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Challenges to Strengthening Agricultural Innovation Systems: Where Do We Go From Here?

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  • Hall, Andy

    () (UNU-MERIT)

Abstract

This paper was prepared to present at the Farmer First Revisited: 20 Years On conference at IDS, University of Sussex, UK, December 2007. Its focus is the challenge of strengthening agricultural innovation systems. The paper prefaces this discussion by reflecting on an apparent paradox. While agricultural innovation has never been better studied and understood, many of our ideas about innovation have failed to fundamentally change the institutional and policy setting of public and private investment intended to promote innovation for development. The paper asks "students of innovation" why a virtual spiral of innovation practice and policy learning hasn't emerged. The paper then locates the current interest in innovation systems in the evolving and contested approaches to agricultural development, noting that this is characterised by a long history of false dichotomies. The contingencies of the emerging agricultural scenario will demand the more networked modes of collective intelligence and innovation that are embodied in the innovation systems concept. The paper argues, however, that the innovation systems idea should be view as a metaphor for innovation diversity, rather than another competing innovation narrative. The way forward, it is suggested, is to create a united front of different collective intelligence-based innovation narratives to kick-start the virtuous spiral of innovation practice and policy learning. This is needed to strengthen agricultural innovation systems and so achieve developmental goals. The paper argues that it is the responsibly of all us "students of innovation" to argue for this space for diversity to flourish and to help consolidate and promote what is known about agricultural innovation. If we aren't more successful in stimulating institutional and policy change we will still be debating these issues 20 years hence.

Suggested Citation

  • Hall, Andy, 2007. "Challenges to Strengthening Agricultural Innovation Systems: Where Do We Go From Here?," MERIT Working Papers 038, United Nations University - Maastricht Economic and Social Research Institute on Innovation and Technology (MERIT).
  • Handle: RePEc:unm:unumer:2007038
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    File URL: https://www.merit.unu.edu/publications/wppdf/2007/wp2007-038.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Hall, Andy, 2007. "The origins and implications of using innovation systems perspectives in the design and implementation of agricultural research projects: Some personal observations," MERIT Working Papers 013, United Nations University - Maastricht Economic and Social Research Institute on Innovation and Technology (MERIT).
    2. Andy Hall, 2005. "Capacity development for agricultural biotechnology in developing countries: an innovation systems view of what it is and how to develop it," Journal of International Development, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 17(5), pages 611-630.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. World Bank, 2011. "Missing Food : The Case of Postharvest Grain Losses in Sub-Saharan Africa," World Bank Other Operational Studies 2824, The World Bank.
    2. Hall, Andy & Clark, Norman & Frost, Andy, 2010. "Bottom-up, Bottom-line: Development-Relevant Enterprises in East Africa and their Significance for Agricultural Innovation," MERIT Working Papers 042, United Nations University - Maastricht Economic and Social Research Institute on Innovation and Technology (MERIT).
    3. Prasad Pant, Laxmi & Hambly Odame, Helen & Hall, Andy & Sulaiman, Rasheed, 2008. "Learning Networks Matter: Challenges to Developing Learning-Based Competence in Mango Production and Post-Harvest in Andhra Pradesh, India," MERIT Working Papers 069, United Nations University - Maastricht Economic and Social Research Institute on Innovation and Technology (MERIT).
    4. Vamsidhar Reddy, T.S. & Hall, Andy & Sulaiman V., Rasheed, 2010. "New Organisational and Institutional Vehicles for Managing Innovation in South Asia: Opportunities for Using Research for Technical Change and Social Gain," MERIT Working Papers 054, United Nations University - Maastricht Economic and Social Research Institute on Innovation and Technology (MERIT).
    5. Douglas Horton & Beatrice Akello & Lucy Aliguma & Thomas Bernet & Andre Devaux & Berga Lemaga & Damalie Magala & Sarah Mayanja & Immaculate Sekitto & Graham Thiele & Claudio Velasco, 2010. "Developing capacity for agricultural market chain innovation: Experience with the 'PMCA' in Uganda," Journal of International Development, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 22(3), pages 367-389.
    6. Wassenaar, T. & Doelsch, E. & Feder, F. & Guerrin, F. & Paillat, J.-M. & Thuriès, L. & Saint Macary, H., 2014. "Returning Organic Residues to Agricultural Land (RORAL) – Fuelling the Follow-the-Technology approach," Agricultural Systems, Elsevier, vol. 124(C), pages 60-69.
    7. Micheline Goedhuys & Norbert Janz & Pierre Mohnen, 2014. "Knowledge-based productivity in "low-tech" industries: evidence from firms in developing countries," Industrial and Corporate Change, Oxford University Press, vol. 23(1), pages 1-23, February.
    8. Letty, Brigid & Shezi, Zanele & Mudhara, Maxwell, 2012. "An exploration of agricultural grassroots innovation in South Africa and implications for innovation indicator development," MERIT Working Papers 023, United Nations University - Maastricht Economic and Social Research Institute on Innovation and Technology (MERIT).
    9. Daowei Sun & Paul Hyland & Ockie Bosch, 2015. "A Systemic View of Innovation Adoption in the Australian Beef Industry," Systems Research and Behavioral Science, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 32(6), pages 646-657, November.
    10. Foran, Tira & Butler, James R.A. & Williams, Liana J. & Wanjura, Wolf J. & Hall, Andy & Carter, Lucy & Carberry, Peter S., 2014. "Taking Complexity in Food Systems Seriously: An Interdisciplinary Analysis," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 61(C), pages 85-101.
    11. repec:eee:agisys:v:157:y:2017:i:c:p:129-139 is not listed on IDEAS
    12. Hall, Andy & Dijkman, Jeroen & Sulaiman, Rasheed, 2010. "Research Into Use: Investigating the Relationship between Agricultural Research and Innovation," MERIT Working Papers 044, United Nations University - Maastricht Economic and Social Research Institute on Innovation and Technology (MERIT).
    13. Singh, K.M. & Shekhar, Dibyanshu & Meena, M.S., 2015. "Modern Extension Approaches for Livelihood Improvement for Resource Poor Farmers," MPRA Paper 68414, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 17 Dec 2015.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Agricultural innovation systems; institutional and policy change; space for diversity; innovation narratives; collective intelligence; self-reflection.;

    JEL classification:

    • O2 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Development Planning and Policy
    • O13 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Agriculture; Natural Resources; Environment; Other Primary Products
    • Q16 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture - - - R&D; Agricultural Technology; Biofuels; Agricultural Extension Services
    • Q18 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture - - - Agricultural Policy; Food Policy
    • O43 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - Institutions and Growth
    • D02 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Institutions: Design, Formation, Operations, and Impact
    • D78 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Positive Analysis of Policy Formulation and Implementation

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