Flagship 2: Economywide Factors Affecting Agricultural Growth and Rural Transformation

The translation of globally relevant research findings into impact on the ground is mediated through decisions of millions of national and local actors subject to rules, constraints, and incentives specific to place and time. These actors operate in a context of rural and structural transformation.

Rural transformation refers to the process through which rural incomes grow, rural economies diversify, and linkages with urban and peri-urban areas strengthen. Structural transformation refers to the process through which an economy initially dominated by agriculture experiences faster growth in the manufacturing and service sectors than in agriculture, and becomes less dependent on agricultural jobs and value addition over time.

Agriculture contributes to development through direct and indirect, or economywide, impacts. The indirect impacts are large, and associated with structural and rural transformation. Economywide effects bring changes in relative factor costs (i.e., land, labor, and capital), new patterns of consumption, and changes in opportunities for trade and specialization.

PIM’s Flagship 2 focuses on the following research questions:

  • What is the nature of transformation in late-transforming countries (that is, those undergoing the process in the 21st century), and what is the role of agriculture? How are land and labor markets transforming, and where are jobs created for rural young people?
  • What levels and composition of public spending for agriculture contribute to growth and poverty reduction in late-transforming countries? How can budgets best be executed to deliver high quality goods and services to rural constituents?
  • What are political economy factors that influence agricultural and rural outcomes in late-transforming countries? At what entry points in the policy process can evidence influence outcomes?

Late-transforming countries face internal challenges in a context of external and global grand challenges. Among the latter are climate change, degradation of water, soil, forests, fish stocks, and biodiversity, urbanization without significant industrialization, high levels of youth unemployment, and increasing competition for land. Many of these challenges are particularly acute in Africa south of the Sahara, where most late-transforming countries are located; therefore, the work of Flagship 2 is primarily concentrated in this region, with emphasis on Ethiopia, Ghana, Malawi, Mozambique, Nigeria, Tanzania, and Uganda. The work is well aligned with the Malabo Declaration, the articulation in 2014 by African Heads of State and Government of their new commitments to the CAADP agenda.

Client-Responsive Country and Regional Engagement and Partnership research cluster reflects the importance of country partners for achieving outcomes. It includes the IFPRI Country Strategy Support Programs in Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Ghana, Malawi, Nigeria, and MENA, and the programs of research and policy support in Myanmar, Cambodia, Thailand, Nepal, Central Asia, and China, which focus on partnerships with and building capacities of national stakeholders for improved policy making.

See PIM Proposal for Phase 2 (2017-2022) for more information.


Research clusters

  • Cluster 2.1: Agricultural Transformation and Rural Incomes
  • Cluster 2.2: Public Investments and Institutions
  • Cluster 2.3: Political Economy and Policy Processes
  • Cluster 2.4: Client-Responsive Country and Regional Engagement and Partnership

Geographic focus

Africa south of the Sahara with emphasis on Ethiopia, Ghana, Malawi, Mozambique, Nigeria, Tanzania, and Uganda - on the national and subnational level. For Cluster 2.4: Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Ghana, Malawi, Nigeria, MENA region, Myanmar, Cambodia, Thailand, Nepal, Central Asia, and China.

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Flagship 2 impact pathways

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