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«Enhancing Agricultural Innovation: How to Go Beyond the Strengthening of Research Systems © 2006 The International Bank for Reconstruction and ...»

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The World Bank

Enhancing Agricultural


How to Go Beyond the

Strengthening of Research Systems

© 2006 The International Bank for Reconstruction and Development / The World Bank

1818 H Street, NW

Washington, DC 20433

Telephone 202-473-1000

Internet www.worldbank.org/rural

E-mail ard@worldbank.org

All rights reserved.

This volume is a product of the staff of the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development/ The

World Bank. The findings, interpretations, and conclusions expressed in this paper do not necessarily reflect the views of the Executive Directors of The World Bank or the governments they represent. The World Bank does not guarantee the accuracy of the data included in this work. The boundaries, colors, denominations, and other information shown on any map in this work do not imply any judgment on the part of The World Bank concerning the legal status of any territory or the endorsement or acceptance of such boundaries.

The material in this publication is copyrighted. Copying and/or transmitting portions or all of this work without permission may be a violation of applicable law. The International Bank for Reconstruction and Development/ The World Bank encourages dissemination of its work and will normally grant permission to reproduce portions of the work promptly.

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i Contents Page Preface

Executive Summary


Acronyms and Abbreviations

Chapter 1. Why Assess the Value of the Innovation Systems Perspective?

1.1 Knowledge generation and application in a changing agricultural context

1.2 Towards operational agricultural innovation systems

1.3 Grounding the innovation systems concept in the “new agriculture”

1.4 Organization of this study

Chapter 2. The Innovation Systems Concept: A Framework for Analysis

2.1 Introduction

2.2 Origins of the innovation systems concept

2.3 Innovation versus invention

2.4 Key insights from the innovation systems concept for diagnostic and intervention frameworks

2.5 Innovation systems and value chains

2.6 NARS, AKIS, and agricultural innovation systems compared

2.7 Towards practical applications of the innovation systems concept

Chapter 3. Research Methodology and Case Study Descriptions

3.1 Research methodology

3.2 Case study selection

3.3 Information collection

3.4 Case study descriptions

Chapter 4. Innovation System Capacity: A Comparative Analysis of Case Studies.


4.1 Introduction

4.2 Actors, their roles, and the attitudes and practices that shape their roles

4.3 Attitudes and practices

4.4 Patterns of interaction

4.5 The enabling environment

4.6 Summary of the analysis of innovation capacity in the case studies

Chapter 5. Reviewing the Innovation Systems Concept in Light of the Case Studies.


5.1 Introduction

5.2 The nature of contemporary agricultural challenges

5.3 Key characteristics of innovation across the case studies

5.4 Common interventions and their limits

Chapter 6. Towards a Framework for Diagnosis and Intervention

6.1 Introduction

6.2 An intervention framework for developing agricultural innovation systems

6.3 The pre-planned phase in the orchestrated trajectory

6.4 The foundation phase

6.5 The expansion phase


6.6 The nascent phase in the opportunity driven trajectory

6.7 The emergence phase

6.8 The stagnation phase

6.9 A dynamic system of innovation phase

Chapter 7. Conclusions

7.1 Introduction

7.2 The nature of innovation: nine findings

7.3 The value of the innovation systems concept

7.4 Implications for the World Bank


Annex A: Agricultural Innovation Systems: A Methodology for Diagnostic Assessments.100 Annex B: Case Studies and Authors

Annex C: Case Study Detailed Summary Tables

Boxes Box 1.1 Past contributions of science and technology

Box 1.2 The process of knowledge generation and use is changing

Box 1.3 Increased market demand and policy change close the yield gap in maize production in India

Box 1.4 Changing approaches to investing in innovation capacity

Box 2.1 Two views of innovation: the linear and innovation systems models

Box 2.2 Knowledge and the competitiveness of the Chilean salmon industry, past and future

Box 2.3 Theoretical underpinnings of innovation systems

Box 2.4 Small-scale equipment manufacturers and the adoption of zero tillage in South Asia

Box 2.5 Including stakeholders’ demands in the agricultural innovation system:

Mexico’s Produce Foundations

Box 2.6 Reducing rural poverty by linking farmer organizations with public-private partnerships in China

Box 2.7 Community-driven development and agricultural innovation systems

Box 2.8 Participatory, grassroots, and multistakeholder approaches to overcome limitations of the linear model

Box 3.1 A checklist for conducting diagnostic assessments and developing interventions based on the innovation systems concept

Box 4.1 Who gets to innovate? Picking winners versus enabling winners to pick themselves

Box 5.1 Farmer organizations and a new extension approach accelerate agricultural innovation in India

Box 5.2 Foundation for the Revitalisation of Local Health Care Traditions in India:

a successful coordinating body

Box 6.1 Numerical list of interventions mentioned in this chapter, with reference to potential investment approaches from the Agriculture Investment Sourcebook

ii Tables Table 1.1 World value of nontraditional agricultural exports (million US$), 1992 and 2001......9 Table 1.2 Case studies by country and subsector

Table 2.1 Attitudes and practices affecting key innovation processes and relationships.

