Is the Current Agriculture Technology Strategy Unsuitable for Getting Smallholders Out of Poverty?

Currently, agriculture technology strategies are mostly based on implementing technologies and innovations that increase yield. This may seem in line with SDG 2.3 which aims to double the agricultural productivity and the incomes of small-scale food producers by 2030. Yet yield enhancements are not the only way of increasing productivity, and increasing incomes of smallholders is arguably more directly related to labor (rather than land) productivity. Is the reason for the lack of adoption of seemingly promising technologies because of external or internal constraints—meaning farmers want to adopt them but can’t—or are new technologies, even when they are yield enhancing, simply not beneficial to many farmers?

In her recent paper, Karen Macours (Associate Professor at the Paris School of Economics and Researcher at the French National Institute for Agricultural Research- INRA), explores whether the current agriculture technology strategy is suitable to lift smallholders out of poverty.