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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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

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Credit: Panos / Robin Hammond

Narratives of Scarcity: Framing the Global Land Rush

Geoforum 2018 (2018)

Global resource scarcity has become a central policy concern, with predictions of rising populations, natural resource depletion and hunger. The narratives of scarcity that arise as a result justify actions to harness resources considered ‘underutilised’, leading to contestations over rights and entitlements and producing new scarcities. More details

Contract Farming for Improving Smallholder Incomes: What Can We Learn from Effectiveness Studies?

World Development 104 (2018)

Contract farming is a sales arrangement between a farmer and a firm, agreed before production begins, which provides the farmer with resources or services. Many governments and donors promote contract farming as part of agricultural development policies. However, there is serious concern whether smaller farmers can benefit from these arrangements. More details

Non-IDS publication

Farmers’ Agency and Experiences of Agricultural Change in Rural Kenya: Insights from Exploratory Fieldwork

STEPS Working Papers 102 (2018)

Using novel agricultural technologies to boost farm productivity in the face of climatic and demographic disruption remains a priority for African policy and research. This paper uses an innovative, participatory and ethnographic methodology to explore, through farmers’ experiences, the historical pathways of social, ecological and technical (socio-eco-technical) change that have reshaped agriculture More details

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The Role of Land Property Rights in the War on Illicit Crops: Evidence from Colombia

World Development 103 (2018)

This paper examines the effect of the formalisation of land property rights in the war against illicit crops, using the case of Colombia. More details

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Inclusive Structural Change: Case Studies on Innovations in Breeding Practices in Kenya and Anti-Retroviral Therapy Service Provision in Mozambique

IDS Working Paper 505 (2018)

Innovation, accompanied by structural change, is at the heart of economic growth and development. Yet there is limited evidence to understand interactions between innovation, structural change and inclusion in the context of low-income and emerging countries, or how these processes best support sustainable and inclusive societies. More details

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Addressing Climate Change Uncertainty in Dryland Kachchh, India

IDS Policy Briefing 147 (2018)

The semi-arid district of Kachchh in Gujarat, India is known for its erratic rainfall, water scarcity, and droughts. Climate change has intensified extreme temperature and rainfall patterns and also led to changes to the long coastline. More details

Teaser image for Governing Food And Agriculture In A Warming World

Governing Food And Agriculture In A Warming World

Global Environmental Politics 18.2 (2018)

Understanding how, why, and whether the trade-offs and tensions around simultaneous implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals are resolved both sustainably and equitably requires an appreciation of power relations across multiple scales of governance. More details

Inception Report: External evaluation of mobile phone technology-based nutrition and agriculture advisory services in Africa and South Asia

The GSM Association (GSMA), working with a wide range of mobile network operators and civil society organisations, is launching a series of nutrition-focused m-health and m-agriculture initiatives in South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa. GSMA refers to nutrition-enhanced initiatives collectively as ‘m-nutrition’. This report summarises the plans for an impact evaluation of two of these nutrition-enhanced initiatives: mHealth in Tanzania and mAgri in Ghana. More details

IDS publications on international development research

Do Trees on Farms Matter in African Agriculture

World Bank (2018)

This study highlights the prevalence and importance of trees in African agriculture. Trees on farms provide a significant source of income for many households across the continent. More details

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Public–Private Cooperation for Secure and Inclusive Rural Economies

IDS Policy Briefing 146 (2017)

How do public–private collaborations enable secure and inclusive rural economies? Alongside private sector investment, government provision of infrastructure, research and extension services and support for farmer organisations remains crucial. More details

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Improving the Impact of Climate Information Services in Kenya’s Arid and Semi-Arid Lands

IDS Policy Briefing 145 (2017)

Climate variability and change are affecting millions of poor people in Kenya, particularly in arid and semi-arid lands. Significant investments are being made in developing Climate Information Services (CIS) which are tailored to the needs of pastoralists and agro-pastoralists and aim to help them adapt to the impact of climate change in these regions. More details

Teaser image for Power in Practice: Insights from Technography and Actor-Network Theory for Agricultural Sustainability

Power in Practice: Insights from Technography and Actor-Network Theory for Agricultural Sustainability

Power and Practice (2017)

In this paper, we use conceptual insights from two distinct traditions within the social studies of science and technology, namely actor-network theory (ANT) and technography, to explore the relationship between power and the reconfiguration of agricultural practices toward sustainability. More details

Valuing Agroecological Farmers: findings from participatory research on alternative economic approaches to support agroecology in the UK

This paper looks at the potential usefulness of triple bottom line accounting, and also explores other approaches, in financial accounting, for ecological and social outcomes and the effects of different farming methods. It then provides details of the presentations given by three witnesses and a summary of the outcomes of the farmer panel deliberation. More details

Using quantitative methods to evaluate mobile phone technology based nutrition and agriculture advisory services in Ghana

This brief focuses on the quantitative impact evaluation in Ghana, led by IFPRI; a key component of the mNutrition impact evaluation. More details

Valuing Agroecological Farmers: What Can We Learn From Alternative Economic Approaches to Ensure the Contribution of Agroecological Farmers is Valued Appropriately? Findings From Participatory Research

This paper looks at the potential usefulness of triple bottom line accounting, and also explores other approaches, in financial accounting, for ecological and social outcomes and the effects of different farming methods. It then provides details of the presentations given by three witnesses and a summary of the outcomes of the farmer panel deliberation. More details

Using quantitative methods to evaluate mobile phone technology based nutrition and agriculture advisory services in Tanzania

This brief focuses on the quantitative component of the impact evaluation of mNutrition in Tanzania, led by IDS, GAMOS and IFPRI. More details

Why Access to Land is Vital for Sustainable, Healthy and Fair Food Systems: Strategies for Increasing Access to Land for Agroecological Farming

In partnership between the Institute of Development Studies and the Land Workers’ Alliance, research has been undertaken to identify strategies for increasing access to land for agroecological production, in order to contribute to a transition towards sustainable – or even regenerative – food systems in the UK. This briefing summarises these strategies. More details

IDS publications on international development research

Youth Savings Groups in Africa: They’re a Family Affair

Enterprise Development and Microfinance (2017)

Based on field work in Tanzania, Zambia, Uganda and Ghana, in the paper we provide new evidence that young people’s engagement with savings groups in Africa is deeply embedded in networks of family and social relations. Savings group members rely on money that is given to them by husbands, boyfriends and parents in order to save, and give some of their shareouts and loans to family and friends. More details

IDS publications on international development research

Public-Private Collaborations: Can they Deliver Secure and Inclusive Rural Economies?

This paper looks at the role of public-private collaborations, specifically public-private partnerships (PPPs), in enabling secure and inclusive rural economies. More details

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