The impact of agricultural research: evidence from West Africa

Can agricultural research help to enlist smallholders and their resources for global food security? The Convergence of Sciences (CoS) research programme in Benin and Ghana (2002–2006) tested the impact of technology development, using a pathway for impact which featured ‘technographies’, diagnostic studies, and farmer-experimenter groups to ensure appropriateness. Within the existing small windows of opportunity only marginal improvements proved possible. The CoS team realised and partly tested the notion that innovation is predicated upon change of the institutions that frame opportunity. The sequel to CoS (2008–2013) uses an innovation system approach to pursue cross-system institutional change.