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 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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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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View all Research Theme's publications

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IDS publications on international development research

Plural perspectives and institutional dynamics: challenges for community forestry

International Journal of Agricultural Resources, Governance and Ecology (IJARGE) 1.3, 1.4 (2001)
IDS publications on international development research

South Africa Country Paper

SLSA Working Paper 6 (2001)
IDS publications on international development research

Mozambique Country Paper

SLSA Working Paper 2 (2000)
IDS publications on international development research

New shapes to shift: war, parks and the hunting persona in modern West Africa

Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute 6.4 (2000)
IDS publications on international development research

Land Theme Paper

SLSA Working Paper (2000)
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 Working Paper

Will Africa's Participation in Horticulture Chains Survive Liberalisation?

IDS Working Paper 106 (2000)

Trade in horticulture is an African success story. Kenyan and Zimbabwean producers are now well established in the value chain. The question now is how to maintain or improve upon this position in a highly competitive market. More details

IDS Working Paper

Global Science, Global Policy: Local to Global Policy Processes for Soils Management in Africa

IDS Working Paper 115 (2000)

The creation and selling of ideas of global environmental crisis has been a core characteristic of the post-Rio decade. Global science and global policymaking processes are central to these crises. More details

IDS Research Report

Analysing Policy for Sustainable Livelihoods

IDS Research Report 49 (2000)

This report argues that it is possible to use the Sustainable Livelihoods (SL) approach as a starting point for bridging the gap between bottom-up livelihoods analysis and top-down policy analysis. More details

IDS Research Report

Agricultural Intensification in Ethiopia and Mali

IDS Research Report 48 (2000)

Agricultural intensification, in all its different forms, is one of the three major strategies adopted by households in order to attain a livelihood. This paper presents research findings on agricultural intensification from Ethiopia and Mali field research carried out under the Sustainable Livelihoods Programme. The paper focuses on the determinants of agricultural intensification in five research sites, in order to identify which factors inhibit or facilitate the process of agricultural change. 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