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Feeding an additional three billion people over the next four decades, along with providing food security for another one billion people that are currently hungry or malnourished, is a huge challenge. Meeting those goals in a context of land and water scarcity, climate change, and declining crop yields will require another giant leap in agricultural innovation.
The aim of this paper is to stimulate a dialogue on what new approaches might be needed to meet these needs and how innovative funding mechanisms could play a role. In particular, could “pull mechanisms,” where donors stimulate demand for new technologies, 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 R&D for agriculture, and they pay only when specified outcomes are delivered and adopted.