An Evolving Regional Platform for Higher Agricultural Education: A Review of RUFORUM

Building the research, policy, service delivery, and private sector capacities that will underlie the transformation of smallholder agriculture in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) will depend critically on developing the human capital, in essence the technocratic class that is essential for effective agricultural institutions. The need is particularly binding in the supply of agricultural researchers with postgraduate degrees, who are essential for the development of robust programs and institutions in agricultural research, higher agricultural education, agricultural policy, and leadership across the agricultural public and private sectors. The cohort of agricultural scientists that were trained at PhD level in the 1980’s and early 1990’s are close to retiring and there is a missing generation of postgraduate scientists, due to structural adjustment programs and limits on hiring, the decline in donor support to agriculture in the 1990’s and early 2000’s, the rising cost and decreasing relevance of higher degree training in the North, and the inability of African universities to fill the gap. This missing generation of agricultural PhD’s is set against the expanding demand in the last decade for postgraduates due to the growth in the number of universities, increasing capacity of international agricultural research institutes and international NGO’s in SSA and the benefit to staffing with local talent, and an emergent private sector requiring human capital mixing disciplinary depth and practical experience.
Date of publication: 
Region Focus: 
Central Africa
East Africa
Southern Africa
Corporate author(s): 
RUFORUM Consultancy Reports
Agris Subject Categories: 
Licence conditions: 
Open Access