Barriers to Agricultural Technology Adoption in Developing Countries, and the Potential Role of Biofortification

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Barriers to Agricultural Technology Adoption in Developing Countries, and the Potential Role of Biofortification Alan de Brauw Markets Trade and Institutions Division, International Food Policy Research Institute and Flagship Leader, Agriculture for Nutrition and Health (CGIAR)

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How can we better nourish 9 billion? Food availability is not a problem, nor is it likely to be In fact, there is a great deal of untapped agricultural potential in specific regions Sub-Saharan Africa, parts of South Asia, Cambodia More important is what kind of food will be available More nutritious crops need to be more available More nutritious crops now include biofortified crops– staple crops bred for additional micronutrients

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Major Grain Availability in the World, 2012 Data from FAOStat; assumed population of 7 billion

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Even with plenty of calorie “availability”… Untapped Productivity Potential in Several Parts of the World But at current price levels and trends there is a large underinvestment in more nutritious foods

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Untapped Productivity: Evidence on Average Yields (t/ha) Data from FAO Stat

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Untapped Productivity in sub-Saharan Africa and elsewhere

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From recent National Geographic

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How to improve agricultural technology adoption? World Agricultural production is not close to reaching its potential Particularly true in sub-Saharan Africa Even without any new technology, world production could be much higher Need is to induce farmers to switch from traditional varieties of crops to modern varieties But how?

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Question 1: Is it profitable for farmers to grow modern varieties? Suri (2011) built a framework allowing heterogenous returns to growing hybrids, finds: Group of farmers with high potential returns, not growing hybrids, but high cost of obtaining seeds and fertilizer (so they don’t) Another group with positive but lower returns grows hybrids Others do not grow hybrids all the time, have essentially zero returns New question: how can modern varieties be made profitable for smallholder farmers?

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10 Challenges for Adoption (ATAI) Lack of Information Risk and Uncertainty Lack of Finance Labor Market Problems Land Market Problems Externalities Coordination Failures Distribution Problems Lack of appropriateness Distorted Prices

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Technologies not Appropriate Farmers may have different preferences than policy-makers/breeders Policy makers may be too risk averse in approving new Available technology may not be right for marginal land, etc. Profits may actually be variable to higher yielding varieties of appropriate crops Taste, cultivation attributes may also matter Can potentially include drought/heat resistance

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Intervention Ideas : Appropriate Technologies More Participatory Breeding? (Walker, 2008) But lack of evidence this could be cost effective Need to consider gender in developing interventions for appropriate technologies Women often lack same access to improved seeds, inputs (even within households in west Africa) Difficult to predict the gender distributional consequences of new technologies targeted to women (e.g. von Braun, 1989) May be a need for different types of technologies as well

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Average Yield Increases, Selected Crops (1961=100)

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Percent Changes in Cereal and Pulse Production, and in Population, 1965-1999 Grains Pulses Population

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Evidence: Shares of daily calorie consumption by food groups Source for “Ideal” shares: Thompson and Meerman, FAO, 2013

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New Idea: Value Chains for Enhanced Nutrition Idea: Intervene in Value Chains to improve the consumption of nutritious crops Legumes; Vegetables/Fruits; Animal Source Foods Income increases are not sufficient to improve diet Policies sometimes promote production of grains at the expense of healthier products Interventions should work through prices (reductions); income; or information Should consider food safety as intervention is designed if warranted

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Inputs Farmer Buyers (Middlemen), Processors, Sellers Consumer Value Chain Possible Interventions

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Value Chains for Enhanced Nutrition: Example IFPRI Project: Laiterie du Berger (LB) in St Louis, Senegal buys milk from semi-nomadic herders in northern Senegal to produce yogurt and a fortified yogurt product called Thiakry Milk availability is seasonal– LB has to import powder to make Thiakry Population producing yogurt is highly anemic To try to regularize milk collection and improve iron status of population, an intervention offered Thiakry for children when specific producers met collection targets Preliminary result: Reduced anemia by 11 percentage points but not clear it is cost effective

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New Technology: Biofortification Idea Behind Biofortification (HarvestPlus): Breed essential micronutrients (vitamin A, iron, zinc) right into staple crops Vitamin A Orange Sweet Potato (Mozambique, Uganda) High Iron Beans (Rwanda) Vitamin A Cassava (Nigeria) High Iron Pearl Millet (India) Vitamin A (Orange) Maize (Zambia) Others on the way Lack of micronutrients greatly contributes to deaths among under 5s due to malnutrition and hinders child development

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HarvestPlus release varieties should… Have enough of the target micronutrient to make a difference in nutritional status; Be bioavailable; Yield at least as well as varieties farmers use, among test populations; Taste good (according to local populations)

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Methods: HarvestPlus REU (2006-2009) Introduced OSP to farmers in 2007 in Mozambique and Uganda through vine distribution and sales Accompanied by both agricultural and nutrition extension in both countries And marketing intervention to attempt to build marketing chain Impacts measured with Randomized Control Trial; baseline and endline; detailed dietary intake study Goal of project: Demonstrate reduction in vitamin A deficiency in both countries

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Primary Findings (2009): Vitamin A Deficiency Mozambique Uganda

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Additional Findings – “Medium Term” Surveys In Uganda, about half of those growing orange sweet potato still growing them in 2011 In Mozambique, less success continuing to grow them by 2012 BUT… Also find a statistically significant difference between vitamin A intakes among one treatment group and the control in 2012 (mothers and children) Can attribute difference to OFSP consumption

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Summary and Directions for Research Major grains are actually quite available and likely will be in 2050 However, there is need for additional investment in breeding on two levels Traditional, more nutritious crops (pulses and legumes; vegetables) Yield gains have lagged those of major grains Further effort on biofortified crops in future to fill in micronutrient gaps