Estimating the Global Investment Gap in Research and Innovation for Sustainable Agriculture Intensification in the Global South

The quality of the extension system is an important factor in supporting the adoption and effectiveness of new technologies, potentially increasing the benefits of the investment analyzed here. Extension services in the Global South have changed significantly over the past four decades, increasingly moving from a traditional emphasis on technology transfer and farm management information, supplied by the public sector, to a broader public and private advisory service model with increasing participation of the private sector (dealing with agricultural inputs agribusiness, and financial services), non-governmental organizations, producer groups, cooperatives and associations, and ICT services (Blum et al. 2020, cited in IFPRI 2021, forthcoming). Further expansion of extension services into marketing, food safety, and the establishment of closer links with agri-food industries and related areas would be beneficial (Committee on Agriculture 2010). Social networks and farmer-to-farmer extension have been growing in Africa, and evidence shows that they increase the effectiveness of extension (Takahashi et al. 2020). A cross-country analysis of extension services shows that the best performing countries in poverty alleviation have better education facilities, a greater focus by extension services on natural resources and climate change, and prioritize women and young adult farmers. In the case of malnutrition, the key difference between groups of performance is that best performing countries prioritize rural women in the areas of nutrition and health (IFPRI 2021, forthcoming).