Knowledge for Development

Documents: Expert Consultation 'Agricultural Innovation Systems' CTA / COS-SiS February 2013

Date: 06/02/2013


On this page, you will find all the documents (presentations and draft papers) produced for the 

CTA/CoS-SIS Expert Consultation on Innovation Systems: 'Towards more effective theories of change' 

04-06 February 2013, CTA Headquarters, the Netherlands. 

The programme and concept note of the event can be downloaded here.

Scroll down to find the presentation(s) or paper(s) you are looking for.



  • bring together people with diverse backgrounds who have the common interest in searching for more effective theories of change 
  • bring together people who see the need for solutions to be based on proper diagnostics of contextualised problem situations
  • make explicit these and other theories of change and establish sound and consolidated differences of opinion and alternatives that can be the basis for deeper exploration and experimentation to support an innovation thrust that carries further agricultural transformation and benefits smallholder farmers.

Issues and questions

Themes 1 & 2

  • The assumption that sustainable intensification will make a major contribution to global food security and food sovereignty, and make the global food system more resilient in the face of predicted shocks and disturbances;  
  • The nature of the ‘sustainable intensification’ in which smallholders will be engaged will substantially reduce persistent rural poverty. Can smallholders be linked into global markets which are not necessarily transparent or is there need to take into account the need for decentralised resilience in the face of declining natural resources, climate change, price volatility, peak oil, etc., and the need to protect smallholders from unfair advantages of skewed markets? What is the role of strong farmer organisations, well-organised local systems, governments that defend their agricultural industries against predatory practices?
  • What type of ‘systems’ are relevant? What exactly is an innovation system (IS) and the IS approach? What is the relationship between farming systems and IS approaches? Are they the same or different? What exactly are the differences? Where do the concepts for IAR4D, Innovation Platforms/clusters and value chain integration fit in?
  • Is there need to explicitly embrace Checkland’s Soft Systems Methodology? What are the consequences of hard system assumptions? What is the use of normative systems for guiding interventions? To what extent does empowerment and self-organisation play a role?

Themes 3 & 4

  • What defines the boundaries of the (agricultural) innovation systems (agricultural sectors, industries; domains; farming systems)? What hierarchy of levels should be assumed and what are the interactions among those levels?  
  • What are the mechanisms that affect smallholders’ opportunities and constraints? At what different aggregation levels do these mechanisms operate? To what extent is agricultural S&T relevant, and what other (f)actors should explicitly be taken into account and unpacked (markets, service delivery, policies, governance, regulatory frameworks)? Are they mutually exclusive? 
  • What are the methodologies for gaining better understanding about smallholder opportunities/constraints? The role, design and use of the diagnostics that link smallholder opportunities/constraints to key attributes of the institutional context; 
  • What is the nature of the (Agricultural) Innovation Systems and what are the strategies and interventions that should lead to change, at what aggregation levels? What is the link to the national innovation system? Should there be one and what will be the benefit of the linkage? 

Theme 5

  • What are the roles of policies and champions, brokers, facilitators, and other agents of change? 
  • What is the role of facilitation vis-à-vis self-organisation / self-mobilization?  
  • What is the nature of the platforms, networks, stakeholders, dialogues, etc. that are being facilitated to affect ‘the system’
  • How do we expect the IS work in experimental niches to affect policy and institutional regimes and landscapes? 

Expected Outputs

  • Areas of convergence & divergence on IS and its relevance to agricultural transformation with a focus on smallholders & sustainable intensification identified 
  • Future areas for policy, research, outreach and development assistance on IS identified 
  • A synthesis report, policy paper and book reflecting perspectives presented during the expert consultation published & widely disseminated 



Convergence of Sciences: Strengthening agricultural innovations systems in Benin, Ghana and Mali 

Arnold van Huis, International coordinator, CoS-SIS programme 

Download the presentation

Innovation systems approaches in a time of transition 

Lynn Mytelka, Professorial Fellow, UNU-Merit, Maastricht, the Netherlands 

Download the presentation

Innovation systems and capability building among smallholder farmers’ in Kenya 

Maurice Bolo, Director, The Scinnovent Centre, Kenya 

Download the presentation

Case study of the flower industry in Kenya 

Maurice Bolo, Director, The Scinnovent Centre, Kenya 

Download the presentation

Political power in innovation systems: Smallholder sustainable intensification and rural mechanization

Stephen Biggs,School of International Development, University of East Anglia

(with Scott Justice, Rural Mechanization and Development Specialist, National Agricultural and Environmental Forum, Nepal.) 

Download the presentation and the draft paper.

Sustainable intensification & Sub-Saharan Africa: CSIRO Sustainable Agriculture Flagship 

Peter Carberry, Deputy Director, Sustainable Agriculture Flagship, CSIRO, Australia

Download the presentation and the draft paper.

Rice innovation system in Senegal

Amadou Abdoulaye Fall, agro-economist, Institut sénégalais de Recherche Agronomique (ISRA), Saint-Louis, Senegal

Download the presentation and the draft paper.



Agricultural Innovation Systems: Lessons from CTA

Judith A. Francis, Senior Programme Coodinator, S&T Policy, CTA, The Netherlands

Download the presentation.

IAR4D to Enhance Agricultural Innovation and  effectiveness of  Research

Wale Adekunle, Coordinator, Sub-Saharan Africa Challenge Programme SSA CP, FARA, Accra, Ghana

Download the presentation.

Joint Learning in Innovation Systems in African Agriculture (JOLISAA)

Bernard Triomphe, CIRAD, Montpellier, France

Download the presentation and the draft paper.

The COS-SiS Programme: Why, What & How

Janice Jiggins, Chair, Research Associate Support Team, CoS-SIS

Download the presentation.

An analysis of innovation processes in artisanal palm oil entreprise

Charity Osei-Amponsah, PhD fellow, CoS-SIS, Ghana

Download the presentation.



Innovation System Thinking: Policies and Institutionalisation

Ray Ison, Open Systems Research Group, Open University, UK, and Systemic Governance Research Program,  Monash Sustainability Institute (MSI), Monash University, Australia

Download the presentation and the draft paper.

Innovation Systems and Technology Development Aid: DFID RIU Programme

Norman Clark, Development Policy and Practice, Faculty of Maths, Computing and Technology, The Open University, Walton Hall, Milton Keynes, UK

Download the presentation and the draft paper.

Pricing policies in cocoa in Ghana The case of the Concertation and Innovation Group (CIG) 

Richard Adu-Acheampong, Research Associate, Cocoa Research Institute Ghana (CRIG), CoS-SIS Cocoa Domain, Ghana

Download the presentation and the draft paper.


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