Translating Science to Practical Innovations

18 Sep 2019
South Africa- The Centre for Coordination of Agricultural Research and Development in Southern Africa (CCARDESA) has continued to host country-specific promotion of its Knowledge Hub commonly known as the Southern Africa Agricultural information Knowledge System (SAAIKS). This is after a realisation that people are not aware of the SAAIKS. The region has experienced challenges which threaten food security ranging from climate change, environmental degradation, a dearth of agricultural research among other things. Some of the solutions to these challenges can only be the SAAIKS because it houses all manner of research and information ranging from climate-smart agriculture, best bet and decision-making tools, best practices addressing agricultural productivity and improvements. The main purpose of the meeting was to engage South Africa on how best they can share, utilise and input in the CCARDESA system. Also, to introduce the system to the people who may not know about it. The meeting which was jointly hosted with the Agricultural Research Council(ARC) was well attended with representation from the Ministry of Agriculture, the non-governmental organisations, academia and the media. Dr Petronella Chaminuka officially opened the meeting with a call to the participants to utilise the CCARDESA SAAIKS system. She expressed appreciation to CCARDESA for pushing the agricultural research and development agenda forward. She applauded CCARDESA for taking the research mandate to another level of disseminating them so that the extension workers and other key players can translate the research into useful and practical innovations and interventions. “Knowledge management is critical in the 21st century as evidenced by efficiency and effectiveness of organisations that have units that support knowledge management initiatives” intimated Dr Chaminuka. She said that it is a well-known fact that organisations with KM units have a comparative advantage over those who do not have them. She also urged participants to analyse the information on the SAAIKS so that it is used for policy direction support, decision making and development of the farming community at large. It is high time that countries in the SADC region used scientifically generated research into developmental sciences that transform the people’s livelihoods. The CCARDESA ICKM focal point person from ARC, Mr Sandile Ngcamphalala who spearheaded the organisation of the meeting also appealed to participants not to work in silos but to strengthen the synergies between all the represented organisations their websites and knowledge hubs are linked to another so that member states have a variety of information. He further urged the participants to create content that is beneficial to the region and called on the media to create storylines from the research that can be understood by the farmers and non-specialists. Generally, participants were happy about the SAAIKS and agreed that going forward they will contribute to the CCARDESA hub and alert people in their circles about it. The German Development Cooperation funded the event through the GIZ- Adaptation to Climate Change in Rural Areas in Southern Africa(ACCRA) project.

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