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Food security policy and governance

Institutional and organizational innovations

Food security policy and governance - Institutional and organizational innovations
Image: via Flickr (by: CGIAR Climate)

Besides technological innovations, transformation of policies, key institutions or markets are necessary to improve food and nutrition security. Such organizational and social innovations require investments in the enabling policy and business environment. Strengthening the capacity of farmers and other stakeholders in the food system to develop innovations based on their knowledge and experience also depends on the enabling environment. Smart solutions are often the result of complex interactions between entrepreneurs, research institutes, NGOs and governments. This Knowledge Portal topic presents examples of these institutional and organizational innovations.

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Science of scaling: Connecting the pathways of agricultural research and development for improved food, income and nutrition security
Published by Agricultural Systems,
This special issue takes stock of how the world of agricultural research for development (AR4D) is engaging with scaling in theory and practice in the context of increased pressure to demonstrate impact. The 10 publications cut agross three categories: 1) Understanding the scaling trajectory retrospectively form a longer term, systems perspective; 2) Understanding scaling of innovation retrospectively as part of shorter term AR4D interventions; 3) Conceptual or methodological approaches aimed at guiding scaling prospectively. »
Multi-actor initiatives in action: Lessons from the Sustainable Diets for All programme
Published by Hivos, IIED,
This paper aims to strengthen the understanding of multi-stakeholde initiatives (MAIs) by showing what works and what does not, and also provides actionable recommendations for people designing MAIs. In general, the case studies analysed in this report have shown the added value of MAIs in addressing food system problems. The complex nature of food systems, with their many moving parts and multiple actors, requires an approach that brings this diversity of views together in a meaningful and productive way. »
Agency of advocacy in the food systems of the majority
Published by Hivos, IIED,
This paper highlights lessons and insights about the opportunities, dilemmas and tensions of putting (low-income) citizen agency at the centre of advocacy and interventions. The food systems for low-income citizens have characteristics that make citizen agency an important starting point for external interventions. »
The global institutional landscape of food and agriculture: How to achieve SDG2
Published by ECDPM,
This paper describes the food and agriculture (F&A) global institutional landscape and its challenges and looks at ongoing reform efforts and their shortcomings. »
Food safety in low and middle-income countries: The evidence through an economic lens
Published by World Development ,
This study explored food safety issues at each stage of the value chain to identify the economic questions, practical challenges, and knowledge gaps along the way. With regard to food standards there is no one-size-fits-all approach, and policymakers will need to consider the specific of the circumstances when working to make improvements along the value chain. »
Economic evaluations of multi-sectoral actions for health and nutrition
Published by Agriculture, Nutrition and Health Academy,
This brief focuses on the challenge of measuring and comparing health improvements from programmes and policies affecting agricultural production, farmers’ livelihoods and the food environment of urban and rural households... »
Reducing food loss and waste: Setting a global agenda
Published by World Resources Institute, Rockefeller Foundation,
This report lays out a global action agenda that will help reduce food loss and waste to help meet the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030. The report calls on governments, companies, farmers, consumers, and everyone in between to: 1) “Target-Measure-Act”; 2) Pursue a short “to-do” list per player; 3) Collaborate on “scaling interventions” »
Contract farming and public−private partnerships in aquaculture
Published by FAO,
This paper explores some aspects of contract farming with public–private partnerships that combine the expertise and profitability goals of the private sector with the enabling policies of governments. Contract farming (CF) has demonstrated its positive impact as an institutional innovation. Even smallholders can benefit: by reducing – if not eliminating –transaction costs, CF provides markets, finance and technology to smallholders. »
United Nations decade of family farming 2019-2028: Global action plan
Published by FAO, IFAD,
This action plan mobilizes concrete, coordinated action to overcome challenges family farmers face, strengthen their investment capacity and thereby attain the potential benefits of their contributions to transform out societies and put in place long-term and sustainable solutions. The global action plan aims at accelerating actions undertaken in a collective, coherent and comprehensive manner to support family farmers. »
Creating momentum for nutrition-sensitive agriculture: Experiences and lessons from the Australian aid program
Published by Asian Journal of Agriculture and Development,
This paper takes a retrospective analysis of the shifts in the Australian aid program that made significant progress in aligning its agriculture policy and programming to be more nutrition-sensitive, and the broader policy environment which made these shifts possible. »
Setting priorities to address the research gaps between agricultural systems analysis and food security outcomes in low- and middle- income countries
Published by CGIAR,
This working paper assesses the current state of practice for the representation of food security indicators in agricultural systems models and provides recommendations for improvements in both model formulation and the empirical evidence base underlying it. The assessment found that there is broad agreement at conceptual level about linkages between agricultural systems and food security. However, the extant conceptual frameworks are often not specific enough. »
One size does not fit all: Private-sector perspectives on climate change, agriculture and adaptation
Published by The Climate-Smart Agriculture Paper ,
This paper assesses how private-sector actors across the supply chain manage climate smart agriculture (CSA), with an eye on how civil society can better engage companies in promoting CSA practices. The research highlights the need for the scientific community to provide more detailed, actionable information to incentivise companies’ investments in CSA. »
