An innovation systems approach to institutional change: Smallholder development in West Africa

Hounkonnou, D and Kossou, D and Kuyper, T.W. and et al, . (2012) An innovation systems approach to institutional change: Smallholder development in West Africa. Agricultural Systems, 108. pp. 7-83.

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Sustainable intensification of smallholder farming is a serious option for satisfying 2050 global cereal requirements and alleviating persistent poverty. That option seems far off for Sub-Sahara Africa (SSA) where technology-driven productivity growth has largely failed. The article revisits this issue from a number of angles: current approaches to enlisting SSA smallholders in agricultural development; the history of the phenomenal productivity growth in the USA, The Netherlands and Green Revolution Asia; and the current framework conditions for SSA productivity growth. This analysis shows that (1) the development of an enabling institutional context was a necessary condition that preceded the phenomenal productivity growth in industrial and Green Revolution countries; and that (2) such a context is also present for successful SSA export crop production, but that (3) the context is pervasively biased against SSA’s smallholder food production. The article traces the origins of technology supply push (TSP) as a dominant paradigm that hinders recognition of the role of enabling institutions. The article then reviews the literature on institutional change and zooms in on Innovation Platforms (IPs) as a promising innovation system approach to such change. We describe the concrete experience with IP in the Sub-Sahara Challenge Program (SSA-CP) and in the Convergence of Sciences: Strengthening Innovation Systems (CoS-SIS) Program. The former has demonstrated proof of concept. The latter is designed to trace causal mechanisms. We describe its institutional experimentation and research methodology, including causal process tracing.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: We thank Dr. Janice Jiggins for extensive suggestions for rewriting, as well as three anonymous reviewers and the editor of Agricultural Systems for constructive comments. We are grateful to Prof. Erwin Bulte and Dr Barbara Sterk for preprints of important articles. CoS-SIS is funded by DGIS, the Directorate General for Development Cooperation of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of The Netherlands. Without that support the article could not have been written.
Uncontrolled Keywords: Innovation platforms,IAR4D,Opportunities,Benin,Ghana,Mali
Author Affiliation: Centre International d’Etudes pour le Développement Local, Lyon(France)
Subjects: Social Sciences
Depositing User: Mr Siva Shankar
Date Deposited: 06 Mar 2012 07:35
Last Modified: 06 Mar 2012 07:36
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