New Asian challenges: Missing linkages in Asian agricultural innovation and the role of public research organisations in four small- and medium-sized Asian countries
Asian agriculture is faced with major new challenges as a result of globalisation, urbanisation and environmental problems such as climate change. To meet these challenges, Asian agriculture needs to become more knowledge intensive and innovation oriented. This article frames the new Asian challenge in terms of innovation theory, emphasising the importance of the co-evolution of technological and institutional change and linkages between actors in open, interactive innovation processes. It studies the performance of agricultural research and technology organisations (RTOs) in four small and medium-sized South and Southeast Asian economies: Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Indonesia and Vietnam. A key performance issue is the linkages between actors, which is a key weakness in the agricultural innovation systems of most Asian countries. The need for effective linkages is growing as agricultural production and innovation are becoming increasingly complex due to the impact of the consecutive green, sustainability, biotechnology and supermarket revolutions. Linkages are in short supply, but the demand for them is exploding. As a consequence, traditional public agricultural research organisations in Asia, created at the time of the green revolution, no longer play a central role in agricultural innovation as they did when countries faced only one challenge.