Fair prices to achieve a living income for small farmers and its relation to local food purchase programs
Published by Sociology & Anthropology,
This paper aims to stimulate a discussion of how to raise the farmers’ income by providing another way of looking at prices. Since farmers do not earn a sufficient livelihood, alternative ways than market prices have to be looked at: the 'fair prices’. »
Agriculture & food systems to 2050: Global trends, challenges and opportunities
Published by World Scientific,
This book features a comprehensive foresight assessment, exploring the pressures, threats as well as opportunities, on the global agriculture and food systems between now and 2050. Food systems thinking can help identify synergies and trade-offs between the SDGs, and indicate leverage points for policies and interventions. »
A living income for small-scale farmers: Tackling unequal risks and market power
Published by Oxfam,
This paper argues that closing the living income gap for small-scale farmer requires tackling the underlying imbalance in risk and market power that many of them face when engaging in global food value chains. The underlying imbalance is not accidental, but reinforced by structural barriers at the level of individual supply chains, commodity sectors, and public policy agendas. »
The Scaling Scan: a practical tool to determine the potential to scale
Published by PPPLab & CIMMYT,
Impact at scale is needed to address critical global issues like water availability, sanitation, food security, access to clean energy and environmental concerns. But at the same time we all seem to wonder what scaling actually means in practice: how can our policy or project activities contribute to reach impact at scale? The PPPLab, studied to what it realistically takes to scale, and developed a practical tool that helps projects to identify strengths and weaknesses of their scaling strategies.  »
Delivering on the promise of transformational change: What does it take for Dutch-supported PPPs?
Published by PPPLab,
This paper presents the main lessons from Dutch-supported public–private partnerships (PPPs) in food security and water, provides building blocks for making PPPs deliver on the SDGs, with fundamental implications for key partners in PPPs and policymakers. Taking into account the lessons from Dutch-supported PPPs and their challenges, the Dutch PPP approach is in need of recalibration. »
The safe food imperative: Accelerating progress in low- and middle-income countries
Published by World Bank,
This report strengthens the economic case for increased public investment and other policy attention on food safety in developing countries. The most crucial roles for governments is to be facilitative: induce investments and behaviour changes by actors that share the goal and responsibility for safer food. »
The role of innovation brokers in agricultural innovation systems
Published by The World Bank,
This article discusses the role of innovation brokers in bridging communication gaps between various actors of agricultural  innovation systems. Innovation brokers help build synergy in agricultural innovation systems, but their "behind-the-scenes" mode of operating conceals their impact. »
Food systems for sustainable development: Proposals for a profound four-part transformation
Published by Agronomy for Sustainable Development Journal,
This paper is calling on the need for a transformation of food systems in order to achieve the SDGs and the Paris Agreement. This transformation is needed to deliver multiple and simultaneous social, economic, and environmental outcomes, including poverty eradication and mitigation and adaptation to climate change. »
Multi-stakeholder partnerships to finance and improve food security and nutrition in the framework of the 2030 Agenda
Published by High Level Panel of Experts on Food and Nutrition Security,
This report clarifies the concepts of multi-stakeholder partnerships (MSPs) and identifies the challenges. The primary benefit of MSPs is the mobilization and coordinated use of complementary resources. A major challenge is the tensions that can appear among partners in an MSP. »
Innovation platforms in agricultural research for development
Published by Experimental Agriculture Journal,
This article describes when and for what purpose innovation platforms provide an appropriate mechanism for achieving development outcomes, and what kinds of resource investments and enabling environments are required. The study provides a decision support tool for research, development and funding agencies. »
Partnering for value: Lessons from Public Private Producer Partnerships (4Ps) in practice
Published by SNV,
This paper outlines factors that are important for successful Public Private Producer Partnerships (4Ps) business cases. A major conclusion is that there is a sound basis for the role of 4Ps in rural development. Long-term 4Ps can contribute to development of agricultural value chains. »
Innovations in food systems: The key to human and planetary health
Published by GlobalDev,
This blog argues that innovations in technologies, policies, and institutions will be critical in reshaping food systems for nutrition, health, inclusion and sustainability. Global cooperation is key to ensuring that innovations in food systems are widely disseminated and contribute positively to global development. »
Relevance of informal institutions for achieving sustainable crop intensification in Uganda
Published by Food Security Journal,
This paper analyzes the influence of informal institutions on farmers’ access to land resources, financial resources, and farm inputs to achieve Sustainable Crop Intensification (SCI). Results indicate that informal institutions play a central role in enhancing farmers’ investment in SCI interventions. »
Scaling up innovations through adaptive research: An institutional analysis and lessons from farm science centers in India
Published by IFPRI,
This discussion paper presents a case study and lessons learned from an attempt to scale up a set of aquaculture innovations through adaptive research trials involving small-scale fish farmers in Odisha, India. »
Food and agricultural innovation pathways for prosperity
Published by Agricultural Systems Journal,
This paper characterizes concisely the vast inter-related literature on agriculture research for development context, mechanisms, and impacts as a framework and foundation for the expert assessments of specific mechanisms. »
How does institutional embeddedness shape innovation platforms? A diagnostic study of three districts in the Upper West Region of Ghana
Published by NJAS - Wageningen Journal of Life Sciences,
This article examines the factors that enhance and constrain innovation platforms' functionality by applying the concept of institutional embeddedness. Innovation platforms have emerged as a way of enhancing the resilience of agricultural and food systems in the face of environmental change. »
