Inclusive Agriculture — LIRNEasia

Agriculture in developing Asia is characterized by low productivity. It is often the lowest contributor to a country’s GDP yet employs the largest share of its labor (when compared to Industry and Services sectors). The reasons for low productivity are numerous: land fragmentation, lack of post-harvest infrastructure, low technology utilization, weak market linkages, absent or inefficient markets, information and knowledge asymmetries (or lack thereof). This is further exacerbated by overall socio-economic structural deficiencies such as lack of access to finance and crop insurance. In the countries that LIRNEasia works in, the smallholder agriculture sector constitutes the largest segment of producers.  Being resource constrained, smallholders lack the ability to make the necessary investments that can enable them to increase sector productivity (both yield increases as well as quality improvements of their produce) albeit on a micro-level against the broader structural issues. Increased performance of agricultural smallholders is sine-qua-non for inclusive development not just in agriculture but also at more broad-based level. The 2010 Growth Report by the Commission on Growth and Development mentions utilization of knowledge and integration into global value chains as two of the characteristics of high growth countries. LIRNEasia from its inception has been cognizant of the importance of reducing information and knowledge gaps in the sector. Secondly, we share Schultz’s (1964) proposition of farmers as calculating economic agents, albeit within their small allocative domains constrained by limited skills, knowledge and lack of incentives brought about by structural deficiencies. As such LIRNEasia’s research in agriculture explores the following broad thematic areas:

  • Information and knowledge gaps in agricultural value chains.
  • Inclusive strategies for greater integration of smallholders into global value chains.
  • The effects of the constrained allocative domains of smallholders on their incentives for achieving higher productivity.


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