Business and Development Centre

Trends in the global business of producing food through agriculture, or 'agri-food' business, have substantial impacts on farmers and workers involved in its production and processing –many of whom are in developing countries. In addition, a number of donors are aiming to connect agriculture to nutrition by making their agricultural projects 'nutrition sensitive' in addition to increasing yields and incomes.

Farmers working for a local agriculture research team plant rice seedlings in a paddy field. Credit: Qilai Shen / Panos

IDS research is exploring the impacts of changes in global agri-food business:

  • Food safety and quality – Businesses face legal requirements to meet ever more stringent public food safety standards and maintain customer confidence at a time when global supply chains are becoming more complex. We are examining how stricter food safety and quality standards, both public and private, have the potential to exclude developing countries from international trade
  • Trade structures – We are looking at value chains for processed agri-food products, and considering whether these provide greater scope to include more small-scale producers.
  • Standards compliance – We are exploring how a global value chain framework can be used to improve capacity-building efforts directed at compliance with food safety and quality standards in international trade.
  • Agriculture and nutrition partnerships – Our Partnering for Better Food project aims to identify and support scalable public-private innovative partnerships in developing countries that bridge the gaps between agriculture and nutrition programmes to improve nutrition for the poor and undernourished.
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IDS Research Fellow Seife Ayele More details

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Stephen Spratt, IDS Research Fellow More details

Pathways to Inclusive Development through Innovation, Technology and Change

Pathways to Inclusive Development through Innovation, Technology and Change is developing a framework to analyse alternative pathways that link different forms of technological innovation, and evaluate resulting structural change and inclusion outcomes in low-income countries. More details

Green Growth Diagnostics for Africa

This project is looking into the heart of the electricity supply crisis in sub-Saharan Africa. More details

Market Based Solutions for the Extreme Poor

Studies have shown that it is often wealthier people in a community who benefit from market approaches to combatting poverty – men more than women, non-disabled more than disabled. So how and to what extent can market-based solutions improve the lives of extremely poor people? More details

Changing Business-State Relations in Development

There is much we still need to learn about the structure and process of business and the state interactions with regards to specific and general development issues. This project therefore aims to assess the state of play in research on state-business relations in developing countries, and outline a research agenda which builds on this foundation towards better understanding of the role of state-business relations in shaping development outcomes, including but also beyond economic growth. More details

BRICS Economic Engagement Footprint Study

This project investigated the nature of economic relations between the BRICS and Africa, in order to quantify the development footprint, focusing on various elements such as trade, investment. finance, ODA and migration. The current phase aims to look at development finance and the role of BRICS development banks. More details

Business from the BRICS

The Rising Powers in International Development Programme is looking at the growing role of business from the BRICS countries in the field of international development cooperation. More details

Market Systems Approaches to Enabling Women's Economic Empowerment through Addressing Unpaid Carework

Market systems programmes are increasingly recognising the important role that women play in market activity and including women’s economic empowerment and gender equality objectives. However, unpaid care work is a significant and regularly overlooked factor which affects women’s economic, political and social activities. More details

Political Economy of Low Carbon Investment in China and India

This project investigates whether and how coalitions of public, private and civic actors influence low carbon investment. More details

Public Private Partnerships (PPPs) in Agriculture: Enabling Factors and Impact on the Rural Poor

This research will identify the key factors driving the effectivness of public-private partnerships (PPPs) at bringing sustained increases in income for smallholder farmers at scale and delivering positive development outcomes across rural communities. More details

Inclusive business in practice

Inclusive business has been recognised as an opportunity to deliver development impacts through innovative approaches to business. IDS has been working on case studies of what this actually means in practice with the Business Innovation Facility (BIF). More details

Success Factors for Lead Firms to Shape Inclusive Procurement

This consultancy examines best practices both operationally and in the literature surrounding business models from the view point of inclusivity of smallholder farmers More details

Who Drives Climate Policies in the Rising Powers?

This project is concerned with the political economy analysis of climate change policies. The central question of the project is who drives/obstructs climate change policies in the rising powers, paying special attention to renewable energy policies. More details

Rent Management: the Heart of Green Industrial Policy

At the heart of green industrial policy is rent management: government creating and withdrawing opportunities for highly profitable investment. This project asks what the key factors are for rent management to succeed. More details

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