Agricultural research practice for environmental management and poverty reduction : the case of CIAT

Reece, J. David (1998). Agricultural research practice for environmental management and poverty reduction : the case of CIAT. PhD thesis The Open University.



This thesis is about the institutions that apply developed-country science and technology to agriculture in underdeveloped countries. It considers the extraordinary series of changes in food production that has come to be known as the 'Green Revolution', arguing that the(less than ideal) outcomes of these changes reflected the characteristics of a particular network of research institutions known as the CG System, as mediated by the agricultural technology developed by the latter. Drawing on recent developments in the theory of innovation, the thesis argues that the characteristics of the CG System responsible for the outcomes of the 'Green Revolution' may be derived from the 'linear' model of innovation,upon which the former was apparently predicated. This 'linear' model of innovation is critically compared with a rival 'fifth generation' model. It is suggested that if the CGSystem were to adopt an innovatory practice that conformed to the 'fifth generation' model,it would enable itself to make a greater impact upon poverty and hunger. The reforms that are now being experienced by the CG System are critically considered in the light of this discussion. This argument is supported by empirical material which demonstrates thatCIAT (a member of the CG System) has traditionally approached innovation in a manner consistent with the 'linear' model. However, an initiative based within CIAT's Hillsides Programme is examined in detail and shown to be an attempt to introduce into this institute an innovatory practice consistent with the rival 'fifth generation' model. Formidable organisational forces act to resist this initiative and the changes that if seeks to effect in its organisational environment. Nonetheless, considerable movement towards the 'fifth generation' model is discerned at each of the different levels of analysis employed in the thesis,· which concludes that this process of change is itself worthy of serious investigation.

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