In 2007, Dr. Irene Egyir, head of the Department of Agricultural Economics and Agribusiness at the University of Ghana, attended a training-of-trainers’ workshop organised by CTA in collaboration with the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) in Accra. The workshop was designed to introduce scientists and others to the innovation systems concept and its relevance to understanding, analysing and strengthening the Agricultural Science, Technology and Innovation (ASTI) system for enhanced agricultural performance in ACP countries.
Trade within and between regions can play an important role in stimulating economic growth and reducing poverty, so governments should do their upmost to support the cross-border movement of goods and services. But in much of sub-Saharan Africa, this simply isn't happening. Official figures for 2008 suggest intra-regional trade in Africa was just 10% of total trade, compared to 27% within Latin America and the Caribbean, 47% in Asia and 70% in the European Union, although this didn't take into account substantial informal trade.
"In 2007, when we held the first Brussels briefing, agriculture wasn't seen as a high priority by the vast majority of ACP countries," says Isolina Boto, head of CTA's Brussels office. "At the time, just four or five of the 79 ACP countries had identified agriculture and rural development as their main priority for receiving European Commission support in their National Indicative Programmes (NIPs)."
CTA has played an active role in supporting the development of agricultural Market Information Systems (MIS), which collect, process and disseminate information on agricultural markets and their dynamics. The first models, developed in the 1980s, were, in part, designed to fill a gap left by market liberalisation, offering information aimed at helping the state to inform policies and strengthening farmers' negotiating position with buyers.