Inderscience Publishers

Research prizes: a new kind of incentive for innovation in African agriculture

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This paper identifies market failures that limit agricultural R&D for Africa and other resource-poor environments, and proposes a way to complement existing institutions with cash prizes for the dissemination of successful new technologies adopted by low-income farmers. The proposed prize institution would use agronomic experiments and farm surveys to document the value of innovations after their initial diffusion, and offer payments in proportion to estimated social benefits in target regions. Such prizes would be a patent-like 'pull mechanism' that pays innovators for actual results rather than proposals, adapted to reward technologies such as improved genetics and agronomic techniques.

Keywords: intellectual property rights, research incentives, research funding, agricultural biotechnology, agricultural R&, D, research and development, developing countries, Africa, low-income farmers, small-scale farming, technology dissemination, research prizes, pull mechanism, agricultural innovation, innovation dissemination

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