Social shifts, not just technological


While scientific research is an important component of the development of an agricultural innovation system, it is not enough. –

New Publications: Successful agricultural interventions require social shifts, not just technological

Traditionally, agricultural research organizations measured impact by the number of technologies developed, with less attention given to whether or not these technologies were adopted by farmers and the impact they had in communities.

Today organizations must clearly demonstrate impact in farmers’ fields. Research and extension approaches based on agricultural innovation systems, or networks of organizations within an economic system that are directly involved in the creation, diffusion and use of scientific and technological knowledge, as well as the organizations responsible for the coordination and support of these processes.

This shift represents a new focus on innovation as a social process, as opposed to a research-driven process of technology transfer.

Despite growing interest in agricultural innovation system, little is still known about the most effective ways to operationalize these systems, especially within short and medium timeframes, according to researchers from the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT) in a new paper “Agricultural research organisations’ role in the emergence of agricultural innovation systems.”

The study claims that external input is often needed to generate an agricultural innovation system, and that network brokers – actors like NGOs and others, who catalyze collective action by enhancing farmers’ access to information and technical assistance – play a crucial role.

Read the full article: CIMMYT


Published by

Willem Van Cotthem

Honorary Professor of Botany, University of Ghent (Belgium). Scientific Consultant for Desertification and Sustainable Development.