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 Ayako Ebata, Post Doctoral Researcher, Health and Nutrition research cluster More details

Photo of Dolf te Lintelo More details

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Photo of Ian Scoones, Research Fellow 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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IDS staff or research student 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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What Can Promote Access to Land for Agroecological Farming in the UK? Findings from Participatory Research and Deliberation as part of the Transitions to Agroecological Food Systems Project

Access to land has long been a key barrier to new entrants to farming and has become more difficult in the last decade or so. In order to address these land access challenges, the panel discussed the potentials of both (a) working within the existing system (i.e. navigating existing policies, regulations and institutions), and (b) working to change the system (i.e. revising or introducing new policies, regulations and institutions). More details

ER215_FrontCover

State–Business Relations Beyond Growth: Bringing in Development

IDS Evidence Report 215 (2016)

The signatories of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) have called on a wide range of businesses ‘to apply their creativity and innovation’ to address sustainable development challenges. Yet the role of business in contributing to development depends profoundly on its interaction with the state. This paper asks how states and businesses interact in different contexts to shape development outcomes. More details

IDS publications on international development research

The Futures of Pastoralism in the Horn of Africa: Pathways of Growth and Change

Revue Scientifique et Technique 35.2 (2016)

This paper reviews pastoralism in the Horn of Africa region with reference to the basic socio-economics of pastoralism, and the use of mobile livestock production to generate income and food for human consumption. The paper also examines long-term trends in pastoralist areas which, at first sight, appear to be contradictory. More details

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Dial ‘N’ for Nutrition? A Landscape Analysis of What We Know About m-Nutrition, m-Agriculture and m-Development

IDS Working Paper 481 (2016)

Child undernutrition is one of the most devastating realities in many parts of the world. Globally in 2015, 159 million children below the age of five years were too short for their age (stunted) and 50 million were too thin for their height (wasted). More details

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The Evolution of Collective Land Tenure Regimes in Pastoralist Societies: Lessons from Andean Countries

IDS Working Paper 480 (2016)

Much has been said about the importance of pastoralist livelihoods for the effective and sustainable use of drylands around the world. Yet, pastoralist societies are experiencing more pressures to their way of life than ever before. More details

IDS publications on international development research

Whose Waters? Large-Scale Agricultural Development and Water Grabbing in the Wami-Ruvu River Basin, Tanzania

Water Alternatives 9.3 (2016)

This article asks how IWRM manages the competing interests as well as the diverse priorities of both large and small water users in the midst of foreign direct investment. The article asks whether institutional and capacity weaknesses around IWRM implementation can be exploited by powerful actors that seek to meet their own interests, thus allowing water grabbing to take place. More details

IDS publications on international development research

Special Issue: Flows and Practices: The Politics of Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) in Southern Africa

Water Alternatives 9.3 (2016)

The 14 original articles in this collection explore the on-the-ground complexities of IWRM implementation, interpretations and adaptations. Grounded in social science theory and research, this special issue demonstrates the importance of politics, political economy, history and culture in shaping water management practices and reform. It demonstrates how Africa has clearly been a laboratory for IWRM in the past two decades. More details

Contribution analysis of a Bolivian Innovation Grant Fund: Mixing Methods to Verify Relevance, Efficiency and Effectiveness

Journal of Development Effectiveness 9.1 (2016)

We used contribution analysis to verify the key assumption in the intervention logic of an innovation fund in Bolivia directed to economic farmer organisations to develop value-added activities. More details

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The Political Economy of Sugar in Southern Africa: Introduction

Journal of Southern African Studies (2016)

In this introductory paper we review historic and contemporary development of sugar cane production across the southern Africa. We argue that the region’s sugar industry provides a useful lens through which to understand current dynamics of corporate capital and agricultural production in Africa. More details

IDS publications on international development research

Ghana’s Evolving Protein Economy

Food Security (2016)

This paper provides an initial analysis of Ghana’s protein economy in the light of current debates about nutritional transition and livestock revolution. Ghana’s strong economic growth and reducing levels of poverty make it a particularly interesting case. Protein-rich foods, including fish and livestock products, supply 20–40 % of protein consumed. More details

Non-IDS publication

Karhera: A Photo Book

This book tells the story of Karhera, a village between Delhi and Ghaziabad in India, through photographs, maps and words. More details

This is the front cover to IDS Research Report 82, 'Young People and Agriculture in Africa: A Review of Research Evidence and EU Documentation'.