Value chain innovations for technology transfer in developing and emerging economies: Conceptual issues, typology, and policy implications
Published by journal Food Policy,
This article addresses the question how value chain organization and innovations can have an important impact on modern technology adoption. The adoption of modern technologies in agriculture is crucial for improving productivity of poor farmers and poverty reduction. »
Societal effects of food: An exploration of a new methodology
Published by Wageningen Economic Research, True Price,
This publication discusses a method to map the societal effects of food production and consumption and the relative size of those effects. It uses six capital categories: financial, manufactured, intellectual, human, natural and social and relationship capital, which are subdivided to cover all relevant societal effects of food. »
The European Union, agriculture, and the tropics: Public financial incentives to enhance food security and expansion of production contracts
Published by journal Tropical Conservation Science,
This article frames two rapidly moving issues in the EU's multifaceted relationship with agriculture in the tropics: 1) use of the public development funds to drive agricultural productivity and market access and 2) the adoption of private production contracts for sourcing products destined for EU markets. »
External influences on agro-enterprise innovation platforms in Benin, Ghana and Mali: Options for effective responses
Published by journal Cahiers Agricultures,
This article discusses external influences on innovation platforms and the options for effective responses. The platforms examined in this paper were conceived as vehicles for facilitating institutional change in support of innovation that benefits smallholders, in selected agro-enterprise domains in Benin, Ghana and Mali. »
Voluntary standards and institutional innovations – the right path to sustainable and inclusive food systems?
Published by ECDPM,
This article reflects upon efforts to link sustainable production with responsible consumption both within global value chains and within domestic markets in developing countries. In order to transform current food systems into sustainable food systems, a number of changes must occur. »
Do theories of change enable innovation platforms and partnerships to navigate towards impact?
Published by KIT,
This working paper examines how theories of change (ToCs) have enabled practitioners to navigate towards impact in settings characterized by a multiplicity of views from different actors on issues of joint concern. ToCs are increasingly used to articulate pathways for interventions and to support learning. »
Bringing farmers into the game: Strengthening farmers’ role in the innovation process through a simulation game
Published by Agricultural Systems Journal,
This article in the discusses the participation of farmers in knowledge co-production within multi-stakeholder settings. While farmers are recognized as equally weighing sources of innovation in the Agricultural Innovation Systems (AIS) framework, their participation in knowledge co-production within multi-stakeholder settings such as innovation platforms is still often limited. »
Systems analysis in Agricultural Innovation Systems (AIS): potentials and pitfalls
Published by KIT,
This working paper provides examples of 'systems analysis'; describing the context, what was done, and how the outcomes informed broader research and development activities. Agricultural innovation systems (AIS) are complex, multi-layered, and can be difficult to define and analyse. »
Feeding Dar es Salaam: A symbiotic food system perspective
Published by WUR,
This dissertation is a sociological analysis of the agri-food system of Dar es Salaam in Tanzania, that feeds most of the over four and a half million residents of this fast-growing city. It is based on qualitative research that has generated a picture of the food system that supplies the important foods for the majority of residents of the city. »
Public-public development cooperation
Published by PBL,
This report explores the potential added value of public-public cooperation between Dutch sub-national actors and their Sub-Saharan African counterparts. Over the past years, development cooperation policy in the Netherlands has become increasingly oriented towards facilitating private sector development and public-private partnerships (PPPs). As opposed to PPPs, decentralized public development cooperation has received relatively little attention. »
Guidelines for innovation platforms in agricultural research for development
Published by IITA, WUR, CGIAR-RTB,
This publication provides guidelines for creating successful innovation platforms in agricultural research for development (AR4D). Innovation Platforms are an increasingly popular approach to enhancing multi-stakeholder collaboration in AR4D programmes. »
The political economy of cardamom farming in eastern Nepal: Crop disease, coping strategies, and institutional innovation
Published by SAGE Open Journal,
This article investigated the impact of crop disease on cardamom farmers’ livelihoods, as well as both individual and institutional efforts to combat the disease in Nepal. During a crisis, farmers expect government institutions to help, especially when customary practices have not solved the problem. »
Compositional dynamics of multilevel innovation platforms in agricultural research for development
Published by Science and Public Policy Journal,
Innovation platforms (IPs) form a popular vehicle in agricultural research for development (AR4D) to facilitate stakeholder interaction, agenda setting, and collective action toward sustainable agricultural development. This article in the Science and Public Policy Journal, aims to systematically research the dynamics of stakeholder composition throughout IPs and tries to analyze how seven ‘key functions’ of the innovation process are fulfilled. »
Making the case for institutional demand: Supporting smallholders through procurement and food assistance programmes
Published by Global Food Security Journal,
This paper focuses on the rationale for supporting market interventions for smallholders through what the authors call Institutional Demand. Institutional Demand consists of different interventions that target procurement from smallholder farmers and distribute their surplus to vulnerable populations. This policy intervention links the goals of both agricultural development and social protection through three key areas: price stabilization; income generation and; food security. »
Solving ‘wicked’ problems: Can social learning catalyse adaptive responses to climate change?
