Agricultural Innovation for Food Security and Poverty Reduction in the 21st Century: Issues for Africa and the World

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working paper
Scherr, S. J.
Wallace, C.
Buck, L.

The purpose of this issues paper is to provide an overview of the issues, numbers, disputes, and approaches so that contributors to SOW11 can share a common framework and consider how the innovations they describe fit into the larger international discourse. The paper is structured as follows: • Section 2 describes diverse perspectives on food security that emphasize global supply chains to feed middle-class populations in cities; smallholder farmers who still supply much of the world; and smallholder farmers who are relatively disengaged in commercial markets. • Section 3 discusses the “landscape” of agricultural innovations and lays out three major challenges for SOW11 authors to evaluate. • Sections 4, 5, and 6 describe these challenges in greater detail: working around the conflicting policy perspectives on the causes and solutions to hunger and global food security; integrating the food security agenda with the climate and ecosystem restoration agendas; and empowering farmers and communities at risk of food insecurity and hunger. • Section 7 proposes some key questions and approaches that SOW11 authors may want to consider to address these challenges. • Annex I (see separate document) presents some basic facts about hunger and food insecurity, agricultural production patterns, and the environmental threats and impacts of agriculture that can help put the issues in context.

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