Lessons from Abuja, Nigeria
Baseline dissemination and communication of research are considered as an integral part of any research project. They help in increasing the visibility of research outputs, public engagement in science and innovation, and confidence of society in research. Effective dissemination and communication are vital to ensure that the conducted research has a social, political or economic impact. They draw attention of governments and stakeholders to research results and conclusions, enhancing their visibility, comprehension, and implementation.
Generally speaking, the baseline dissemination allows Principal Investigators and other researchers to establish whether change at the outcome level has occurred or not. It also helps to inform and motivate stakeholders to pay attention to certain issues, increase their participation and provide justification for policy makers and donors for a project intervention.
It is in this vein that a number of Baseline Dissemination Workshops were held in Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Markets, Risks and Resilience ALL-IN participating countries in 2022. One of such workshops was held in Abuja, Nigeria which attracted 40 policy stakeholders and advisors, academics, researchers and representatives of civil society and farming, and the media. The baseline dissemination workshop presented results from the baseline survey with focus on Digital Literacy, Output Market Access, and Demand for Rural E-Commerce; carried out by Feed the Future Advancing Local Leadership Innovation Network (ALL-IN) research. The workshop aimed to facilitate policy dialogue and debate on how to improve the output market access of farming households in rural Nigeria. The workshop was organized in collaboration with the University of Ilorin, Ahmadu Bello University, Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Markets, Risk and Resilience, University of California, Davis, and the International Centre for Evaluation and Development (ICED).
Objectives of the Workshop
The specific objectives were, among others, to:
• Stimulate debate on how to bolster resilience and keep rural individuals, households, communities, and markets in positions of economic viability
• Provide feedback on project design and implementation.
• Agree on baseline research results.
• Assess the feasibility and the challenges of implementing the recommendations derived from the results of the study.
• Promote links between different actors involved in the agriculture and rural sector to better implement recommendations derived from the conference.
Lessons from the presentation of the survey results
· “Digital transformation is an opportunity to link farmers to markets, through e-commerce, amidst existing and emerging constraints, and interventions have been designed despite evidence that rural households have little knowledge of digital tools”.
· The team intends to assess the relationship between digital literacy and market access and analyses how digital literacy can spur the demand for digital marketing platforms in rural Nigeria. They found from the baseline survey that internet usage is common among 42% of farming households, yet a lack of digital knowledge remains, especially for marketing platforms. Overall, there is a general interest among farmers for using e-commerce, even if it implies bearing a cost.
· The workshop participants appreciated the opportunity to discuss and better understand the issue, as well as to stimulate policy debates on digital literacy and e-commerce in rural Nigeria.
· “Digitalization can help reform, reshape and re-strategize the structure of agriculture in Africa today”, said Mr Akin Alabi (Author of the Rise of Digital Agriculture).
In a statement at the Workshop, Dr. David Sarfo Ameyaw, President and CEO of ICED, appreciated the efforts of the research team and encouraged everyone to give the best to the project to actualize the overall goal and to build a better Africa by Africans themselves.
Delivering a solidarity message, Prof Kolawale Wahab, representative of the Vice-Chancellor, University of Ilorin opined that, “You do beautiful research work, and it ends up gathering dust in the university library. It might take up to 17 years before it is put to use. This is why the University of Ilorin holds implementation science in high esteem”.
The research team organized the event with financial support from ICED, MRR (UCDavis), and USAID