Published by IIED,
Social learning approaches can catalyse knowledge co-creation and action, so have the potential to help solve complex ‘wicked’ problems such as climate change and food insecurity. This working paper by the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED) synthesises evidence from five diverse initiatives employing social learning approaches in response to such problems using the Climate Change and Social Learning initiative’s monitoring and evaluation framework. »
Agricultural research organisations’ role in the emergence of agricultural innovation systems
Published by CIMMYT,
This paper by CIMMYT argues that successful agricultural interventions require social shifts, not just technological. Traditionally, agricultural research organizations measured impact by the number of technologies developed, with less attention given to whether or not these technologies were adopted by farmers and the impact they had in communities. Currently, research and extension approaches based on agricultural innovation systems are becoming more popular. »
Sustainable intensification in smallholder agriculture: An integrated systems research approach
Published by Routledge,
This book on Routledge by Ingrid Oborn, Bernard Vanlauwe, Michael Phillips, Richard Thomas, Willemien Brooijmans and Kwesi Atta-Krah, describes different aspects of systems research in agriculture in its broadest sense, where the focus is moved from farming systems to livelihoods systems and institutional innovation. Much of the work represents outputs of three CGIAR Research Programs on Integrated Systems for the Humid Tropics, Aquatic Agricultural Systems and Dryland Systems. »
Social network analysis of multi-stakeholder platforms in agricultural research for development: Opportunities and constraints for innovation and scaling
Published by PLOS ONE,
This article in PLOS ONE, analyses the role of multi-stakeholder platforms (MSPs) for agricultural innovation and scaling. Multi-stakeholder platforms (MSPs) are seen as a promising vehicle to achieve agricultural development impacts. By increasing collaboration, exchange of knowledge and influence mediation among farmers, researchers and other stakeholders, MSPs supposedly enhance their ‘capacity to innovate’ and contribute to the ‘scaling of innovations’. »
Improving the resilience of agricultural systems through innovation platforms: creating space for farmer participation in research
Published by Ghana Journal of Science, Technology and Development,
This article in the Ghana Journal of Science, Technology and Development, highlights the role of innovation platforms for resilience thinking. In this paper, the concept of resilience is approached from the perspective of socio-ecological systems dynamics. In particular, the study examined the contribution of farmers to research towards enhanced resilience of traditional African vegetable production systems in northern Ghana. An Innovation Platform was set up as a ‘knowledge space’ that provided an enabling environment for the interaction between farmers’ indigenous and researchers’ scientific knowledge in agricultural research. »
Innovation systems: Towards effective strategies in support of smallholder farmers
Published by CTA,
This book 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. The lessons learned can be useful in guiding the design, implementation and evaluation of future policies, programmes and research on agricultural innovation systems. »
New horizons for the transitioning of our food system: connecting ecosystems, value chains and consumers
Published by NewForesight & Commonland,
This report by NewForesight and Commonland presents the complex challenges we face in our current food system, and highlights opportunities to forge a path towards a more sustainable future. The authors sketch an initial outline of holistic approaches that offer long term solutions while capturing net positive business opportunities with multiple returns. The main aim of this paper is to trigger decision makers in business, government, and society to form coalitions, apply such holistic approaches and drive systemic change in our food systems at scale using an ecosystem approach. »
Transformation in governance towards resilient food systems
Published by CCAFS,
This research paper by CCAFS is the result of a joint effort among a small group of researchers to identify pathways for transformation towards sustainable food systems, which are resilient towards shocks and towards climate change in particular. Using empirical studies, both transformations in governance systems and governance of transformations were investigated. »
Towards a shared vision: action plans for adapted advisory services in West Africa’s rice irrigation schemes
Published by IIED,
This briefing by the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED) highlights how farmer organisations and government agencies managing large scale irrigation systems in West Africa need to collaborate to agree on a vision for agricultural services that increases scheme viability while meeting the needs of different types of farmers. »
Can sub-Saharan Africa feed itself?
