Inclusive Agriculture

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.


  • Understanding Barriers faced by Fruits/Vegetable Farmers to join the Export Value Chain In Sri Lanka (Presentation)

    A Comparative Assessment of Export Potential Farmers in North and South by Suthaharan Perampalam and Samali Perera. November 2018

  • Market Knowledge Transfer Program for Export Potential Farmers in Jaffna District (Course Report)

    Reconciliation Through Economic Development
    1-2 November 2018

  • PRESENTATION: Agriculture and Open Data

    Baseline Survey results from the Agriculture and Open Data project can be viewed below:

  • PROPOSAL: Inclusive Information Societies 2

    LIRNEasia wishes to understand how the capabilities of information and communication technologies (ICTs) can be leveraged to create the conditions for hitherto excluded groups to participate in new economic opportunities in global supply chains in agriculture and services. Here we give primacy to participation as producers of value, rather than as mere consumers. Building on the insights that application of knowledge to productive processes and articulation with global supply chains are critical to increased productivity leading to economic growth, LIRNEasia seeks to make available agricultural research-based knowledge on better farming practices for high-value crops, including on disease avoidance and remediation. New techniques that disaggregate and make available small components of larger business-process outsourcing (BPO) tasks reduces transaction costs and helps manage quality concerns in ways that allow for greater participation by the less qualified and by those who are, for various reasons, excluded from the conventional forms of employment in the BPO sector. In the case of agricultural supply chains, LIRNEasia has negotiated with the Sri Lanka Department of Agriculture to make open, and allow the digitization of, a valuable stock of paper-based information currently used as a resource when answering questions that come through on an agriculture hotline. Other […]

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