Technology and innovation trajectories in the Rwandan Agriculture sector: Are value chains an option?

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Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs (CC BY-NC-ND)
journal article
African Journal of Science, Technology, Innovation and Development
Yongabo, P.

Technology and innovation are important in addressing complex problems in the agricultural sector in many developing communities. However, ways and mechanisms to integrate them in the agricultural sector are still a challenge due to the lack of clear pathways and trajectories. Value chains are seen as a strong policy instrument to increase profitability in the agricultural sector; there is also debate around whether value chains can be a potential option to organize technology and innovation trajectories in agriculture. This paper contributes to this debate by exploring the question of how value chain interactions are organized for producing, transferring and using knowledge in the Rwandan agricultural sector. Interviews with relevant value chain actors and a review of reports and scientific literature were used to explore this question. Empirical findings show that value chain structural organization can be an entry point to mainstream technology and innovation. However, this requires building synergies and complementarities among actors. Interactive learning among value chain actors is imperative, with the use of both scientific and indigenous knowledge. Linking value chains to innovation systems is one option to explore for maximizing the potential of value chains in integrating technology and innovation in the agricultural sector.

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technology transfer
innovation system
value chain