Knowledge for Development

Relevant publications

Public agricultural R&D investments and capacities in developing countries

By International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), 2010. Recent evidence for 2000 and beyond ..Compiling up-to-date, accurate information on global trends in public agricultural R&D investments is extremely challenging because for many countries no such information exists, and for others the available information is outdated, irregular, or incomplete. The Agricultural Science and Technology Indicators (ASTI) initiative strives to redress this problem, but—as a public good—ASTI focuses on developing countries (herein defined as low- and middle-income countries). In addition, based on financial and time constraints, ASTI collects data on a regional basis and over considerable intervals of time.


Rural Poverty Report 2011

The IFAD’s Rural Poverty Report 2011 provides a comprehensive look at rural poverty, its global consequences and the prospects for eradicating it. Released on 6 December 2010, the report contains updated estimates by IFAD regarding how many rural poor people there are in the developing world, poverty rates in rural areas, and the percentage of poor people residing in rural areas. The new report notes that global poverty remains a massive and predominantly rural phenomenon, and that further efforts to reduce rural poverty will be hindered by increasingly volatile food prices, the uncertainties and effects of climate change, and a range of natural resource constraints. The report emphasizes however that profound changes in agricultural markets are giving rise to new and promising opportunities for the developing world’s smallholder farmers to significantly boost their productivity.(Source: International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), November 2010)


International comparison of goal-oriented public governance in research policy

Norway is reviewing its research system through the “Fagerberg Committee”. One study commissioned by the committee compares the research system in seven countries, with an emphasis on publically financed research. The comparison of the countries uses seven criteria to assess what instruments offer most value for money. Relevant data suggest a declining role of basic research in the sense of 'blue skies' (curiosity-driven) research. Looking at who decides the research topics reveals that any drift away from basic research is the choice of the research community itself: the share of researcher-initiated project funding is clearly rising.The first publication volume of the research, Research Support for the Fagerberg Committee - International comparison of goal-oriented public governance in research policy, can be downloaded at funding allocation to the main research sectors is described and allocation patterns mapped over time. It also gives information on research spending versus research administration, examines research recruitment, identifies mechanisms and criteria for public research allocation, and in particular how targets are operationalised. It also covers a review of bibliometric systems developed for cataloguing research production (number and level of publications, quotations indexes) and gives some best cases examples. Comparative data for the seven countries studied appears in a second volume, which can be downloaded at Such a review exercise should help other countries assess their research system, relevant in the current context of research policy reviews taking place in several regions of the world.


UNIDO study outlines opportunities and challenges for African agribusiness and agro-industries

This 2011 study by the UN Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) titled ‘Agribusiness for Africa’s Prosperity’ focuses on the opportunities for diversified growth in Africa, and assesses the existing and potential sources of demand growth for agribusiness development on the continent. It includes case studies of countries in their development of agribusiness and agro-industries, identifies innovative financing methods and describes the countries’ internal responses to various challenges. An agenda for action and a framework to guide the efforts of stakeholders, with a key focus on visions, policies, strategies and institutions for Africa’s agribusiness development, is also outlined. A key part of the study is the identification and analysis of the seven development pillars for agribusiness development, which are the actions needed to transform subsistence agriculture into productive agribusiness, as follows: enhancing agricultural productivity; upgrading value chains; exploiting local, regional and international demand; strengthening technological effort and innovation capabilities; promoting effective and innovative financing; stimulating private participation; and improving infrastructure and energy access. (IISD, 13/5/2011)


Leveraging private sector investment in developing country agrifood systems

Hebebrand C., Policy Paper Series, International Food and Agricultural Trade Policy Council (IPC), May 2011. This study was commissioned by the Global Agricultural Development Initiative and sponsored by the Chicago Council on Global Affairs ( It examines the role transnational corporations (TNCs) play in the funding, via direct investments, of the agricultural sector in developing countries. This policy paper consists of four sections. The first reiterates the benefits of sound private-sector investment in sustainable food security; it also explains the paper’s primary focus on investments from TNCs and describes how TNCs approach decisions on investment allocations. The second section highlights examples of TNC investments that have simultaneously benefited smallholders in developing countries while creating profits for the investors. The third section explores how the US government engages with TNCs and incentivizes investments. The final section concludes with recommendations for TNCs, governments, and other players, with a view towards increasing TNC investments that both strengthen agricultural development and offer profits to TNCs.


Food for All: Investing in Food Security in Asia and the Pacific – Issues, Innovations, and Practices

Asian Development Bank. 2011.The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) co-organized a regional investment forum for food security at the ADB headquarters in Manila on 7–9 July 2010. This book distils the wealth of information and depth of discussions derived from the proceedings of the landmark forum. With this book, ADB seeks to provide a better understanding of food security and the opportunities for realizing it through multi-sector and partnership approaches. It is meant to facilitate the sharing of knowledge, innovations, good practices, and lessons on investing in this field. The main thematic areas are: Enhancing productivity investment Up-scaling innovations and good practices in natural resource management Increasing investments for resilience Innovative financing for food security Enhancing connectivity investments for food security


RUFORUM Newsletter: Special focus on SCAIN (Strengthening Capacity for Agricultural Innovation)

The testimonies of the students who graduated through the SCAIN programme, some of which are featured in the RUFORUM December 2011 special issue, show how much they valued the wide range of training activities that was provided. This went far beyond the standard curricula of the universities and included workshops on personal mastery and soft skills, scientific data management and writing proposals and technical papers. Outputs from both SCARDA and SCAIN are also available on an electronic platform hosted on the RUFORUM website.


Innovative Policies and Institutions to Support Agro-Industries Development

This publication presents the papers commissioned by FAO from qualified researchers and development practitioners through a competitive process held internationally. Comprising 12 chapters and preceded by an editorial overview, the papers cover a wide range of country and regional experiences on the design, implementation and evaluation of policies and institution strengthening programmes and projects. It is hoped that collectively they can represent an important contribution to policy-makers and other professionals interested in promoting the development of agro-industries. (FAO via AVRDC Newsletter, 4 May 2012)


The political economy of funding agricultural R&D in Papua New Guinea: A case study

Adequate and reliable funding of agricultural R&D is critical for sustaining research activities. A breakdown in funding arrangements can be detrimental to the long-term existence of R&D organisation/systems. Presented at the 2002 Australian Agricultural and Resource Economics Society Conference, this paper first, reviews the trends in funding arrangements for agricultural R&D in Papua New Guinea (PNG) in the late 1990s. Second, the paper explores the extent to which political influence affects funding arrangements for agricultural R&D in PNG in terms of a case study. Third, with insights from the case study, which are alleged to reflect the general nature of the way agricultural R&D has been funded in PNG, implications are assessed and suggestions are made about the need to diversify funding sources away from avenues that are dependent directly on political influence.


Agricultural aid and tech breakthroughs: pull funding for smallholder productivity

‘Pull mechanisms’ are not a silver bullet, but some donors see them as a tool to address this particular intersection of problems – stimulating innovation, pulling in the private sector, and making aid delivery more effective by paying for outcomes rather than inputs. An earlier paper (Elliott 2010) reviewed the market failures that inhibit socially optimal levels of research and development—in developing countries in general and in developing-country agriculture specifically—and the factors involved in choosing between push and pull mechanisms. The focus here is on factors to be considered when choosing among pull mechanisms and on what the limited experience with pull mechanisms can tell us about the potential utility of these instruments. The experience so far suggests that donors remain more comfortable with traditional ways of funding research and development from the top down and are still cautious about using new mechanisms that provide more space for innovation from the bottom up. (CGD, 4/6/2012)