Agriculture is a key pathway out of poverty. Getting growth moving through different types of agriculture in ways that benefit poor people is a major policy priority. However, while many of the technical problems and solutions are well known, previous efforts have been found wanting.

IDS research aims to revitalise the debate on agriculture. Our focuses are on the politics of policy processes surrounding agricultural development, particularly in Africa. Through context sensitive research in a diversity of settings, we aim to explore new pathways for sustainable agriculture which benefit the poor and marginalised.

Work on agriculture involves a number of IDS teams and is conducted with partners worldwide.

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Photo of Birgit Habermann

Birgit Habermann - DPhil Student

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Photo of Dolf te Lintelo

Dolf te Lintelo - Research Fellow

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Photo of Edoardo Massett

Edoardo Masset - Research Fellow

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Photo of Ian Scoones, Research Fellow in the Knowledge Technology and Society research team

Ian Scoones - Research Fellow

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Photo of Jim Sumberg, Research Fellow with the Knowledge Technology and Society Team

Jim Sumberg - Research Fellow

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Photo of John Thompson, a Research Fellow with the Knowledge Technology and Society Team

John Thompson - Research Fellow

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Photo of John Humphrey, IDS Globalisation Team Research Fellow

John Humphrey - Professorial Fellow

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IDS staff or research student

Kerry Preibisch - Visiting Fellow

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Lidia Cabral photo

Lidia Cabral - DPhil candidate

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Photo of Martin Greeley, IDS Research Fellow

Martin Greeley - Research Fellow

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IDS staff or research student

Mateo Mier y Teran - DPhil Student

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Photo of Melissa Leach

Melissa Leach - Research Fellow

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Photo of Michael Loevinsohn, IDS Research Fellow

Michael Loevinsohn - Research Fellow

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Miguel Loureiro photo

Miguel Loureiro - Programme Convenor

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Photo of Nathan Oxley, Communications Assistant, STEPS Centre

Nathan Oxley - Communications Officer

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Photo of Nick Nisbett, IDS Research Fellow in the Vulnerability and Poverty Reduction team

Nicholas Nisbett - Research Fellow

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Oliver Burch - Team Administrative Coordinator

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picture of Rachel Sabates Wheeler

Rachel Sabates-Wheeler - Research Fellow

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Photo of Richard Longhurst, a Research Associate with Vulnerability and Poverty Reduction Team

Richard Longhurst - Research Associate

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Robert Chambers - Research Associate

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Accelerating Progress in Reducing Hunger and Undernutrition

This programme will focus on how agriculture can deliver better nutrition outcomes by developing evidence-based policy options and tools for businesses, governments, NGOs and donors. More details

AgMIP Global Economic Model Intercomparison

The Agricultural Model Intercomparison and Improvement Project (AgMIP) hosted by the Columbia University Earth Institute is a major international effort to assess the state of global agricultural modelling and to understand climate impacts on the agricultural sector. More details

Agricultural Biotechnology & Policy Processes in Developing Countries

Modern agricultural biotechnology has profound implications for global and local agricultural and food systems, and for the livelihoods of farmers in the developed and developing worlds. The actual consequences will depend on the pathways along which the technology is developed and applied in practice. More details

Analysing the Effects from Non Tariff Measures (NTM) in the Global Agri-Food Trade

The project's objective is to collect and analyse new data on non-tariff measures, particularly on governmental standards and regulations that prescribe the conditions for importing agri-food products into the EU market and into the markets of the main competing players. More details

Assessing the Political Feasibility of Policy Reform in the Horn of Africa

The project investigated the ways in which local political organisation, interest group power, and institutional proclivities and capacities shape the reform initiatives that are most likely to be successful. More details

Changing Livelihoods in Darfur Since 2005

Assessing current livelihood strategies and options available to vulnerable communities living in Darfur. More details

Foresight Project Global Food and Farming Futures: Food System Scenarios and Modelling

