This project aimed to answer questions about how policies and delivery institutions might assist. The focus was on raising and stabilizing farmers’ incomes in the Eastern Gangetic Plain (EGP) but the project also sought to explore and promote ways of simultaneously fostering agricultural intensification, integrated decision making and inclusiveness.
With rural poverty endemic across the region and food insecurity being common, the future prosperity of the massive population of the EGP is at a crossroads. Almost every analysis of the EGP for the past two decades has concluded that one of the most feasible paths for development is increased intensification of agriculture (e.g. Erenstein et al. 2008). What are the ‘best’ policy/delivery combinations and can experts be engaged to critically review the existing approaches and look for better solutions? In addition, are the ‘best’ solutions acceptable to farmers? The purpose of this project was to tackle these questions head-on but to do so in a way that encouraged the policy communities to be directly engaged.
- Created an understanding within agencies of the existing institutions that influence farm level choices across local and district scales against specific national objectives.
- Empirically evaluated the performance of different institutional designs across three domains (knowledge transfer, water property rights and risk management), using economic efficiency, equity and environmental sustainability as yardsticks.
- Fostered collaboration with and within district, state and national authorities by developing an agreed evidence-based framework for shaping institutions that promotes the ‘3 I’s’.
- Created institutional ‘field sites’ where the benefits of institutional change can be showcased and monitored beyond the life of this project.
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