Good research forms a solid foundation for development. Indeed, countries with a strong research culture have registered unprecedented transformation, especially in areas of science, technology and agriculture.
Therefore, investing in research is important for Rwanda to sustain the current growth rate.
This calls for prioritisation of research at the national level but this has not been the case in many key institutions.
For example, currently extension services take up 70 per cent of funds reserved for Rwanda Agriculture Board’s (RAB) agriculture and livestock activities, and only 30 per cent is earmarked for research. This trend is not tenable and hinders development of the agriculture sector, and indeed national development.
But not all hope is lost. A new legislation mandating Rwanda Agriculture Board (RAB) to prioritise research was passed by parliament last week.
The new law is expected to make agriculture and livestock sector more productive through research based policies.
This is indeed good news because one of the biggest challenges in the agriculture sector has been lack of good research. As a result, we have seen critical decisions taken without basing on solid research. The result has been farmers losing their produce and livestock to pests and diseases that could be avoided through research based decisions and planning.
With the new law, if RAB pools a strong team of researchers in partnership with key stakeholders in the area of research like universities, the agriculture sector will undergo a positive transformation.
Through research, informed solutions on issues of shortage of quality seeds in the agriculture and livestock sector will be found. It will also help address crop and animal disease prevention on top of coming up with local solutions. As a country, we should adopt a culture of research at all levels.