Innovation systems: Towards effective strategies in support of smallholder farmers
This book (PDF) by CTA examines ‘innovations systems’ – a concept suggested as underpinning industrial development – as a strategy for agricultural development. Innovation systems approaches conceptualise change as a long-term, socially-embedded process, and recognise the important role policy plays in shaping the parameters within which decisions are made. Providing a collection of papers and commentaries from the world’s top scholars and practitioners, this book looks at the strengths – but also the weaknesses and challenges – of the innovations systems approach and how it may be applied to benefit smallholder farmers. The debate generally converge around the role of research and development and science and technology in the innovation process, the levels of public investment required and the innovation pathways to be pursued. And, more critically, what policies and institutional mechanisms are needed to sustain agricultural innovation and how governments can ensure that smallholder farmers are not marginalized in a competitive global trading environment. While several chapters provide the theoretical underpinning to support the discourse, others feature concrete experiences drawn primarily from sub-Saharan Africa as well as other regions; Asia, the Caribbean, Latin America and the Pacific. This body of knowledge does not provide a blueprint for agricultural innovation in developing countries or emerging economies, however, the lessons learned can be useful in guiding the design, implementation and evaluation of future policies, programmes and research on agricultural innovation systems.