The Integrated Agricultural Research for Development (IAR4D) concept represents a paradigm change in the way agricultural research and development activities are carried out in Africa. The concepts build on other models conducting agricultural research and development. The concept has its main root in the innovation system approach; which is a multi-institutional, multi-stakeholder framework that has been successfully used in the industrial development era of the West. The biggest problem with the concept was how to practically use it agriculture considering the sector uniqueness and dissimilarity from the industrial sector. The Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA) developed the IAR4D concept as a way to implement the innovation systems approach for agricultural development, this concept was packaged as a project and presented to the Consultative Group in International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) for funding. The CGIAR council accept the project proposal for implementation as the Sub Saharan African Challenge Program (SSA CP) and requested that the first part of the project should aim conducting a proof of the IAR4D concept.
The SSA CP proof of concept was carried out using a rigorous research methodology and was implemented in eight countries of the sub Saharan Africa. The project work involved many agricultural research and non-research organizations, with the core implementation in three pilot learning sites. These include; (a) Western Africa (Kano-katsina- Maradi); (b). Southern Africa (Zimbabwe, Malawi and Mozambique) and (c). Eastern Africa (Uganda, Rwanda and Democratic Republic of Congo) around the Lake kivu regions. The debut knowledge on the practice of the IAR4D concept as documented in this book was largely drawn from the jointly developed framework which is consistently refined by FARA staff; and the implementation of the concept under the socio-economic and cultural conditions of the Lake Kivu pilot learning site.