Institute for Technology Assessment and  Systems Analysis (ITAS)

Agricultural Technologies for Developing Countries

Project description

Agriculture for development is back on the international agenda. Around half of the world population lives in rural regions, their existence mainly based on agriculture. The vast majority of the farmers in developing countries are smallholders (85 %), producing agricultural goods on less than 2 hectares, and most of the poor (75 %) are living in rural regions. The climate change will have a disproportionate impact on developing countries and the poor. An adjustment of the farming systems to climate change is urgently needed. At the same time, increasing agricultural production and strong economic growth in agriculture – with a focus on small farmers – are absolutely essential to reduce poverty.

Against this background and in the framework of the European Technology Assessment Group (ETAG), ITAS has assessed the potentials of agricultural technologies for developing countries for STOA. In the course of this survey, the potential contributions of selected and important farming systems (as well as of their technologies and management practices) to increased food production and food security have been analyzed, focusing on their suitability for small farmers. The following farming systems have been considered throughout a series of case studies:

  • Rainwater harvesting
  • Conservation agriculture
  • System of rice intensification
  • Organic farming
  • Agroforestry systems
  • Transgenic plants

The project was completed with the following final report:

Rolf Meyer
Agricultural technologies for developing countries
Brussels: European Parliament 2009 (IP/A/STOA/FWC/2005-28/SC42)

Additionally to the final reports, the following annexes are available:




PD Dr. Rolf Meyer
Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT)
Institute for Technology Assessment and Systems Analysis (ITAS)
P.O. Box 3640
76021 Karlsruhe

Tel.: +49 721 608-24868