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An innovation systems approach to institutional change: Smallholder development in West Africa

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  • Hounkonnou, Dominique
  • Kossou, Dansou
  • Kuyper, Thomas W.
  • Leeuwis, Cees
  • Nederlof, E. Suzanne
  • Röling, Niels
  • Sakyi-Dawson, Owuraku
  • Traoré, Mamoudou
  • van Huis, Arnold
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    Abstract

    Sustainable intensification of smallholder farming is a serious option for satisfying 2050 global cereal requirements and alleviating persistent poverty. That option seems far off for Sub-Sahara Africa (SSA) where technology-driven productivity growth has largely failed. The article revisits this issue from a number of angles: current approaches to enlisting SSA smallholders in agricultural development; the history of the phenomenal productivity growth in the USA, The Netherlands and Green Revolution Asia; and the current framework conditions for SSA productivity growth. This analysis shows that (1) the development of an enabling institutional context was a necessary condition that preceded the phenomenal productivity growth in industrial and Green Revolution countries; and that (2) such a context is also present for successful SSA export crop production, but that (3) the context is pervasively biased against SSA’s smallholder food production. The article traces the origins of technology supply push (TSP) as a dominant paradigm that hinders recognition of the role of enabling institutions. The article then reviews the literature on institutional change and zooms in on Innovation Platforms (IPs) as a promising innovation system approach to such change. We describe the concrete experience with IP in the Sub-Sahara Challenge Program (SSA-CP) and in the Convergence of Sciences: Strengthening Innovation Systems (CoS-SIS) Program. The former has demonstrated proof of concept. The latter is designed to trace causal mechanisms. We describe its institutional experimentation and research methodology, including causal process tracing.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Agricultural Systems.

    Volume (Year): 108 (2012)
    Issue (Month): C ()
    Pages: 74-83

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    Handle: RePEc:eee:agisys:v:108:y:2012:i:c:p:74-83

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    Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/agsy

    Related research

    Keywords: Innovation platforms; IAR4D; Opportunities; Benin; Ghana; Mali;

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    Cited by:
    1. Colvin, John & Blackmore, Chris & Chimbuya, Sam & Collins, Kevin & Dent, Mark & Goss, John & Ison, Ray & Roggero, Pier Paolo & Seddaiu, Giovanna, 2014. "In search of systemic innovation for sustainable development: A design praxis emerging from a decade of social learning inquiry," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 43(4), pages 760-771.
    2. Yang, Huan & Klerkx, Laurens & Leeuwis, Cees, 2014. "Functions and limitations of farmer cooperatives as innovation intermediaries: Findings from China," Agricultural Systems, Elsevier, vol. 127(C), pages 115-125.
    3. Klerkx, Laurens & Nettle, Ruth, 2013. "Achievements and challenges of innovation co-production support initiatives in the Australian and Dutch dairy sectors: A comparative study," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 40(C), pages 74-89.
    4. Islam, Md. Mofakkarul & Renwick, Alan W. & Lamprinopoulou-Kranis, Chrysa & Klerkx, Laurens, 2012. "Dynamics of Innovation in Livestock Genetics in Scotland: An Agricultural Innovation Systems Perspective," 131st Seminar, September 18-19, 2012, Prague, Czech Republic 135769, European Association of Agricultural Economists.
    5. Totin, Edmond & Stroosnijder, Leo & Agbossou, Euloge, 2013. "Mulching upland rice for efficient water management: A collaborative approach in Benin," Agricultural Water Management, Elsevier, vol. 125(C), pages 71-80.
    6. Kilelu, Catherine W. & Klerkx, Laurens & Leeuwis, Cees, 2013. "Unravelling the role of innovation platforms in supporting co-evolution of innovation: Contributions and tensions in a smallholder dairy development programme," Agricultural Systems, Elsevier, vol. 118(C), pages 65-77.
    7. Garb, Yaakov & Friedlander, Lonia, 2014. "From transfer to translation: Using systemic understandings of technology to understand drip irrigation uptake," Agricultural Systems, Elsevier, vol. 128(C), pages 13-24.
    8. Paschen, Jana-Axinja & Ison, Ray, 2014. "Narrative research in climate change adaptation—Exploring a complementary paradigm for research and governance," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 43(6), pages 1083-1092.

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