The Foresight project Global Food and Farming Futures explores the increasing pressures on the global food system between now and 2050. The Report highlights the decisions that policy makers need to take today, and in the years ahead, to ensure that a global population rising to nine billion or more can be fed sustainably and equitably. More details

Framework for Assessing the Impacts of Efforts to Enhance Access to Nutritious Foods

The objective of this research is to develop capacity and an analytical approach for the analysis of value chains-based initiatives aimed at enhancing access and consumption of nutritious foods by the poor and to use this learning to develop research proposals on leveraging value chains for nutrition. More details

Future Agricultures Consortium

The DFID funded Future Agricultures Consortium is an Africa-based alliance of research organisations seeking to provide timely, high-quality and independent information and advice to improve agricultural policy and practice in Africa. Through a network of over 90 researchers across the region and around the world, we are showing how agricultural policy in Africa can help to reduce poverty and strengthen agricultural growth. More details

Global Value Chains and Standards in Horticulture and Aquaculture

An examination of the policy responses to new challenges for producers of food products in East Africa and South-East Asia. More details

Home Grown School Feeding programme

A new initiative that will support government action to deliver cost effective school feeding programmes sourced from local farmers in sub-Saharan Africa. More details

Impact Evaluation of the PSNP and HAPB 2012

Since 2003, the Government of Ethiopia (GoE) has been implementing a new Food Security Programme (FSP). In 2009, this programme was reviewed and reformulated. More details

Livelihoods After Land Reform

This collaborative project, which involves IDS and is led by the Programme for Land and Agrarian Studies (PLAAS) in South Africa, asks: to what extent is land redistribution in southern Africa achieving poverty reduction and livelihood improvement objectives? More details

Partnering for Better Food

This 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. More details

Political Commitment to Hunger Reduction Index

The HRCI aims to make the extent of political commitment to hunger reduction, among both developing and developed countries, more transparent to all. 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

Resilience, Adaptability, and Transformability of Fishing Communities in the Face of the World Fisheries Crisis

This project is a response to the initial DFID-ESRC 'Resource scarcity, growth, and poverty reduction' call and it is titled "Tangled in their (own) safety-nets?: Resilience, adaptability, and transformability of fishing communities in the face of the World fisheries crisis. More details

Social, Technological and Environmental Pathways to Sustainability (STEPS) Centre

The STEPS Centre is an interdisciplinary global research and policy engagement hub, funded by the Economic and Social Research Council. It aims to develop a new approach to understanding, action and communication on sustainability and development. More details

Veterinary Science, Transboundary Animal Diseases and Markets

Focusing on the case of foot and mouth disease (FMD) in southern Africa – and specifically Botswana, Nambia, South Africa and Zimbabwe – this research is exploring the economic, social and political trade-offs arising from disease control strategies geared towards promoting commercial beef exports and achieving a ‘livestock revolution’. More details

WFP-Ethiopia Meret Impact Evaluation

The World Food Programme (WFP) Ethiopia has requested TANGO and IDS to assess the evaluability of conducting an impact evaluation of the long-standing WFP programme in Ethiopia More details

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This is the cover for IDS Working Paper 439, 'Who Wants to Farm? Youth Aspirations, Opportunities and Rising Food Prices'.

Who Wants to Farm? Youth Aspirations, Opportunities and Rising Food Prices

Who wants to farm? In an era of land grabs and environmental uncertainty, improving smallholder productivity has become a higher priority on the poverty and food security agenda in development, focusing attention on the next generation of farmers. More details

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Is Nutrition Losing Out in African Agricultural Policies? Evidence from Nigeria

Agricultural policies in many African countries focus on industrialising food value chains and substituting domestic products for imported ones. Yet experience in Nigeria shows that, by focusing on staple crops and neglecting vegetables, pulses and animal proteins, these policies are missing opportunities to address micronutrient undernutrition. More details

IDS publications on international development research

Under What Circumstances and Conditions Does Adoption of Technology Result in Increased Agricultural Productivity? A Systematic Review

