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Fri, Feb

Developing innovation systems for African agriculture

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This policy brief, published by the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) at the Future Agricultures Consortium, examines how an African 'green revolution' could be underpinned by the development of innovation systems rather than technology transfer.

This policy brief, published by the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) at the Future Agricultures Consortium, examines how an African 'green revolution' could be underpinned by the development of innovation systems rather than technology transfer.

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While science and technology (S&T) is widely seen as key to advancing the continent's agricultural productivity, policymakers and institutions have largely focused specifically on delivering technology to farmers, rather than wider S&T initiatives. But inclusive agricultural development has been difficult to achieve through market-led approaches.

This brief draws from research to look at alternative innovation systems, how such systems can benefit the poor, and what changes are needed to realise sustainable agricultural development.

It highlights an alternative approach — Agricultural Innovation Systems (AIS) — which focuses on strengthening the capacity of smallholder farmers to innovate, and recognises the need for a continuous process of innovation.

'Enabling Rural Innovation', an initiative that promotes agricultural market access for poor and marginalised groups, particularly women, is one example of how a participatory approach has been used to create an entrepreneurial culture in poor economies and improve farmers' decision-making capacity. The initiative has revealed barriers to market access for women and the poor, and the need for stronger input from research and policy.

Article continues at ENN affiliate, Science and Development Network

African Farmer image via Shutterstock