Sector-based Agriculture Development: Can it Work?

    Now is the right time to improve – and implement – sector-based approaches to agricultural development, Lidia Cabral argues in a recent Overseas Development Institute briefing paper. Such approaches may not have been universally successful, but they can have a lasting impact if implemented well.

    Sector-based approaches have helped to improve donor coordination and promote country ownership. But they have also resulted in poor sector policies and slow decision-making processes. All of this may increase aid effectiveness, says Cabral.

    To be sure, the success of sector-based programs isn’t universal. They often do not bring together all sources of agricultural aid, the ODI research fellow notes. They often tend to overemphasize systems, leading to a initiatives that are somewhat removed from the realities on the ground.

    Now is a great time to address these issues, according to Cabral: The international aid architecture is changing fast and there are new sources of funding in emerging economies, foundations and philanthropists.

    Cabral also suggests the following cornerstones of a sector-based approach to agricultural development:

    • - Support locally-owned frameworks.

    • - Prioritize results over systems.

    • - Find a suitable institution to implement and manage sector-based approaches.

    • - Provide a variety of aid modalities drawn from best practices in the field.

    • - Bridge gaps in agricultural performance and assessment.

    About the author

    • Ivy Mungcal

      As former senior staff writer, Ivy Mungcal contributed to several Devex publications. Her focus is on breaking news, and in particular on global aid reform and trends in the United States, Europe, the Caribbean, and the Americas. Before joining Devex in 2009, Ivy produced specialized content for U.S. and U.K.-based business websites.