Dr. Shittu Raimi AKINOLA (Development Planner & Environmentalist)
Department of Architecture, Covenant University, 10 Idiroko Road, Canaan Land, Ota, Ogun State, Nigeria.
Despite the existence of abundant food security potentials in Africa and several Africentred initiatives birthed by African leaders, over the years, to address food insecurity challenges, food security is still a mirage. While the dominant contribution to food security in developed societies came from increased yields as a result of scientific/technical innovation, farmers in sub-Saharan Africa still rely on their age-old traditional systems of farming, thus making the region to generally lag behind other regions. While innovative ideas on food security are generated by African agricultural scientists and agricultural engineers, there have not been sufficient incentives on the part of African governments to harness these potentials for the benefit of peasant farmers. Rather, African governments and industrialists/private sector patronized imported agricultural technology and development paradigm which are usually at variance with African realities. Consequently, the stakeholders in food security - African university, African government, African industry/private sector and peasant farmers - operate on parallel lines as against collegial interactions within food security arena. Peasant farmers have not been able to benefit from agricultural innovations with the consequence of a wide gulf between reality and societal ideal manifested in food shortage and poverty.
The issue of appropriateness of technology for food security (pre- and post-harvest activities) is very crucial and imperative for all stakeholders in agricultural sector. It is increasingly being appreciated that appropriateness of technology does not only have to do with the technical efficiency and effectiveness of the technology but also with its impact on the social balance in the society, the environment, skill requirement, etc. The contention of this paper is that, in this era of problem-solving knowledge regime, the onus rests on African scholars to think in a new way and add value to their disciplines to solve specific problems in food security in Africa. This, however, requires that Knowledge Management (KM) tools and techniques need be taken into consideration with its potentials fully employed in Africa for food security in the continent.
Using the Institutional Analysis and Development (IAD) framework, this paper will discuss the missing links between and among key stakeholders in food security in Africa. It will also attempt at evolving adaptive strategy, using inward-looking institutional mechanisms, to connect the key food security players in a polycentric manner. Further, the paper designs African Food Security Model (AFSM) aims at synergizing the efforts of the key stakeholders in food security. In addition, appropriate institutional mechanism is designed to craft effective linkage, partnership and collaboration between African government, university, industry/private sector, local communities and peasant farmers in their present day realities through polycentricity in order to ensure sustainable food security in Africa.