..........18 Table 2.2 Defining features of the NARS and AKIS frameworks in relation to agricultural innovation systems

Table 3.1 Case studies and selection criteria

Table 4.1 Interaction patterns in support of innovation

Table 4.2 Summary of the analysis of innovation systems in the case studies

Table 5.1 Scope of innovations observed

Table 5.2 Innovation triggers

Table 5.3 Value and developmental significance of case study sectors

Table 5.4 Common interventions and their limitations

Table 6.1 Place of the case studies in the innovation systems typology

Table 6.2 Main characteristics of the four analytical elements in each phase of development in orchestrated and opportunity-driven systems

Table 7.1 Towards approaches that link investments in agricultural science and technology with progress towards sustainable development

Table 7.2 Innovation systems and rural poverty reduction, by type of farmer and farming system

Table A.1 Example of an actor linkage matrix

Table A.2 Typology of linkage and learning types

Table A.3. Typology of attitudes and practices affecting key innovation processes and relationships

Table C.1 Roles of different actors at different times

Table C.2 The role of government in supporting innovation

Table C.3 Interaction patterns in support of innovation

Figures Figure 1.1 A stylized innovation system

Figure 6.1 Development phases of agricultural innovation systems

Figure A.1 Elements of an agricultural innovation system



This Economic and Sector Work paper, “Enhancing Agricultural Innovation: How to Go Beyond the Strengthening of Research Systems,” was initiated as a result of the international workshop, “Development of Research Systems to Support the Changing Agricultural Sector,” organized by the Agriculture and Rural Development Department of the World Bank in June 2004 in Washington, DC. One of the main conclusions of the workshop was that “strengthened research systems may increase the supply of new knowledge and new technologies, but such strengthening may not necessarily correlate very well with the capacity to innovate and adopt innovations throughout the agricultural sector, and thereby with economic growth.” This paper uses an innovation systems perspective to explore which other interventions may be required.

The innovation systems concept is not new. It has been applied in other sectors, mainly in industry. The concept is considered to have great potential to add value to previous concepts of agricultural research systems and growth by (1) drawing attention to the totality of actors needed for innovation and growth, (2) consolidating the role of the private sector and the importance of interactions within a sector, and (3) emphasizing the outcomes of technology and knowledge generation and adoption rather than the strengthening of research systems and their outputs.

Although the innovation systems concept has raised interest within the agricultural sector, the operational aspects of the concept remain largely unexplored. At the same time, within and outside the World Bank, agricultural investment strategies have gone through a number of changes, some of which are closely related to the innovation systems concept. This paper takes stock of real-world innovation systems to assesses the usefulness of the innovation systems concept for guiding investments in agricultural technology development and economic growth.

The paper incorporates prior innovation systems work and eight new case studies of innovation systems and potential investments to support their development. The manuscript has been produced through a fruitful collaboration between the World Bank’s Agriculture and Rural Development Department, its South Asia Agriculture and Rural Development Department, and the United Nations University–Maastricht Economic and social Research and training centre on Innovation and Technology (UNU-MERIT).

iv v Executive Summary Investments in knowledge—especially in the form of science and technology—have featured prominently and consistently in most strategies to promote sustainable and equitable agricultural development at the national level. Although many of these investments have been successful, the context for agriculture is changing rapidly, sometimes radically.

Six changes in the context for agricultural development heighten the need to examine

how innovation occurs in the agricultural sector:

1. Markets, not production, increasingly drive agricultural development.

2. The production, trade, and consumption environment for agriculture and agricultural products is growing more dynamic and evolving in unpredictable ways.

3. Knowledge, information, and technology increasingly are generated, diffused, and applied through the private sector.

4. Exponential growth in information and communications technology has transformed the ability to take advantage of knowledge developed in other places or for other purposes.

5. The knowledge structure of the agricultural sector in many countries is changing markedly.

6. Agricultural development increasingly takes place in a globalized setting.

Can new perspectives on the sources of agricultural innovation yield practical approaches to agricultural development that may be more suited to this changing context? That is the central question explored here.

Changing approaches for supporting agricultural innovation As the context of agricultural development has evolved, ideas of what constitutes “research capacity” have evolved, along with approaches for investing in the capacity to


• In the 1980s, the “national agricultural research system” (NARS) concept focused development efforts on strengthening research supply by providing infrastructure, capacity, management, and policy support at the national level.

• In the 1990s, the “agricultural knowledge and information system” (AKIS) concept recognized that research was not the only means of generating or gaining access to knowledge. The AKIS concept still focused on research supply but gave much more attention to links between research, education, and extension and to identifying farmers’ demand for new technologies.

• More recently, attention has focused on the demand for research and technology and on the development of innovation systems, because strengthened research systems may increase the supply of new knowledge and technology, but they may not necessarily improve the capacity for innovation throughout the agricultural sector.

The innovation systems concept An innovation system can be defined as a network of organizations, enterprises, and individuals focused on bringing new products, new processes, and new forms of vi organization into economic use, together with the institutions and policies that affect their behavior and performance. The innovation systems concept embraces not only the science suppliers but the totality and interaction of actors involved in innovation. It extends beyond the creation of knowledge to encompass the factors affecting demand for and use of knowledge in novel and useful ways.

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