IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Public-private partnerships in agricultural research: an analysis of challenges facing industry and the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research


  • Spielman, David J.
  • von Grebmer, Klaus


"Public-private partnerships offer potentially important opportunities for pro-poor agricultural research in developing countries. Yet in the international agricultural research community-and with regard to the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) itself-we see few examples of successful public-private partnerships, and fewer examples where such collaborations have contributed to food security, poverty reduction and economic growth. This study assesses the opportunities for, and challenges to, creating and sustaining public-private partnerships between the international agricultural research centers of the CGIAR and leading multinational, research-based agribusiness companies. The study hypothesizes that the willingness and ability of public agencies and private firms to enter into partnerships are constrained by fundamentally different incentive structures; by insufficient minimization of the costs and risks of collaboration; by an inability to overcome mutually negative perceptions; by limited use of creative organizational mechanisms that reduce competition over key assets and resources; and by insufficient access to information on successful partnership models. The study methodology is based on interviews and discussions with key stakeholders and a wide review of the literature on public-private partnership. Tentative findings suggest that while incentives and perceptions do differ between sectors, sufficient common space exists or can be created through incentive structuring to facilitate greater partnership. However, both public- and private-sector partners inadequately account for and minimize the costs and risks of partnership. Similarly, partners discount the need for brokers and third-party actors to manage research collaborations and reduce competition between sectors. Finally, partners are operating without sufficient information on existing partnership experiences, lessons, and models, potentially contributing to a persistent or widening gap between sectors.

Suggested Citation

  • Spielman, David J. & von Grebmer, Klaus, 2004. "Public-private partnerships in agricultural research: an analysis of challenges facing industry and the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research," EPTD discussion papers 113, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
  • Handle: RePEc:fpr:eptddp:113

