Innovation systems, agricultural growth and rural livelihoods in East Africa

Farmer in Kenya c. Neil Palmer/CIAT

Farmer in Kenya c. Neil Palmer/CIAT

Dr Peter Dorward, University of Reading

Start Date: 19 June 2012   |   End Date: 31 October 2014

Project webpage
Research Councils UK project page

Smallholder farming is widely seen as a potential engine for economic growth and for poverty alleviation in rural areas of sub-Saharan Africa. Yet the arrangements put in place to encourage the uptake of new technology, and to improve the management of resources by smallholders, have not always been particularly effective.

Using Kenya, Sudan and Uganda as case studies, this project will explore how different institutional arrangements affects the innovation activity of male and female farmers and the impact this has on growth in the local economy.

The research team will build up a detailed picture of organisations and institutions that support and provide services to smallholder farmers. They will then carry out a detailed investigation of recent innovation activity in four sites in each country analysing the factors that have constrained and those that have supported innovation.

Evidence-based conclusions on the potential and limitations for enhancing support for smallholder farmers’ innovation through new institutional arrangements and different ways of implementing support programmes at local level will be developed.