New technology that enables sustainable and profitable production of food and fibre is critical for both food security and economic development. Whether framed in terms of modernisation, productivity enhancement, poverty reduction, social protection, environmental protection or adaptation to climate change, technical change is at the heart of most agricultural policy, programmes and projects. From More details

IDS publications on international development research

Rural Livelihood Diversification and Adaptation to Climate Change

As the world faces the reality of climate change, the urgent needs of communities vulnerable to the changing climate must be addressed. Communities need support in how to adapt; and this adaptation must be rooted in local realities, though supported at district, regional, national and international levels by policy frameworks, and technical and financial resources. More details

IDS publications on international development research

A State of the Art Review of Agriculture-Nutrition Linkages

This paper explores the latest evidence on the relationships between agriculture and nutrition in food-insecure regions. More details

IDS publications on international development research

The Politics of Reducing Malnutrition: Building Commitment and Accelerating Progress

In the past 5 years, political discourse about the challenge of undernutrition has increased substantially at national and international levels and has led to stated commitments from many national governments, international organisations, and donors. More details

This is the cover to IDS Bulletin 44.4, 'China and Brazil in African Agriculture'

China and Brazil in African Agriculture

This IDS Bulletin examines Brazilian and Chinese agricultural development cooperation in Africa. More details

Logo of the Future Agricultures Consortium

Food Price Volatility and Financial Speculation

Understanding better the relationship between financial markets and food price volatility is the motivation for this paper. More details

IDS publications on international development research

Evidence-based Agricultural Policy in Africa: Critical Reflection on an Emergent Discourse

This paper looks at the challenges of using agricultural statistics as an evidence base for agricultural policy making in Africa. More details

Non-IDS publication

Vulnerability and Adaptation of African rural populations to Climate Change: the Case of Fishers’ Communities in the Central Delta of Niger

In this paper we examine ways Sahelian floodplain fishers have adapted to the strong environmental variations that have affected the region in the last two decades. We analyse their vulnerability and adaptive capacity in the face of expected changes in rainfall combined with the predicted effects of dam construction. More details

This is the image for IDS Bulletin 43.6, 'Young People and Agriculture in Africa'.

Young People and Agriculture in Africa

The articles in this IDS Bulletin are drawn from the conference on 'Young People, Farming and Food' in Accra, Ghana. This conference examined how young people engage with the agri-food sector in Africa and how research findings were being integrated into policy processes. More details

Non-IDS publication

Climate Change Communication and Social Learning - Review and Strategy Development for CCAFS

This working paper offers an overview of current theory and practice on climate change communication and social learning in the global South with a view of informing CCAFS strategy in this area. More details

AllAfrica is a voice of, by and about Africa - aggregating, producing and distributing 2000 news and information items daily from over 130 African news organizations and reporters to an African and global public.

Africa: The Women Who Grow Africa's Food Need a Voice

AllAfrica report from the African Green Revolution Forum (AGRF). More details

IDS publications on international development research

Small Farm Commercialisation in Africa: Reviewing the Issues

Small farmers in Africa have long been engaged with markets. Whenever villages have been connected to urban or overseas markets, smallholders have produced surpluses for them at times prompting remarkable transformations in rural economies. More details

Non-IDS publication

Climate Change and Agricultural Policy Processes in Malawi

This paper explores climate change - agriculture debates in Malawi in view of the increasing interest and funding pledges for the agricultural sector in a changing climate. More details

IDS publications on international development research

Contested Agronomy: Agricultural Research in a Changing World

Over the last 40 years, suggest the editors of Contested agronomy, agricultural research in the developing world has been profoundly influenced by three powerful trends. More details

IDS publications on international development research

Seasonality, Rural Livelihoods and Development

Seasonality is a severe constraint to sustainable rural livelihoods, and a driver of poverty and hunger, particularly in the tropics. Many poor people in developing countries are ill equipped to cope with seasonal variations which can lead to drought or flood and consequences for agriculture, employment, food supply and the spread of disease. More details

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