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Williamson, Oliver E, 1979. "Transaction-Cost Economics: The Governance of Contractural Relations," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 22(2), pages 233-261, October.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Anastasia Kireeva & Tatiana Tischenko & Ilya Sokolov & Elizaveta Khudko, 2012. "Public Private Partnership as an Instrument for Supporting Innovations," Published Papers 167, Gaidar Institute for Economic Policy, revised 2012.
    2. Joel Cohen & John Komen & José Falck Zepeda, 2004. "National Agricultural Biotechnology Research Capacity in Developing Countries," Working Papers 04-14, Agricultural and Development Economics Division of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO - ESA).
    3. Hartwich, Frank & Gottret, Maria Veronica & Babu, Suresh Chandra & Tola, Jaime, 2007. "Building public–private partnerships for agricultural innovation in Latin America: Lessons from capacity strengthening," IFPRI discussion papers 699, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    4. Gerpacio, Roberta V. & Pingali, Prabhu L., 2007. "Tropical and Subtropical Maize in Asia: Production Systems, Constraints, and Research Priorities," Maize Production Systems Papers 56107, CIMMYT: International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center.
    5. Dentoni, Domenico & English, Francis, 2012. "Dealing with Cultural Differences in Public-Private R&D Projects: The Experience of the Australian Seafood Sector," International Food and Agribusiness Management Review, International Food and Agribusiness Management Association, vol. 0(Special I), pages 1-6, June.
    6. Gramzow, Andreas, 2009. "Rural development as provision of local public goods: Theory and evidence from Poland," Studies on the Agricultural and Food Sector in Transition Economies, Leibniz Institute of Agricultural Development in Transition Economies (IAMO), volume 51, number 92313.
    7. Valentina Cristiana MATERIA & Roberto ESPOSTI, 2010. "Modelling Agricultural Public R&D Cofinancing Within A Principal-Agent Framework. The case of an Italian region," Working Papers 347, Universita' Politecnica delle Marche (I), Dipartimento di Scienze Economiche e Sociali.
    8. Khan, Shahbaz & Mushtaq, Shahbaz, 2009. "Regional partnerships to assist public-private investments in irrigation systems," Agricultural Water Management, Elsevier, vol. 96(5), pages 839-846, May.
    9. Ponzoni, R.W. & Acosta, B.O. & Ponniah, A.G. (eds.), 2006. "Development of aquatic animal genetic improvement and dissemination programs : current status and action plans," Working Papers, The WorldFish Center, number 36880, December.
    10. Gramzow, A. & Petrick, M., 2008. "Stimulating cooperation among farmers in a post-socialist economy: lessons from a public-private marketing partnership in Poland," Proceedings “Schriften der Gesellschaft für Wirtschafts- und Sozialwissenschaften des Landbaues e.V.”, German Association of Agricultural Economists (GEWISOLA), vol. 0, March.
    11. Singh, Harbir & Mathur, Prasoon & Pal, Suresh, 2008. "Indian Seed System Development: Policy and Institutional Options," Agricultural Economics Research Review, Agricultural Economics Research Association (India), vol. 0(Number 1), pages 1-10.
    12. Esposti, Roberto & Materia, Valentina, 2015. "The determinants of the public R&D cofinancing rate An empirical assessment on agricultural research," 2015 Conference, August 9-14, 2015, Milan, Italy 211624, International Association of Agricultural Economists.
    13. Hall, Andy, 2006. "Public private sector partnerships in an agricultural system of innovation: concepts and challenges," MERIT Working Papers 002, United Nations University - Maastricht Economic and Social Research Institute on Innovation and Technology (MERIT).
    14. Joanna Chataway, 2005. "Introduction: is it possible to create pro-poor agriculture-related biotechnology?," Journal of International Development, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 17(5), pages 597-610.
    15. Atanassov, Atanas & Bahieldin, Ahmed & Brink, Johan & Burachik, Moises & Cohen, Joel I. & Dhawan, Vibha & Ebora, Reynaldo V. & Falck-Zepeda, José & Herrera-Estrella, Luis & Komen, John & Chon Low, Fee, 2004. "To reach the poor: results from the ISNAR-IFPRI Next Harvest study on genetically modified crops, public research, and policy implications," EPTD discussion papers 116, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    16. World Bank, 2005. "Agriculture and Achieving the Millennium Development Goals," World Bank Other Operational Studies 8455, The World Bank.
    17. Hall, Andy & Sulaiman, Rasheed & Bezkorowajnyj, Peter, 2008. "Reframing technical change: Livestock Fodder Scarcity Revisited as Innovation Capacity Scarcity: Part 2. A Framework for Analysis," MERIT Working Papers 003, United Nations University - Maastricht Economic and Social Research Institute on Innovation and Technology (MERIT).
    18. Lois Muraguri, 2010. "Unplugged!: An analysis of agricultural biotechnology PPPs in Kenya," Journal of International Development, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 22(3), pages 289-307.
    19. Roy, Sonali & Christy, Ralph D., 2005. "Agricultural Biotechnology Risks and Economic Development: A Call for a Public-Private Partnerships to Stimulate Investments into African Biotechnology Industries," Staff Papers 121113, Cornell University, Department of Applied Economics and Management.
    20. Materia, V.C. & Pascucci, S. & Kolympiris, C., 2015. "Understanding the selection processes of public research projects in agriculture: The role of scientific merit," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 56(C), pages 87-99.
    21. Rich, Karl M. & Narrod, Clare A., 2010. "The role of public–private partnerships in promoting smallholder access to livestock markets in developing countries," IFPRI discussion papers 1001, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    22. Maud Roucan-Kane & Allan Gray, 2009. "The U.S. Seed Industustustry: An Exploration of Statistics Highlighting the Economic Cctivity of the U.S. Row Crop Seed Industry," Working Papers 09-08, Purdue University, College of Agriculture, Department of Agricultural Economics.
    23. Christian Webersik & Clarice Wilson, 2009. "Achieving environmental sustainability and growth in Africa: the role of science, technology and innovation," Sustainable Development, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 17(6), pages 400-413.
    24. Mabiso, Athur & van Rheenen, Teunis & Ferguson, Jenna, 2013. "Organizational partnerships for food Policy research impact: A review of what works:," IFPRI discussion papers 1305, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    25. Blakeney, Michael, 2011. "Recent developments in intellectual property and power in the private sector related to food and agriculture," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 36(S1), pages 109-113.


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:fpr:eptddp:113. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.