Published by PNAS Journal,
This article, published by the PNAS Journal, presents a study that provides insight about the challenge in meeting the projected tripled cereal demand by 2050 due to expected population growth and modest changes in diets in 10 SSA countries, through scenarios of yield gap closure. Recent studies indicate that the global increase in food demand by 2050 can be met through closing the gap between current farm yield and yield potential on existing cropland. Here, however, we estimate it will not be feasible to meet future SSA cereal demand on existing production area by yield gap closure alone. »
Family farming in sub-Saharan Africa: its contribution to agriculture, food security and rural development
Published by IPC,
This paper elaborates on the strategic role of family farms to accelerate agricultural transformation towards achieving food security and nutrition, as well as sustainable and inclusive rural development. Considering that 75% of the SSA population is involved directly or indirectly in farming and related employment, the strategic role of family farms in such a transformation is increasingly being recognized by key actors. »
Changing agro-food systems: The impact of big agro-investors on food rights
Published by PLAAS ,
This book presents case studies on changing agro-food systems in Southern Africa within the context of large-scale land-based and agri-business investments. By capturing the testimonies of local people in rural settings, with a particular focus on small-scale farmers, it aims to provide vivid accounts of the micro-level changes underway in agro-food systems in Southern Africa, and to reflect the experiences and perspectives of local people. »
Recent trends in the global governance of food and nutrition security: Policy implications for the EU
Published by IDDRI,
The paper examines the complexity and fragmentation of the governance regime for FNS and the policy implications for the European Union and the UN Committee on World Food Security (CFS). It shows that the current governance regime is still highly fragmented and tends to privilege the best resourced actors and specific (political) approaches to FNS, and hence, risks impairing the input legitimacy of governance. The fragmentation is mainly linked to the existence of two types of arenas: multilateral ones and multistakeholder ones. »
The effect of education on household food security in two informal urban settlements in Kenya: a longitudinal analysis
Published by Food Security journal,
This article, published in the Food Security journal, investigates the effect of household education attainment on food security among poor urban households, using longitudinal data collected between 2007 and 2012 in Kenya. Poverty and food insecurity continue to feature prominently in the global agenda, with particularly close attention being paid to the determinants of food insecurity. However, the effect of education is mixed and remains understudied in low income countries. »
Innovative markets for sustainable agriculture: How innovations in market institutions encourage sustainable agriculture in developing countries
Published by FAO, INRA,
The FAO and the INRA undertook a survey of innovative approaches that enable markets to act as incentives in the transition towards sustainable agriculture in developing countries.15 cases from around the world provide insights into how small-scale initiatives that use sustainable production practices are supported by market demand, and create innovations in the institutions that govern sustainable practices and market exchanges. The study concludes with four results on how market based solutions can help with the transition towards sustainable agriculture. »
Quality and innovation in food chains
Published by Wageningen Academic,
This book, published by Wageningen Academic, presents a set of case studies on food quality improvement and innovation in food chains, with cases from South Africa, Ethiopia, Benin, Uganda and Senegal. This publication shows how a co-innovation perspective can be developed and applied. Co-innovation entails the combination of technical, organisational and institutional changes, the involvement of various chain actors, and the introduction of complementary innovations at different levels of the food chain. »
Africa Agriculture Status Report 2016
Published by AGRA,
This report by AGRA is the fourth volume of the Africa Agriculture Status Report series focusing on, “Progress towards African Agricultural Transformation”. The series has the objective of producing an in-depth and comprehensive analysis of emerging issues and challenges being faced by Africa’s smallholder farmers. The 2016 Report has tracked the progress made in the last decade with the MDGs and the Maputo Declaration as critical benchmarks, through to the current status, considering the Malabo Declaration and the projection and trajectory towards 2030 in line with the SDGs. »
GODAN Success stories issue 1
Published by GODAN,
Global Open Data for Agriculture & Nutrition (GODAN), published its first issue of the Success Stories brochure (PDF). In this issue, fifteen success stories are shared on the use of open data for agriculture and nutrition. GODAN supports the proactive sharing of open data to make information about agriculture and nutrition available, accessible and usable to deal with the urgent challenge of ensuring world food security. »
From uniformity to diversity: A paradigm shift from industrial agriculture to diversified agroecological systems.
