On July 28, as part of the 30th International Conference of Agricultural Economists (ICAE), the CGIAR Research Program on Policies, Institutions, and Markets (PIM) held a pre-conference workshop titled Rural Transformation in the 21st Century: The Challenges of Low-Income, Late-Transforming Countries. The workshop was organized in fulfillment of PIM’s Second Phase (2017-2022) commitment to convene annual meetings of social scientists from across CGIAR, and became the second event in the series (read about the 2017 event here).
The workshop showcased 15 presentations organized around four thematic areas related to transformation (see the agenda below). The papers were selected through a review of abstracts submitted in an open competitive call. Scientists from 9 CGIAR centers were among the authors of the presentations. About 120 colleagues from CGIAR and external research organizations attended the event. PIM sponsored 22 CGIAR scientists to come to the workshop and the ICAE.
Why rural transformation?
Rural transformation refers to the change of rural areas that are poor and largely based on agriculture to more diversified and prosperous ones. Countries undergoing the process in the 21st century face a different context than those that did so in the 19th or 20th centuries. Competition from foreign suppliers is tough, even in local markets in low income countries. Jobs for young people are scarce. Late-transformers lag, rather than lead, global technical innovation. Migration is risky from a livelihoods perspective. The challenges of late transformation are offset, at least partially, by benefits; to leap-frog technologies, to sell into distant markets, to use new information technologies for productive and social purposes, to deploy a more educated rural population, and to access flows of remittances. What role do agriculture and food systems play in late-transforming countries? And what interventions can facilitate shared growth, better nutrition, and sound natural resource management as economies diversify?
Importantly, as Dr. Frank Place said in his opening remarks to the workshop, “the research shows that there is no blueprint for transformation and that local context, as well as policies, matter a lot.” And because there is no blueprint, it is even more important to understand the processes that different late-transforming countries are going through.
The workshop provided an engaging collaborative space for discussing new ideas, findings, and lessons on the topic by both established and young scientists from around the world.
The following papers were presented at the workshop:
Session 1. New insights into 21st century rural transformation; what does it look like in different regions?
- Rural transformation and nutrition transition: Same pathways, different speeds? William A. Masters (Friedman School of Nutrition and Department of Economics, Tufts University, USA)
- Urbanization, Agriculture and Rural Transformation in Africa. Paul Dorosh and James Thurlow (International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), USA)
- Does Farm Structure Matter? The Effects of Farmland Distribution Patterns on Rural Household Incomes in Tanzania. Jordan Chamberlin (International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT), Ethiopia) and Thomas S. Jayne (Michigan State University, USA)
- Farm Size and Productivity: Lessons from Recent Literature. Douglas Gollin (Oxford Department of International Development, Oxford University, UK)
Session 2. Implications of 21st century rural transformation for markets and value chains
- Gender-responsive asset-based approach to enhance the transformative potential of value chain development in Guatemala, India and Peru. Dietmar Stoian (Bioversity International, France), Gennifer Meldrum (Bioversity International, Italy), Hugo Lamers (Bioversity International, The Netherlands), Trent Blare (World Agroforestry Centre, Peru), Marlène Elias (Bioversity International, Italy), Jason Donovan (International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT), Mexico)
- Contractual arrangements for rural transformation and market access to smallholder farmers in the rice value-chain: A randomized control trial approach. Aminou Arouna (Africa Rice Center, Cote d’Ivoire), Jourdain C. Lokossou (International Crop Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT), Mali), Michler Jeffrey (University of Saskatchewan, Canada)
- The uneven spread of private food quality standards over time and space. Insa Flachsbarth (University of Göttingen, Germany), Nina Grassnick (University of Göttingen, Germany), Amjad Masood (Khwaja Fareed University of Engineering and Information Technology, Pakistan), Bernhard Brümmer (University of Göttingen, Germany)
- Application of a multi-market partial equilibrium model in the pig sector of Vietnam and Uganda. Lucila A. Lapar (International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), Vietnam), Emily Ouma (ILRI, Uganda), Peter Lule (ILRI, Uganda), Nguyen Ngoc Que (Centre for Agricultural Policy (CAP), Institute for Policy and Strategy in Agriculture and Rural Development, Vietnam), Dang Kim Khoi (Centre for Agricultural Policy (CAP), Institute for Policy and Strategy in Agriculture and Rural Development, Vietnam), and Karl M. Rich (ILRI, Vietnam)
Session 3. Linkage between rural transformation, climate change, and natural resource management (NRM)
- Heterogeneous impact of livelihood diversification: Cross-country evidence from sub-Saharan Africa. Solomon Asfaw (Green Climate Fund), Ada Ignaciuk (FAO, Italy), Gloria Di Caprera (University of Tor Vergata, Italy), Antonio Scognamillo and Nicholas Sitko (FAO, Italy)
- Sustainable land management under rural transformation in Africa. Thomas S. Jayne (Michigan State University, USA), Frank Place (CGIAR Research Program on Policies, Institutions, and Markets/International Food Policy Research Institute, USA), Sieglinde Snapp (Michigan State University, USA)
- Livelihood trajectory models reveal the importance of interactive effects on increasing rural households’ capacity for transformational change. Mary Crossland (World Agroforestry Centre, Kenya / Bangor University, Wales, UK), Fergus Sinclair (World Agroforestry Centre, Kenya / Bangor University, Wales, UK), Tim Pagella (World Agroforestry Centre, Kenya / Bangor University, Wales, UK), Jasper Taylor (Simulistics Ltd., Edinburgh, UK), Lalisa Duguma (World Agroforestry Centre, Kenya), Leigh Winowiecki (World Agroforestry Centre, Kenya)
Session 4. What about the slow transformers?
- Myanmar’s rural economy: A case study in delayed transformation. Ben Belton (Michigan State University, USA), Mateusz Filipski (International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), USA), Duncan Boughton, Nilar Aung (Michigan State University, USA)
- Change and rigidity in youth employment patterns in Malawi. Bob Baulch (IFPRI, Malawi), Todd Benson (IFPRI), Alvina Erman (The World Bank, USA) and Yanjanani Lifeyo (IFPRI)
- Improved transportation infrastructure and rural transformation: Insights from a developing country. Khondoker Mottaleb (International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT), Mexico)
- Involvement and career preferences of rural male and female youth in India. Prakashan Chellattan Veettil, Bidhan K. Mohapatra, Prabhakaran T. Reghu (International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), India) and Samarendu Mohanty (International Potato Centre (CIP), Vietnam)
We live-streamed the event on our Facebook page, recordings available here.