Component 3

Policy and institutional innovations for scaling



To create a more conducive enabling environment for sustainable food systems by building capacity within district, state and national agencies in the EGP to identify and promote institutions that foster successful intensification, integrated decision making, inclusiveness and strategic planning in agriculture. 

Key Activities

  • Comprehensive mapping of the array of institutions that influence farm-level choices across local and district scales, against the specific national objectives of increased intensification, integrated decision making and inclusiveness respectively. This requires an investigation of the full suite of policies and programs that shape farmer choices in the region.

  • Using a sub-set of domain examples, empirically scrutinise the performance of different institutional designs and their related hierarchies. The domains will cover information transfer; water management options under different rights and tenures; and risk management.

  • Drawing from the empirical work from each domain, work collaboratively with state and district authorities to develop a set of guidelines for shaping institutions that effectively transmit information that encourages farmer adaptation by both men and women and in different settings; strikes a balance between private and public interest in the exploitation and use of water resources; and fosters resilience to climatic and market variations.

  • Support partners to strategically plan for and implement transformational change at provincial levels in Nepal, using agricultural mechanisation as a case study.



University of South Australia (Professor Lin Crase); CIMMYT

Key Partners

  • University of South Australia


  • Bangladesh Agricultural University

  • FAO 


  • Department of Agriculture Nepal

Delivery Mechanisms

This component is delivered through two projects. The first, lead by the University of South Australia, seeks to build on the existing understanding of the benefits of intensification (CASI), to consider the interactions with integrated decision making generally and the need for inclusiveness. It will do this through an institutional lens, focusing on the rules, conventions and intermediaries (government, market-based and civil society) that link policy proclamations to on-ground choices by farmers. The specific areas of interest include institutional arrangements to optimise knowledge transfer with a focus on gender-sensitive options, water rights (in particular for women and tenant farmers) and responses to risk and uncertainty. The project will first develop a broad institutional map focusing on the three domains identified. The institutional map and the methods of analysis developed and road-tested as part of this component can be deployed to other areas of interest in the EGP as the need arises. 

Institutional influences are mediating factors that reside between the policy ambitions set at national and state levels and the incentives and choices actually faced by farmers. The research seeks to uncover how those mediating forces operate and particularly the extent to which they (a) support the policy ambition; and (b) allow and support integration of other objectives consistent with poverty alleviation in the EGP. In this regard, the overall aim is to influence those who can control and modify the institutional architecture. In some cases this will be policy makers but in other instances the licence to make change is vested within the implementing/influencing institution itself. For that reason, the strategy involves engagement with both key personnel within implementing institutions and policy-makers operating in the region. 

To harness knowledge from this group and to gain influence from the research, three sub-project steering committees will be developed, each with a focus on the specific area of interest (knowledge transfer; water property rights; risk). An overarching project steering committee will be assembled by drawing representation from each of the sub-project committees. The project steering committee will include (a) experts with a broader interest in integration (i.e. beyond the specific area of interest of the sub-committee) and (b) experts with an understanding and interest in gender inclusiveness.

A second project lead by CIMMYT aims to fill the gap between production and implementation of recommendations developed within Phase 1. There remains a gap in how to ‘put into action’ such recommendations, and as such there remain significant researchable questions relating how to strategically plan for and implement transformational change at provincial levels.

This project aims to address this gap through the production of participatory roadmaps. Roadmapping is a flexible planning technique to support strategic planning and programming. This process will be developed and applied to two newly formed provinces in Nepal. It will explore the pathways for increased CASI mechanisation through a series of activities that aim to improve linkages and capacity to create and maintain enabling environments. CASI mechanisation is integral to the wider sustainable intensification of the region, and there remains particular scope to engage with and develop provincial level institutions to increase effective policy, planning and programming related to CASI mechanisation. The project addresses a core need in developing processes that engage stakeholders at multiple scales to facilitate broad impact from agricultural mechanisation.

Commissioned Projects

Institutions to support intensification, integrated decision making and inclusiveness in agriculture in the East Gangetic Plain

This project by University of South Australia aims to develop capacity within district, state and national agencies in the EGP to identify and consistently promote institutions that foster the “3 I’s"” (intensification, integrated decision making and inclusiveness).

Sustainable Agricultural Mechanisation in the EGP: Facilitating change through institutional innovation

CIMMYT's project aims to support partners to strategically plan for and implement transformational change at provincial levels in Nepal, using agricultural mechanisation as a case study.

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