Agriculture / Innovation Systems / Research

Agriculture innovation systems: An investment sourcebook

The long-awaited agriculture innovation systems sourcebook has been published by the World Bank (view part 1 and part 2).

According to some pre-materials, “the agricultural innovation system (AIS) approach has evolved from a concept into an entire subdiscipline, with principles of analysis and action, yet no detailed blueprint exists for making agricultural innovation happen at a given time, in a given place, for a given result. This sourcebook draws on the emerging principles of AIS analysis and action to help identify, design, and implement the investments, approaches, and complementary interventions that appear most likely to strengthen innovation system and promote agricultural innovation and equitable growth.”

It is “targeted to the key operational staff in international and regional development agencies and national governments who design and implement lending projects and to the practitioners who design thematic programs and technical assistance packages. The sourcebook is also an important resource for the research community and NGOs and may be a useful reference for the private sector, farmer organizations, and individuals with an interest in agricultural innovation.”

Key messages of the sourcebook are:

  • Agricultural development depends on innovation. Innovation is a major source of improvedproductivity, competitiveness, and economic growth throughout advanced and emerging economies, and plays an important role in creating jobs, generating income, alleviating poverty, and driving social development.
  • If farmers, agribusinesses, and even nations are to cope, compete, and thrive in the midstof changes in agriculture and economy, they must innovate continuously.
  • Investments in science and technology are a key component of most strategies to improve and maintain agricultural productivity and innovate.
  • Research, education, and extension investments are necessary components but have not been sufficient for agricultural innovation to occur. Other conditions and complementary interventions are needed.
  • In addition to a strong capacity in R&D, components of effective agricultural innovation are collective action and coordination, the exchange of knowledge among diverse actors, the skills, incentives and resources available to form partnerships and develop businesses, and enabling conditions that make it possible for actors to innovate. These conditions and complementary interventions have not been consistently addressed to date.
  • Innovation and business development by different stakeholders does not occur without complementary investments to create a supportive environment. Enabling conditions in a given context depend on a (innovation) policy mix, innovation governance, a diverse set of regulatory matters and other investments with synergistic effects.
  • The agricultural innovation system (AIS) investments must be context specific and respond to the stage of and vision for development in a particular country and agricultural sector. Given the resource limitations, investments need to be assessed, prioritized, sequenced, and tailored to the needs, challenges, and resources that are present.

Book ordering information

ILRI work on innovation systems

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