Effective instruments for innovation investment: CoSAI’s insights at the AGRF 2021 Summit

What will it take to transform global food systems? The answer is complicated – somewhat like a jigsaw puzzle with a few missing pieces. However, researchers are working hard to assemble the evidence and put the different puzzle pieces in place. What we’re finding is that innovation – in policies, technologies, finance, and institutions – can assist, and even catalyze, this critical food systems transformation.  

The Commission on Sustainable Agriculture Intensification (CoSAI) is contributing to this growing body of research. In its recently published study, the Commission found that roughly USD 60 billion per year is being spent on innovation for sustainable agricultural intensification in the Global South. But worryingly, only 7% of this investment has explicit environmental objectives and only half of that has clear social objectives. If we are to truly transform food systems, we not only need more, but also better investment in innovation.

Over the past 20 years, a range of new approaches and financial instruments have been used to stimulate and support innovation in agriculture, to promote user involvement, and to promote more rapid and relevant development and uptake at scale. The effective instruments for innovation investment study reviews the effectiveness of these different approaches in different contexts. The study aims to answer both how effectively different instruments can promote the environmental, social, and economic objectives in sustainable agricultural intensification, and how instruments can be better selected and designed. With this information at hand, better innovation investment decisions can be made – a critical piece for solving the food systems transformation puzzle.

At this year’s African Green Revolution Forum (AGRF) 2021 Summit, CoSAI will share emerging evidence from their study in a side-event called Effective Instruments for Innovation Investment on September 6. The Summit is being held both in-person in Nairobi and virtually, being streamed through their platform. This year's theme, pathways to recovery and resilient food systems, is a call to take serious action to transform our food systems so that they deliver sufficient and nutritious food while safeguarding the environment and creating sustainable jobs and prosperity for Africa. Learn more about the Summit here

Join us on September 6 at 9:00–10:00 CEST. Be part of the discussion by registering for the side-event here

About AGRF

The AGRF is the world's premier forum for African agriculture, bringing together stakeholders in the agricultural landscape to take practical actions and share lessons that will move African agriculture forward.