Agricultural Transformation Pathways

With the expiration of the MDGs at the end of 2015, the international community has just agreed on an ambitious and transformational post-2015 development agenda. The new set of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the concrete Targets and Indicators for achieving these goals will guide the public’s understanding of complex sustainable development challenges, inspire action, promote integrated thinking, and foster accountability. However, each country needs to choose its own sustainable development path, with specific, achievable actions and outcomes at the national and sub-national levels.


Directly and indirectly agriculture plays a central role for achieving SDGs on poverty, food and nutritional security, health, economic and social development, employment, gender equality, energy, water, climate, biodiversity and ecosystem services, peace and security, and disaster prevention or mitigation. National and local governments need to take the lead in developing and implementing their own sustainable development strategies and action plans for the transformation of their agriculture and food systems. To enter a sustainable development path in the right order, countries will need clear socio-economic, policy and technology roadmaps to achieve targets that are of high priority for them.


Together with Rothamsted Research, Iddri coordinates an international Initiative that focuses on developing, adapting and applying practical toolkits for countries to build national pathways that could help them meet the targets of high priority for the future transformation and development of their agriculture and food sector.


The primary outcomes this Initiative will achieve will be:

  1. A comprehensive understanding of transformation pathways, supporting national debates;
  2. An international learning platform;
  3. Concrete knowledge on how to deliver the SDGs.


To accomplish these three results, this Agricultural Transformation Pathways Initiative supports an internationally coordinated modelling effort in which each country analyses what it must do to achieve a transformation trajectory consistent with meeting specific sustainable development targets in terms of food security, nutrition, environment, sustainable resource use and socioeconomic development.

IDDRI, together with Rothamsted Research, has already engaged three pilot country teams to develop ambitious and realistic pathways for contrasting types of agriculture and food systems: China, Uruguay and the United Kingdom. The first country teams used the toolkit provided by the coordination team to produce harmonized first drafts of narratives which shall be published by the beginning of 2016.

This global synthesis report will depict transformational pathways for the pilot countries’ agriculture and food sectors, taking into account the different starting points and priority targets of each country. The national pathways will be, taken together, consistent with global SDGs and targets for future food and nutrition security, health, agriculture and rural development, and key environmental issues. In this first report, emphasis will be put on how the backcasting approach and the methodology and tools provided by the coordination team helped countries frame their national roadmaps and build a long-term vision for a thought through and achievable transformation of their agriculture and food sectors.

The report will be a living document to which will be added other national narratives all throughout the year 2016 – France, Tunisia, Malaysia, Australia and other countries have already expressed interest in the Initiative. It will outline the most important common challenges faced, propose ways to address these challenges through joint cooperative efforts and showcase successful examples for practical problem solving. It will identify the global and regional policies and measures that are necessary to facilitate the implementation of domestic transformation strategies and lower their transition costs.