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Steven Prager – Innovation for Inclusive Agricultural Transformation | GES Colloquium

September 6, 2022 @ 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm

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Innovation for Inclusive Agricultural Transformation

Steven D. Prager, PhD., Senior Program Officer for Agricultural Transformation Strategy at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation


Understanding inclusive agricultural transformation through the lenses of climate adaptation and labor productivity.


In many lower- and middle-income countries agriculture is not only the basis for food security but also the main path toward economic prosperity for countless small-scale producers. Agriculture systems are highly heterogeneous, however, and this heterogeneity is compounded by the nearly infinite variation in the individual circumstances of those that participate in the production process. At the same time, small-scale producers face several challenges and, in many instances, compound challenges ranging from Covid and climate change to conflict and crop disease. Given these complexities, how can we focus on intentional, inclusive approaches to help transform agriculture systems such that their stewards become more resilient and more predictably on a path to prosperity?

To better understand both the opportunities for agricultural transformation and the challenges associated therewith, this presentation will examine “agricultural research for development” (AR4D) through the lenses of both climate adaptation and labor productivity. Here we consider the role of innovation in these areas as a core consideration in thinking about inclusive agricultural transformation (IAT). Innovation in areas from policy to farmer services to the crops themselves must be layered together in context appropriate ways in order to realize the changes needed to improve agricultural development outcomes. From the identification of specific outcomes to the corresponding theories of change, strategies, policy and investment, inclusive agricultural transformation must be both priority-based and right-sized. While there are numerous entry points for fostering climate-sensitive and inclusive agricultural development, through this dialog we will explore the idea that simultaneous consideration of labor productivity and climate adaptation increasingly has the potential to become a cornerstone of new thinking in IAT.

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Speaker Bio

A geographer by training, Dr. Steven Prager has recently joined the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation after ten years as a professor of geography at the University of Wyoming and, more recently, eight years as a research scientist with the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) based in Cali, Colombia. At the University of Wyoming, Steven taught and led research in a range of themes mostly centered around spatial modeling and sustainable development. Steven later brought this experience to CIAT and the world of agricultural research for development. At CIAT, he developed and co-led several different research programs, including the “Global Futures and Strategic Foresight” activity with the Policies, Institutions, and Markets research program of the CGIAR. He also played a critical role in building out a LAC-wide and then global scale program in climate services, several efforts related to Sustainable Food Systems, and the SERVIR Amazonia program designed to bring best in class remote sensing and geospatial analysis to local communities throughout the Amazon Basin. In his new role with BMGF, Steve is working with the Foundation’s Adaptation Systems and Integration team to bring innovations in climate adaptation to serve small-scale producers throughout Africa and South Asia.

GES Colloquium is jointly taught by Drs. Jen Baltzegar and Dawn Rodriguez-Ward, who you may contact with any class-specific questions. Colloquium will be held in-person in Poe 202, as well as live-streamed via Zoom. Please subscribe to the GES newsletter and Twitter for updates .


September 6, 2022
12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
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Poe 202 (North Campus)
2310 Katharine Stinson Dr.
Raleigh, NC 27607 United States
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