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Agri-food systems in international research for development: Ten theses regarding impact pathways, partnerships, program design, and priority-setting for rural prosperity

Thomas P. Tomich, Preetmoninder Lidder, Jeroen Dijkman, Mariah Coley, Patrick Webb and Maggie Gill

Agricultural Systems, 2019, vol. 172, issue C, 101-109

Abstract: Drawn from numerous sources, including papers in this special issue, this concluding paper synthesizes evidence on the relationship between agricultural research for development and poverty reduction, with particular emphasis on agri-food systems perspectives in shaping programs aimed at rural prosperity. Following our introduction in section 1, we revisit the ex ante set of 18 pathways in section 2 (which were laid out in our introductory paper for this SI), posing some critical questions: Can a manageable set of impact pathways be identified? How are they inter-related? Rather than independent linear pathways, is it better (both conceptually and for clarity of communication) to represent these as impact networks rather than linear pathways? These insights lead to very different and more inclusive partnerships and contain their own implications for program design in section 3. The challenges facing the world today are complex, and no single organization or sector can hope to effectively confront these issues alone. Not only is partnership increasingly seen as a multi-stakeholder phenomenon rather than a bilateral one, but there also is a discernible move towards a network framing (e.g., as “innovation systems” or “boundary spanning”). This change is driven by the progressive inclusion of agricultural research goals as part of the wider development agenda, where complexity and systemic change are central. In turn, this requires more appropriate strategies for knowledge creation, innovation, and partnership. Section 4 presents implications for program design and priority-setting that follow from foregoing insights on the interplay of pathways and partnerships.

Keywords: Agri-food systems; Impact pathways; Innovation systems; Poverty; Partnerships (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2019
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