Institutional change towards sustainable agriculture in West Africa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

This paper describes why inter- and trans-disciplinary research, accompanied by innovation platforms, is essential in the context of agricultural development in West Africa. The institutional context in West Africa can become a trap for smallholder farmers and for society at large. Therefore, we argue that an enabling institutional context is necessary to achieve an increase in agricultural production. This will have consequences for setting priorities of agricultural research and the way research should be organized in order to have impact. Within the framework of two consecutive programmes, attempts were made to create such an enabling context. The first programme, focusing on participatory technology development, showed that smallholders can capture only limited benefits from technologies because of their constrained opportunities. The point of departure for the second programme was that institutions explain a large portion of variance in agricultural output and that multistakeholder innovation platforms at local, district, and national levels are needed to create change. The paper concludes with an overview of this special issue, which provides nine case studies of institutional factors that influence smallholder innovation. Each of these case studies identifies and analyses institutional mechanisms at aggregation levels higher than the household, farm, or village.
LanguageEnglish
Pages203-213
JournalInternational Journal of Agricultural Sustainability
Volume12
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2014

Fingerprint

sustainable agriculture
Western Africa
case studies
agricultural research
villages
traps
farmers
agriculture
farms
Sustainable agriculture
Institutional change
Innovation
West Africa
Smallholders
Institutional context

Keywords

  • innovation systems
  • farmers
  • benin
  • ghana
  • netherlands
  • management
  • sector

Cite this

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title = "Institutional change towards sustainable agriculture in West Africa",
abstract = "This paper describes why inter- and trans-disciplinary research, accompanied by innovation platforms, is essential in the context of agricultural development in West Africa. The institutional context in West Africa can become a trap for smallholder farmers and for society at large. Therefore, we argue that an enabling institutional context is necessary to achieve an increase in agricultural production. This will have consequences for setting priorities of agricultural research and the way research should be organized in order to have impact. Within the framework of two consecutive programmes, attempts were made to create such an enabling context. The first programme, focusing on participatory technology development, showed that smallholders can capture only limited benefits from technologies because of their constrained opportunities. The point of departure for the second programme was that institutions explain a large portion of variance in agricultural output and that multistakeholder innovation platforms at local, district, and national levels are needed to create change. The paper concludes with an overview of this special issue, which provides nine case studies of institutional factors that influence smallholder innovation. Each of these case studies identifies and analyses institutional mechanisms at aggregation levels higher than the household, farm, or village.",
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Institutional change towards sustainable agriculture in West Africa. / Struik, P.C.; Klerkx, L.W.A.; van Huis, A.; Röling, N.G.

In: International Journal of Agricultural Sustainability, Vol. 12, No. 3, 2014, p. 203-213.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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AU - van Huis, A.

AU - Röling, N.G.

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AB - This paper describes why inter- and trans-disciplinary research, accompanied by innovation platforms, is essential in the context of agricultural development in West Africa. The institutional context in West Africa can become a trap for smallholder farmers and for society at large. Therefore, we argue that an enabling institutional context is necessary to achieve an increase in agricultural production. This will have consequences for setting priorities of agricultural research and the way research should be organized in order to have impact. Within the framework of two consecutive programmes, attempts were made to create such an enabling context. The first programme, focusing on participatory technology development, showed that smallholders can capture only limited benefits from technologies because of their constrained opportunities. The point of departure for the second programme was that institutions explain a large portion of variance in agricultural output and that multistakeholder innovation platforms at local, district, and national levels are needed to create change. The paper concludes with an overview of this special issue, which provides nine case studies of institutional factors that influence smallholder innovation. Each of these case studies identifies and analyses institutional mechanisms at aggregation levels higher than the household, farm, or village.

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