From food crop research to policy

Kumasi field site. Image credit: CRI, 2023.

The journey from food crop research to policy is a dynamic and crucial process that bridges the realms of science and governance. In this intricate interplay, scientists and researchers diligently investigate innovative agricultural practices, crop varieties and sustainable farming practices to enhance food production, food security and mitigate the impacts of climate change. Their findings, grounded in rigorous scientific inquiry, serve as the bedrock upon which policies and regulations are crafted by policymakers, governments and international organisations. Exploring the collaborative efforts of Ghanaian crop researchers, farmers, extension officers, government agencies and international partners, we investigate the cultural, social, political and institutional factors that contribute to the knowledge co-production, translation and utilisation; the challenges they face and how by bridging the gap between scientific advancements and effective policymaking, these actors can enhance crop yields, promote agricultural resilience, and ultimately improve the livelihoods of the country’s farming communities.

With a focus on cassava, this case study broadly seeks to evaluate crop knowledge production by considering how scientists in the Crop Research Institute (CRI) in Kumasi presents its contribution to the Ghanaian National Agricultural Policy, as well as reflect on the contemporary challenges of science-policy coordination in Ghana. We also examine the role that open science (OS) plays in these exchanges, and whether openness support or endangers adequate links between research and policy worlds – a really important link given the relevance of crop research for food security in Ghana, and by extension West Africa. What interactions happen between sites, processes and institutions involved in these forms of knowledge development? How has scientific knowledge production, use and policymaking shifted with the onset of OS practices within the CRI?