The Independent Office of Evaluation has prepared an evaluation synthesis report on Technical Innovations for Rural Poverty Reduction, drawing information from evaluations undertaken between 2010 and 2018. The report serves as a building block for the upcoming corporate-level evaluation on Innovation and Productivity Growth for Inclusive and Sustainable Agriculture, which will provide a wider assessment of IFAD’s work on innovation.
The evaluation synthesis report found technical innovations to be mainstreamed in IFAD. In fact, the majority of IFAD projects feature a variety of innovations, especially in the categories of crop diversification, livestock and crop management. The innovations have brought about principally two types of change: productivity enhancing and, to a lesser extent, transformative change. Productivity enhancing innovations improve returns to land, labour and capital through incremental changes to the farm business. Transformative innovations, on the other hand, significantly alter farming system structures and functions by introducing new enterprises or radically different ways of agricultural technologies.
While transformative innovations are considered higher-risk and usually require broader packages of support to be successful, they have the potential for higher rewards. IFAD should enhance its focus on transformative processes, including by leveraging its strengths in providing the necessary support and facilitating relevant partnerships, while ensuring that the risks associated with innovations are carefully managed.