Published by IPES-Food,
This report by IPES-Food is about the changes that the agricultural sector should make to move towards a diversified agroecological system. This should stop the negative climate effects of the current industrial agriculture system. Input-intensive crop monocultures and industrial-scale feedlots are now dominate farming landscapes. The uniformity at the heart of these systems leads systematically to negative outcomes and vulnerabilities. »
Food security, food systems, and environmental change
Published by Solutions,
In this article in Solutions it is argued that with limited global resources, and in the face of environmental changes, meeting future food security challenges will first require a shift in thinking from just ‘producing food’ (and other sectoral interests) to ‘food systems.’ Future solutions should aim to find synergies between climate mitigation and adaptation and between health and environmental goals, with inevitable trade-offs that will need careful management. »
Sustainable intensification of agricultural systems in the Central African Highlands: The need for institutional innovation
Published by Agricultural Systems Journal,
This study in the Agricultural Systems Journal identifies entry points for innovation for sustainable intensification of agricultural systems. An agricultural innovation systems approach is used to provide a holistic image of (relations between) constraints faced by different stakeholder groups, the dimensions and causes of these constraints, and intervention levels, timeframes and types of innovations needed. The data shows that constraints for sustainable intensification of agricultural systems are mainly of economic and institutional nature. »
Shrimp, prawn and the political economy of social wellbeing in rural Bangladesh
Published by Journal of Rural Studies,
This paper in the Journal of Rural Studies operationalizes the concept of social wellbeing (comprised of interlinked material, subjective and relational dimensions) as a framework for understanding the effects of agrarian change, as experienced by inhabitants of two villages in rural Southwest Bangladesh. Production of two ostensibly similar high value export crops (tiger shrimp and freshwater prawn) resulted in radically different trajectories of agrarian change and social wellbeing outcomes in the two villages. »
A new politics of development cooperation? Chinese and Brazilian engagements in African agriculture
Published by World Development Journal,
This paper in the World Development Journal, introduces a Special Section on Chinese and Brazilian engagements in African agriculture. The paper asks if a new paradigm for development cooperation is emerging, and argues that we must move beyond the simplistic narratives of either “South–South” collaboration or “neo-imperial” expansion of “rising powers” to look at the dynamic and contested politics of engagement, as new forms of capital and technology enter African contexts. »
A case study of health and agriculture social enterprises in Kenya
Published by Overseas Development Institute,
This case study reviewed social enterprises (SEs) operating in the agriculture and health sectors in Kenya to examine how the lack of a widely-accepted social enterprise definition influences activity in Kenya, identify niches within which agriculture and health sector social enterprises are operating and summarise key findings from discussions with key informants. Social enterprise in Kenya is a dynamic space at the moment, but that there is a lack of common terminology and understanding of how SEs fit into wider sectoral contexts. »
Multifunctionality and agrarian transition in alternative agro-food production in the global South: The case of organic shrimp certification in the Mekong Delta, Vietnam
Published by Wiley Online Library,
Using concepts of multifunctionality and agrarian change, this paper examines the implications of introducing an international environmental certification programme to a site where the ‘peasantry’ has been preserved and has limited integration in the global agro-food system. Drawing on a case study that examines the first certified organic shrimp production project in Vietnam, this paper concludes that the current movement towards post-productivism in the global North has potential to keep local farming practices in the global South by justifying the value of peasant-like production methods through international certification. »
Cooperatives, economic democratization and rural development
Published by Edward Elgar Publishing,
Agricultural cooperatives and producer organizations are institutional innovations which have the potential to reduce poverty and improve food security. This book presents a raft of international case studies, from developing and transition countries, to analyse the internal and external challenges that these complex organizations face and the solutions that they have developed. »
Unleashing rural economies
Published by The Economist Intelligence Unit,
This publication by the The Economist Intelligence Unit, highlights the overlooked value of rural economies for food security and poverty reduction. The authors state that rural economic development holds the key to ensuring that the nutritional needs of a growing global population are met, and poverty in rural areas is eased, narrowing the gaps between rural and urban populations. The focus of this research project is a better understanding of the macro- and microeconomic conditions that would enable rural economies to deliver a more significant contribution to economic growth. »
Local food for global future : Classification, governance and knowledge for sustainable food security
Published by Scholar's Press,
Starting from recently published articles and new research this book presents a structured approach, which offers opportunities and challenges for local and regional food systems, that we see re-emerging globally. Based on a new classification of local food systems the book goes into adequate governance structures. This is demonstrated by a number of examples chosen from all over the world. »
Food Wars: The global battle for mouths, minds and markets, 2nd edition
Published by Routledge,
A new edition of Food wars, a book written by Tim Lang and Michael Heasman, was published by Routledge. Food wars can be understood as a war declaration against nowadays food-world. This new edition brings new developments since the first edition fully up to date within the original analytical framework of competing paradigms or worldviews shaping the direction and decision-making within food politics and policy. »
The New Harvest: Agricultural Innovation in Africa
Published by Oxford University Press,
