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IFPRI Policy Brief Addresses Knowledge and Innovation for Agricultural Development to Meet Challenges of High Food Prices, Climate Change and Biofuels

International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI)

March 2009: The International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) has released a new policy brief that discusses the role of formal and informal knowledge systems for sustainable agricultural development in the light of emerging challenges such as high food prices, adaptation to climate change and growing demand for biofuels. The authors argue that agricultural research and development and indigenous knowledge and innovation must be linked and supported through the right policies to accelerate sustainable agricultural development. 

Fostering innovations in agriculture requires increased investments in agricultural science and technology, research and extension, education and training, and farmer organizations and other local institutions. To take into account the dynamic interactions between these components, the policy brief suggests the Innovation Systems Approach as a guiding paradigm for analysis and policy making. Key policy options to boost agricultural knowledge and innovation systems include: farmer-centered research and development, such as participatory research and plant breeding; advanced agricultural extension services using modern information and communication technologies, including internet kiosks and mobile phones; and education and capacity strengthening for farmers, extension organizations and policy makers. [The Policy Brief]