International Conference on Agricultural Technology Innovations for Poverty Reduction and Sustainable Productivity Growth – Tapping the Opportunities and Overcoming Constraints, November 6-8, 2013

Conference organized at Center for Development Research (ZEF), University of Bonn, Germany

The objective of the “Technology assessment and farm household segmentation for inclusive poverty reduction and sustainable productivity growth in agriculture” (TIGA) project is to enhance the inclusion of poor small farming communities in agricultural technology innovations. Specifically, the project seeks to create a thorough understanding of the interactions between technology needs, farming systems, ecological resources and poverty characteristics in the different strata of the poor, and to link these insights with technology assessments in order to guide action to overcome current barriers to technology access and adoption. In support of the objective to enable all segments of the poor to benefit from crop technology innovations (directly or by secondary growth linkages) the project also aims at identifying technology choices in combination with institutional innovation measures for reaching all strata of the rural poor.

The TIGA project identified areas and people with unused potential in marginal locations. Whereas technology-driven approaches tend to favor those with better adoption capabilities, the TIGA approach aims at a cross section of segments of the rural poor which are characterized by varying degrees of overlapping human capabilities and agro-ecological potentials. Inclusive growth in the agricultural sectors of India (Odisha, Bihar), Bangladesh, Ethiopia and Ghana refers to addressing these potentials of poor smallholders by means of technological and institutional innovations. The goals of this conference are to present promising innovations and their likely impact on rural populations in the target countries and to discuss opportunities and constraints for sustainable productivity growth in agriculture in South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa.

International Roundtable Conference on Marginality and Extreme Poverty: "Towards Inclusive Development for and with the Poorest", June 20‐22, 2011

Conference organized at Center for Development Research (ZEF), University of Bonn, Germany

The poorest are often marginalized, living at the edge of economic, ecological, social and political systems. Incidences of most extreme poverty and food insecurity are commonly concentrated in remote and rural areas with the furthest distance to transport, public service and market infrastructure. In addition, the marginalized poor often belong to ethnic minorities and socially excluded groups and are women. Marginalization prevents them from living up to their potentials, instead trapping them in a continuous cycle of poverty. This situation is not only socially unfair, but also economically inefficient.

Although there has been progress in reducing the number of poor at the global level, especially those just below the income poverty line, the marginalized poor have been left behind. In particular in Sub Saharan Africa, but also in other parts of the world, their numbers are stagnating or increasing. Conventional poverty reduction and development programs struggle to effectively reach the poorest or respond to their needs because they are not just poorer than the poor – their poverty is also structurally different from poverty just around the poverty line.

The nature, extent and causes of marginality, how it drives extreme poverty and what can be done to tackle these complex interactions remain poorly understood. To address these gaps, the conference will assess the state of the art in research and projects on marginality and extreme poverty, ask what has been achieved so far and how, and identify the barriers that need to be overcome to reach the marginalized poor. To this end, the conference will bring together about 40 leading thinkers and actors from diverse disciplinary and professional backgrounds, including economists and other social scientists, ecologists, ethnologists, geographers, social entrepreneurs and development practitioners, to:

  • elucidate the nature of marginality and its links to extreme poverty, and identify therequired data for measurement and analysis of causal relations,
  • review possible policies and interventions targeted at poverty reduction and asseshow they can work for the marginalized poor, and
  • facilitate exchange between researchers, the private sector and development practitioners to discuss best practice examples and identify conditions of success.

Innovative actions in public policies, in social entrepreneurship, social investment mobilization and programs shall be explored.

Based on these discussions, insights to date and unanswered questions will be articulated to prepare the ground for a larger collaborative research network and program on exploring the opportunities for reduction of marginality and extreme poverty. The papers prepared for the conferences and the conclusions and recommendations will be published as an edited volume.

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