The New Harvest argues that Africa can feed itself in a generation and help contribute to global food security despite its history of persistent food shortages and the rising threat of climate change. To achieve this, the continent must harness scientific and technological advances, invest in infrastructure, foster higher technical training, and create regional markets. It must also produce a new crop of entrepreneurial leaders dedicated to the continent's economic improvement. »
Innovation platforms: expriences with their institutional embedding in agricultural research for development
Published by Experimental Agriculture Journal,
This article in the Experimental Agriculture Journal highlights 'Innovation Platforms' (IPs) as a promising vehicle to foster a paradigm shift in agricultural research for development (AR4D). By facilitating interaction, negotiation and collective action between farmers, researchers and other stakeholders, IPs can contribute to more integrated, systemic innovation that is essential for achieving agricultural development impacts. However, successful implementation of IPs requires institutional change within AR4D establishments. The objective of this paper is to reflect on the implementation and institutionalisation of IPs in present AR4D programmes. »
Transforming a broken food system: an interview with Raj Patel
Published by Fairfood International,
In its ‘Social justice in the food sector’ series, Fairfood International is interviewing experts on their views on how to create fair and sustainable food supply chains. Raj Patel is an award-winning British academic, journalist, activist and writer. In this interview with Fairfood’s Richard Glass, he shares his view on corporate control of the food system and the systemic change needed to create a fairer future. »
Social protection and agriculture: breaking the cycle of rural poverty
Published by FAO,
This edition of FAO's "The State of Food and Agriculture 2015" (PDF) makes the case that social protection measures will help break the cycle of rural poverty and vulnerability, when combined with broader agricultural and rural development measures. The report finds that in poor countries, social protection schemes - such as cash transfers, school feeding and public works - offer an economical way to provide vulnerable people with opportunities to move out of extreme poverty and hunger and to improve their children's health, education and life chances. »
Ending rural hunger: Mapping needs and actions for food and nutrition security
Published by Brookings Institution,
This report "Ending Rural Hunger: Mapping Needs and Actions for Food and Nutrition Security" (PDF) argues that a new approach is needed to achieve Global Goal 2: Zero Hunger: the international community must shift from a pattern of erratic political attention and inadequate measurement of the underlying issues to a sustained, strategic, and evidence-based commitment to food and nutrition security (FNS). This implies systematic and quantitative review of how well individual countries are doing in FNS, the strategies being undertaken, and the investments being made, especially in the developing world. »
The role of knowledge in building food security resilience across food system domains
Published by Journal of Environmental Studies and Sciences,
This paper in the Journal of Environmental Studies and Sciences compares knowledge generation, transmission, access, and use in four food system domains (global industrial, independent commercial, local and sustainable, and fair trade) discriminated on dimensions of globalization and multifunctionality. The objective of these comparisons is to understand connections among the resilience of food systems, food security, and knowledge systems... »
Global or local food chains? Uncovering the dilemmas in Senegal and Peru
Published by IIED,
This paper (PDF) by the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED), examines whether local or global food chains are better at delivering food security and safety, decent employment, protecting the environment and contributing to economic growth. Using case studies from Senegal and Peru, the authors show a new and complex reality that challenges ideological views about re-localising food production and consumption. It points to the dilemmas but also to the potential and limits of national policies and food chain practices in a context of market globalisation. »
Rural and agricultural mechanization
Published by IFPRI,
The past 50 years witnessed a remarkable spread of smaller-scale rural mechanization in some regions of South Asia, mostly characterized by the spread of single-cylinder diesel engines. Despite the evidence, international and local policy debates do not reflect the significance of these patterns of rural mechanization for agricultural and rural development. This paper by IFPRI starts with a discussion of three main generalizations arising from the spread of smaller-scale technology. »
Transforming Africa’s agriculture for sustainable inclusive growth, improved livelihoods and shared prosperity.
Published by AGRA,
This Background Note by AGRA was intended for the High-Level Side Event on African Economic Transformation held in the margins of the Third International Conference on Financing for Development, 13-16 July, Addis Ababa Ethiopia. It highlights potentials and challenges for transformation of African agriculture for sustainable growth. »
Farmers’ strategies as building block for rethinking sustainable intensification
Published by Agriculture and Human Values,
Agricultural intensification, now commonly referred to as sustainable intensification, is presented in development discourse as a key means to simultaneously improve food security and reduce rural poverty without harming the environment. Taking a village in Laos as a case study, we show how government agencies and farmers could perceive the idea of agricultural intensification differently. »
Africa-EU research collaboration on food security: A Critical Analysis of the Scope, Coordination and Uptake of Findings
Published by CAAST-NET Plus,
This report (PDF) by CAAST-NET Plus presents the key findings from an analysis of research cooperation between Europe and sub-Saharan Africa. Two issues were investigated: first, the extent to which joint EU-SSA research cooperation has impacted on Africa-EU joint FNS priorities; and, second, the extent to which research outputs have been used in policy-making and... »
Catalysing innovation: from theory to action
Published by KIT,
This paper (PDF) by KIT looks at the process of agricultural innovation and the realistic contribution agricultural research can make. To be able to analyse the process of agricultural innovation, three elements are distinguished: 1) opportunity assessment to identify ‘entry points for change’; 2) experimentation, leading to ‘tested and tried promising new practices’; and 3) »
Changing the food game: Market transformation strategies for sustainable agriculture
