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Innovation systems: towards effective strategies in support of smallholder farmers

Published in January 2017 and divided into 18 chapters, the book is a collection of theoretical underpinnings, expert opinions, case studies, reflections and lessons on the state-of-the-art innovation systems thinking and approaches in agriculture. 

The work charts the way forward for improving policy and practice in support of agricultural-led economic growth fuelled by smallholder farmers in developing countries. According to the CTA publication, adopting an innovation system approach to agricultural and rural development can support inclusive development. Small-holders farmers will benefit if the right policies and institutional mechanisms are in place. In this approach, learning takes centre stage. Farmers and other agri-entrepreneurs are actively involved in the generation of knowledge and technologies. They are also part of the decision-making processes for overcoming challenges as well as creating and taking advantage of knowledge, technologies and opportunities.

The book showcases several experiences drawn from Africa, Asia and Latin America where the Innovation system approach has been adopted and attempts to respond to perplexing questions which continue to dominate the agricultural innovation agenda, particularly in the context of smallholder farming systems. These debates generally converge around the role of research and development (R&D) and science and technology (S&T) in the innovation process, the levels of public investment required and the innovation pathways to be pursued. And, more critically, what policies and institutional mechanisms are needed to sustain agricultural innovation and how governments can ensure that smallholder farmers are not marginalized in a competitive global trading environment.

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Giorgia MEI
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24 January 2017

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