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Feeding three billion additional people over the next four decades and improving food security for one billion people who are currently hungry or malnourished—all in an era of worsening land and water scarcity, climate change, and declining crop yields—is a dire challenge. Meeting it will require a giant leap in agricultural innovation in developing countries, similar to the 1960s Green Revolution. You can help to design the solution. I drafted a paper analyzing the circumstances under which “pull mechanisms,” where donors stimulate demand for new technologies, might be a useful complement to traditional “push mechanisms,” where donors provide funding to increase the supply of research and development (R&D). With a pull mechanism, donors seek to engage the private sector, which is almost entirely absent today in developing country agricultural R&D, and they pay only when specified outcomes are delivered.

I want to know whether you think that donor-funded, market-based financing mechanisms, like the Advance Market Commitment (AMC) for a pneumococcal vaccine currently in the pilot stage, could help. If so, what are your candidates for an agricultural pilot? You can read the paper and I hope that you’ll join the others that have already provided feedback and submit your own comment. If you’ll be in Washington on Friday, April 23, please join us for a discussion of these issues with Assistant Deputy Minister for Finance Canada Graham Flack, Michael Kremer, and others. The event will be held at the World Bank rather than our usual premises. You can sign up here.

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CGD blog posts reflect the views of the authors drawing on prior research and experience in their areas of expertise. CGD does not take institutional positions.