Agriculture

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 Dolf te Lintelo More details

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Photo of John Thompson, a Research Fellow in the IDS Rural Futures research cluster More details

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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

Addressing Synergies and Trade-Offs between Goals for Climate-Resilient Agricultural Systems

What factors lead state and market actors in Africa to commit to implementing more ‘climate smart’ and ‘climate resilient’ agricultural approaches and practices that promoting more sustainable and pro-poor outcomes? This study is examining how different governance systems are handling the complex interface between food, energy, water and climate in pursuit of the SDGs pertaining to these sectors in four countries in Africa. More details

African Farmer Game

African Farmer is a free, open source game that simulates the complex decisions and uncertainties faced by small-scale farmers living in Sub-Saharan Africa. More details

Agricultural Policy Research in Africa (APRA)

Agricultural Policy Research in Africa (APRA) is a five-year, DFID-funded, research programme consortium which aims to produce new evidence and policy insights into different pathways to agricultural commercialisation in Africa and their differential outcomes for local people and economies. More details

Assessing the Impacts of Enhancing Access to Nutritious Foods

The objective of the 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

Challenges and Opportunities for Rural Youth Employment in Sub-Saharan Africa: A Mixed-Methods Study to Inform Policy and Programs

The goal of the Challenges and Opportunities for Rural Youth Employment in Sub-Saharan Africa study is to strengthen and deepen knowledge of: the employment dynamics of rural young people, and the relationships between these dynamics and welfare; and the socially and spatially differentiated perspectives of rural young people on work, employment and livelihoods. Research is taking place in Tanzania, Uganda, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Niger and Burkina Faso. More details

China and Brazil in African Agriculture

The question of how Brazil, China and other 'rising powers' may change African agricultural development is critical and timely. More details

Economy-wide Implications of Agricultural Sector Scenario Projections

The aim of this project is to link the world agricultural model IMPACT housed at IFRI with the global multi-region CGE model GLOBE in order to provide quantitative analyses of the wider implications of agricultural sector scenario projections generated by IMPACT for the rest of the economy, and to enable an assessment of the aggregate welfare effects associated with changes in the agricultural sector that include economy-wide linkage effects. More details

Enhancing Effectiveness of Multi-Stakeholder Platforms in Food and Agriculture

The kind of challenges that the food and agriculture sector is faced with increasingly asks for approaches that can engage effectively with related complexities. Much is invested in multi-stakeholder platforms as they hold a potential for playing an important role in doing so. However, there is a great need to assess their contribution to inclusive and sustainable development, and to assess what makes for effective platforms. More details

Fighting Over Land: Theory and Empirical Evidence from Colombia

The aim of this project is to develop a research agenda on the long-term effect of civil conflict on institutions, particularly on land tenure structure, in Colombia. 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. More details

GM Crops and Indigenous Management Skill

This project examines the effects of GM seeds on the ‘indigenous management skill’ (IMS) that is crucial to the productivity and sustainability of small-scale crop cultivation. More details

GODAN Action - Enabling practical engagement with open data in agriculture and nutrition

GODAN Action brings together agriculture and nutrition specialists and open data experts and will support GODAN in its mission by building people’s capacity to engage with open data More details

Groundwater Futures in Sub-Saharan Africa (GroFutures)

GroFutures is a 4-year interdisciplinary research project aiming to develop the scientific basis and participatory management processes by which groundwater resources can be used sustainably for poverty alleviation 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

Integrated Seed Sector Development in Africa (ISSD-Africa)

The goal of ISSD Africa Programme is to support the development of a market-oriented, pluralistic, vibrant and dynamic seed sector in Africa for providing both female and male smallholder farmers access to quality seed of superior varieties. 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

Matasa Fellows Network

An exciting initiative to support young African scholars engage their research with policy on youth employment in Africa. More details

Policy Instruments and Public-Private Collaborations

The collaboration will assess policy approaches to economic inclusion of highly marginalised populations (displaced, indigenous, Afro-Colombian, extremely poor) in agricultural value chains in Colombia. It will focus on a key policy instrument – public-private partnerships – and on approaches that support stabilisation in post-conflict regions. More details

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IDS publications on international development research

Sustainable forestry in Trinidad? Natural Forest Management in the South-East

In international policy, Trinidad has acquired a reputation for sustainable natural forest management. Definitions, criteria and indicators of sustainability are premised on ecological and social predictability; that forests and people will respond to rational management in rational, predictable and known ways. More details

IDS publications on international development research

Women and Agribusiness: Working Miracles in the Chilean Fruit Sector

Fresh fruit exported from Chile, and many other developing countries, has become commonplace in our supermarkets during the winter months. Employment in this branch of agribusiness is mainly seasonal and employs large numbers of women workers. More details

IDS Working Paper

Agricultural Intensification and Rural Sustainable Livelihoods: A 'Think Piece'

IDS Working Paper 64 (1997)

This paper examines agricultural intensification as a strategy for achieving sustainable livelihoods, comparing evidence from a number of areas that have undergone such a process - in particular, the introduction of Green Revolution methods. More details

Surplus Labour and Productivity in Chinese Agriculture: Evidence from Household Survey Data

IDS Working Paper 43 (1996)

This paper investigates whether the concept of surplus labour adequately characterises the labour conditions facing rural Chinese households, and whether, therefore, it affects household labour allocation decisions. More details

IDS publications on international development research

Living With Uncertainty: New Directions in Pastoral Development in Africa

Recent years have seen a major rethinking of some of the hallowed assumptions of range ecology and range management practice. This book examines the management and policy implications of new ecological thinking for pastoral development in dryland areas, and the consequences of living with uncertainty for many aspects of pastoral management and administration. More details

IDS publications on international development research

Beyond Farmer First: Rural People's Knowledge, Agricultural Research and Extension Practice

This book describes the ideological and political process that is agricultural development. It points towards more practical strategies for developing effective and equitable partnerships between indigenous knowledge systems through adaptive, people-centred, agricultural research and extension, moving from theory to policy and practice. More details

IDS publications on international development research

Range Ecology at Disequilibrium: New Models of Natural Variability and Pastoral Adaptation in African Savannas

This book reviews recent biological research on African rangelands and highlights the management implications for future donor and national government policy. The relationship between livestock numbers and range degradation is debated, and more appropriate techniques for the assessment of rangeland carrying capacity and degradation are proposed. More details