Young People and Agriculture in Africa: A Review of Research Evidence and EU Documentation

IDS Research Report 82 (2016)

This report presents the results of a desk-based study to assess the available research evidence in relation to African young people’s engagement with agriculture, and to analyse how this evidence is reflected in current European Union (EU) policy and programming in Malawi, Ethiopia and Kenya, three of the 89 countries in which Alliance2015 members work. More details

IDS publications on international development research

A sweet deal? Sugarcane, water and agricultural transformation in Sub-Saharan Africa

Global Environmental Change 39 (2016)

Globally, the area of sugarcane is rising rapidly in response to growing demands for bioethanol and increased sugar demand for human consumption. Despite considerable diversity in production systems and contexts, sugarcane is a particularly “high impact” crop with significant positive and negative environmental and socio-economic impacts. More details

IDS publications on international development research

Brazil’s Tropical Solutions for Africa: Tractors, Matracas and the Politics of ‘Appropriate Technology

The European Journal of Development Research 28.3 (2016)

This article focusses on mechanical farming technology sponsored by Brazil's South-South cooperation in Africa. Tractors and matracas are taken as symbols of different agricultural development pathways promoted by Brazilian players. More details

This is the cover to IDS Research Report 81, 'Patterns of Engagement with Youth Savings Groups: in Four African Countries'.

Patterns of Engagement with Youth Savings Groups in Four African Countries

IDS Research Report 81 (2016)

This report details findings of research undertaken under the Banking on Change Academic Partnership, which was established in 2014 between the Banking on Change (BoC) programme (a partnership of Plan UK, CARE International UK and Barclays Bank) and the Institute of Development Studies (IDS). More details

IDS publications on international development research

Perspectives on Desirable Work: Findings from a Q Study with Students and Parents in Rural Ghana

The European Journal of Development Research (2016)

The perspectives of young people and parents are important to policy that seeks to address youth unemployment in Africa. A systematic understanding of these should help to avoid implementation failure caused by incompatible assumptions or world views, and increase the likelihood that policies promoted by officials will be effective. More details

IDS publications on international development research

Brazil’s Agricultural Politics in Africa: More Food International and the Disputed Meanings of ‘family farming'.

World Development 81 (2016)

Brazil's influence in agricultural development in Africa has become noticeable in recent years. South–South cooperation is one of the instruments for engagement, and affinities between Brazil and African countries are invoked to justify the transfer of technology and public policies. More details

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A New Politics of Development Cooperation? Chinese and Brazilian Engagements in African Agriculture

World Development 81 (2016)

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. More details

Non-IDS publication

Imagining Agricultural Development in South–South Cooperation: The Contestation and Transformation of ProSAVANA

World Development 81 (2016)

ProSAVANA is a joint Japan–Brazil–Mozambique initiative in the savannah zone of Mozambique's Nacala Corridor region that was initially inspired by the Japan–Brazil PRODECER program in Brazil's Cerrado region More details

IDS publications on international development research

Disembedding grain: Golden Rice, the Green Revolution, and heirloom seeds in the Philippines.

Agriculture and Human Values (2016)

"Golden Rice" has played a key role in arguments over genetically modified (GM) crops for many years. It is routinely depicted as a generic GM vitamin tablet in a generic plant bound for the global South. But the release of Golden Rice is on the horizon only in the Philippines, a country with a storied history and complicated present, and contested future for rice production and consumption. More details