Published by Lucas Simons,
In his book “Changing the Food Game”, author Lucas Simons argues that the challenge of feeding the world’s population can only be solved by effective market transformation to achieve sustainable agriculture and food production. In the first part of the book, Simons explains about system dynamics and system failures. Lucas Simons explains clearly how we... »
Challenging food governance models: Analyzing the food citizen and the emerging food constitutionalism from an EU perspective
Published by Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics,
The analysis presented in this paper (PDF) in the Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics, reflects specifically on those proposals based on a common aspect: the need to transform the governance of the EU present-day food system, that is, who makes decisions, how are those decisions made, and which changes need to be made to empower food consumers. The introduction of reforms to change these models is proposed. »
The New Science of Sustainable Food Systems: Overcoming Barriers to Food Systems Reform
Published by IPES-Food,
The report of IPES-Food, entitled The New Science of Sustainable Food Systems: Overcoming Barriers to Food Systems Reform (PDF), makes the case for reaching beyond the traditional bounds of the scientific community in conducting this analysis. According to the authors, to accelerate the shift towards sustainable food systems, a new science of sustainable food systems is needed. »
Food Security Governance Empowering Communities, Regulating Corporations
Published by GPF,
This book by Nora McKeon explores the global food governance at a crossroads. It proceeds to explain how actors link up in corporate global food chains and in the local food systems that feed most of the world’s population. It unpacks relevant paradigms – from productivism to food sovereignty – and highlights the significance of adopting a rights-based approach to solving food problems. »
Stuck on the road to the market: Why Kenya suffers from stunted innovations
Published by Scinnovent,
This discussion paper (PDF) by Scinnovent Centre, sought to interrogate the challenges facing innovators in Kenya with a view to making recommendations to the various actors within the national innovation system on the various kinds of support required to ensure Kenyan innovators meet their full potential. A research survey was conducted to capture views on... »
Sustainable sector transformation: How to drive sustainability performance in smallholder-dominated agricultural sectors?
Published by Aidenvironment, NewForesight & IIED,
This paper by Aidenvironment, NewForesight and IIED presents a sustainable sector transformation model for smallholder dominated agricultural commodity sectors which takes a holistic approach to transformation. It begins with an explanation of some of the dynamics of sector transformation. It then presents the limits of purely public or market-driven models, before finally presenting the five building blocks that make up the model. »
Global food security governance: Civil society engagement in the reformed Committee on World Food Security
Published by Routledge Studies in Food, Society and the Environment,
Drawing on data collected from policy documents, interviews and participant observation, this book by Jessica Duncan examines the re-organization and functioning of a UN Committee that is coming to be known as a best practice in global governance. Framed by key challenges that plague global governance, the impact and implication of increased civil society engagement are examined by tracing policy negotiations within the CFS, in particular, policy roundtables on smallholder sensitive investment and food price volatility and negotiations on the Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries and Forests in the Context of National Food Security, and the Global Strategic Framework for Food Security and Nutrition. »
Making Agricultural Innovation Systems (AIS) work for development in tropical countries
Published by MDPI Sustainability,
This paper (PDF) in Sustainability aims to identify gaps in current capacities and the development needs as perceived by stakeholders involved in national and regional Agricultural Innovation Systems (AIS). Three regional needs assessments undertaken by Tropical Agricultural Platform (TAP) and its partners. The surveyed tropical regions were Southeast Asia, Sub-Saharan Africa and Central America. The... »
The need for institutional change in capacity development of tertiary agricultural education organisations
Published by KIT, ICRA & CDI,
This publication (PDF) by KIT, ICRA and the Centre for Development Innovation (CDI), argues that Dutch-funded capacity development projects in developing countries for tertiary agricultural education organisations as they are currently carried out are not able to successfully achieve the sustained changes required. The authors suggest that long-term institutional change is needed. The report specifically... »
Institutional change towards sustainable agriculture in West Africa
Published by International Journal of Agricultural Sustainability,
This paper in the International Journal of Agricultural Sustainability describes why inter- and trans-disciplinary research, accompanied by innovation platforms, is essential in the context of agricultural development in West Africa. The authors argue that an enabling institutional context is necessary to achieve an increase in agricultural production. This will have consequences for setting priorities of... »
Innovating organizational systems of agricultural extension in China
Published by International Journal of Agricultural Extension,
This paper comprehensively examines the organizational systems of agricultural extension in China. The organizations of agricultural extension in China have been gradually diversified over 30 years’ reform and adjustment. Suggestions on how to optimize the internal organizational structures, how to encourage the interaction and coordination among different types of organizations, and how to coordinate the relationships between organizations and external environment are proposed. »
Developing sustainable food value chains. Guiding principles
Published by FAO,
Aimed at policy-makers, project designers and field practitioners, this publication (PDF) by FAO provides the conceptual foundation for a new set of FAO handbooks on sustainable food value chain development. It defines the concept of a sustainable food value chain, presents a development paradigm that integrates the multidimensional concepts of sustainability and value added, highlights ten guiding principles, and discusses the potential and limitations of the approach. »
Netherlands Food Partnership

The F&BKP is continuing in Netherlands Food Partnership: find more knowledge & expertise at the NFP website.