demand.  This will be done using targeted trainings and skills upgrading techniques.

Specific programmes and projects

•    Training of government policymakers and technocrats in accessing and using research for policymaking and programme design

•    Training of researchers and research managers in communicating research for policy influence

•    Training of civil society (media, farmers’ organisations, agribusiness associations, value chain operators) in the use of research for public discourse and advocacy

•    Training of researchers and technocrats in policy analysis methodologies and tools  

Policy Research and Policy Analysis

Policy research ideally provides critical analysis, valuable information and empirical knowledge that illuminate policy options. Good-quality research and analysis are paramount to promoting the links between research and policymaking. End-users need to feel and know that the findings of policy research are responsive, credible, legitimate and reliable. APRNet will facilitate the conduct of policy research by exposing researchers to research funding opportunities, networks and affiliations. APRNet shall identify policy research topics to support the agricultural development efforts in the country. Such research topics will be identified with the active inputs and participation of policymakers and research end-users. Since peer review is a critical factor for ensuring good-quality policy-relevant research, APRNet will set up mechanisms for the conduct of scientific peer reviews of members’ research outputs. The facilitative role of APRNet entails finding and inviting peer reviewers for research outputs of members and providing a catalytic channel for feedback. 

Specific programmes and projects

  • Budget analysis and public spending reviews: This will involve the analysis of federal government and state government budgets and resource allocation priorities – pre-budget and budget analysis to make input into the budget process. It will also involve the reviews of agricultural sector public spending at the federal and state government levels – budget analysis will be accompanied with reviews of public spending in preceding fiscal year.
  • State of Nigerian Agriculture Benchmarking Series: This will be an independent assessment of agricultural sector health against historical and current performance. It will take the form of research-based policy and agribusiness benchmarking and monitoring initiative. The product will be the State of Nigeria Agriculture Report (SONAR) Series. The elements of the programme will include: 
  1. Define the variables and construct the derivative indicators – policy frameworks, services, institutions, public sector funding and spending, technology, agribusiness environment, value chain linkages, etc
  2. Find and assemble the required data to fit the indicators
  3. Analyse and situate indicator values to national and international benchmarks
  4. Draft the reports  
  5. Disseminate the reports through stakeholder forum, policy briefs, media tools, seminars, etc
  6. Promote the report as advocacy tool 

The SONAR will be APRNet’s flagship research-based publication and will stand out as the first-ever independent agricultural sector observatory in the country.  The State of Nigeria Agriculture Report (SoNAR) will elicit, collate and pool agricultural sector information and statistics from relevant national and state-level agencies including NBS, CBN, FMARD, SMARD, ADPs, WB, etc. and synthesise them into reporting frameworks that show the situational assessment (performance, challenges and outlook) of the agricultural sector in the country. The indicator framework will align with the KPIs of the National Planning Commission and the M & E parameters of the CAADP/ECOWAP/NAIP process. The information will cover macroeconomic and sector level indicators and trends including input markets, commodity outputs, agricultural investments and financing, postharvest developments, technologies and innovations. The publication will provide stakeholders (domestic and international) with snapshot reference material on the performance, challenges and outlook for the Nigerian agricultural sector. So far, there is none of this kind of agricultural sector monitoring and reporting in the country and APRNet is poised to blaze the trail. 

Public Enlightenment and Stakeholder Engagement

Currently, there is a lack of organised research-based voice to deepen the political constituency for agriculture in the country. The agricultural sector is under-represented and under-reported because of the predominantly informal status of enterprises and operators. National news is dominated by information about the secondary and tertiary sectors and reflects mostly urban-based perspectives and conceptions. Mechanisms for agricultural sector stakeholders to engage themselves and the policy process are weak and poorly developed. APRNet will contribute to ameliorating the situation by promoting public enlightenment to increase public appreciation for agricultural policy. Constant information flow to stakeholders will keep them constantly engaged and focused. 

Specific programmes and projects

•    Press conferences

•    Media briefs

•    Op-eds

•    Radio and television appearances

•    Media roundtables

•    Public debate sessions

Research Communications and Policy Dialogue

Research dissemination is a critical missing link in the research-policy interface. Very little investment and efforts are devoted to putting out the results and findings of research in a manner that elicits uptake by policymakers and practitioners. Effective communication of research findings and policy recommendations is acutely lacking and the existing channels and mechanisms of communication are ad hoc, piecemeal and incoherent. APRNet will foster the dissemination of research results and findings and policy recommendations by providing regular and credible channels and platforms for researchers to interact with users of their research. This facility will promote better communication, feedback, mutual interest and mutual accountability between researchers and research end-users. To promote the communication of research, APRNet will use a combination of communication methods and tools. 

Specific programmes and projects

•    Annual Policy Dialogue Series - National Policy Symposium on “Making Agricultural Research Work for End-Users”. The objectives are to review the state of linkages of research, policymaking and practice and identify the challenges encountered by researchers in supplying research and by policymakers in accessing and using research and agricultural practitioners.

•    Policy Research Journal

•    Research Methodology Seminars

•    Presentations at Legislative hearings

•    Policy Seminars and Roundtables 

•    Research-based Publications – Research Monographs, Policy Briefs, Policy Primers, Policy Papers, etc

•    Policy Memos to Government Agencies and Legislative Committees

•    Media Events – press releases, media briefings

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