Evolution of social science research at ICRISAT, and a case study in Zimbabwe

Alumira, J D and Bantilan, M C S and Moyo, T S (2007) Evolution of social science research at ICRISAT, and a case study in Zimbabwe. Journal of SAT Agricultural Research (20). pp. 3-19. ISSN 0973-3094

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Social science research (SSR) at ICRISAT evolved in the context of its socio-economics program, covering agricultural economics, science and technology policy, rural sociology, and anthropology (Byerlee 2001). These disciplines play complementary roles in obtaining a basic understanding of the rural economy in the semi-arid tropics (SAT), identifying priorities for research, informing policy, monitoring research impacts and helping to direct investments by ICRISAT’s partners. The first part of this paper analyzes the evolution of SSR in ICRISAT. The second part is a recent case study on livelihood diversification behavior among smallholder farm communities in Zimbabwe. It illustrates how SSR contributes to livelihood analysis, targeting of research and development, and informing policy. The structure and content of SSR at ICRISAT has been shaped by the Institute’s overall research strategies over time. Before 1996, ICRISAT’s major emphasis was on increasing production and food security through new technologies and new uses for our mandate crops. The strategy focused on more efficient use of small quantities of inputs and their timely application to enrich nutrient-poor soils. In the latter half of the 1990s, there was renewed effort on problem-based, impact-driven science and delivery of outputs. By 1997, the Institute’s strategy aimed to identify alternative uses of the natural resource base that could help reduce poverty, promote food security, and prevent environmental degradation. In line with these changes, socio-economics research focused on analysis of the potential of agriculture in the semiarid tropics, alternative investment strategies, input and output markets, and policy. In accordance with the CGIAR’s vision of a food-secure world by 2010, ICRISAT’s vision today is to improve the wellbeing of the SAT poor through agricultural research for impact. The Institute has a mandate to enhance the livelihoods of the poor in semi-arid farming systems through integrated management of genetic and natural resources (ICRISAT 1980–2003).

Item Type: Article
Subjects: Others > Agriculture-Farming, Production, Technology, Economics
Depositing User: Ms Vibha Raju
Date Deposited: 26 Oct 2011 10:55
Last Modified: 18 Mar 2013 08:25
URI: http://oar.icrisat.org/id/eprint/2841
Official URL:
Acknowledgement: UNSPECIFIED
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