Scaling up in agriculture, rural development, and nutrition

Johannes F. Linn, ed.
2020 vision focus

Taking successful development interventions to scale is critical if the world is to achieve the Millennium Development Goals and make essential gains in the fight for improved agricultural productivity, rural incomes, and nutrition. How to support scaling up in these three areas, however, is a major challenge. This collection of policy briefs is designed to contribute to a better understanding of the experience to date and the lessons for the future.

Scaling up means expanding, replicating, adapting, and sustaining successful policies, programs, or projects to reach a greater number of people; it is part of a broader process of innovation and learning. A new idea, model, or approach is typically embodied in a pilot project of limited impact; with monitoring and evaluation, the knowledge acquired from the pilot experience can be used to scale up the model to create larger impacts. The process generally occurs in an iterative and interactive cycle, as the experience from scaling up feeds back into new ideas and learning.

The authors of the 20 policy briefs included here explore the experience of scaling up successful interventions in agriculture, rural development, and nutrition under five broad headings: (1) the role of rural community engagement, (2) the importance of value chains, (3) the intricacies of scaling up nutrition interventions, (4) the lessons learned from institutional approaches, and (5) the experience of international aid donors.

There is no blueprint for when and how to take an intervention to scale, but the examples and experiences described in this series of policy briefs offer important insights into how to address the key global issues of agricultural productivity, food insecurity, and rural poverty.


Introduction Shenggen Fan and Rajul Pandya-Lorch;
1. Overview: Pathways, Drivers, and Spaces Johannes F. Linn;
2. Investing in Agriculture to Reduce Poverty and Hunger Kevin Cleaver;
3. Moving Local- and Community-Driven Development from Boutique to Large Scale Hans P. Binswanger- Mkhize and Jacomina P. de Regt;
4. Empowering Local Communities in the Highlands of Peru Barbara Massler;
5. Rehabilitating China’s Loess Plateau John Mackedon;
6. Building on Successes with Regreening in the West African Sahel Chris Reij;
7. Scaling Up Agricultural Value Chains for Pro-Poor Development Arntraud Hartmann;
8. Scaling Up Agricultural Supply Chains in the Private Sector Beth Sauerhaft and Ian Hope-Johnstone;
9. SUN: A Global Movement to Accelerate Reduction of Maternal and Child Undernutrition David Nabarro, Purnima Menon, Marie Ruel, and Sivan Yosef;
10. Alive & Thrive: Expanding Community Interventions to Improve Nutrition in Bangladesh Raisul Haque, Kaosar Afsana, Tina Sanghvi, Saiqa Siraj, and Purnima Menon;
11. Delivering Nutrients Widely through Biofortification: Building on Orange Sweet Potato Howdy Bouis and Yassir Islam;
12. Addressing Institutional Challenges to Large-scale Implementation Richard Kohl;
13. Aga Khan Development Network: Expanding Rural Support Programs in South Asia Henri Suter, Leanne Sedowski, and Joanne Trotter;
14. SEWA: Supporting Village-Level Organizations to Improve Rural Livelihoods Raj M. Desai and Shareen Joshi;
15. Oxfam America: Learning from the System of Rice Intensification in Northern Vietnam Gina E. Castillo, Minh Nguyet Le, and Kimberly Pfeifer;
16. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation: Catalyzing Agricultural Innovation Prabhu Pingali;
17. IFAD: Adopting a New Systematic Approach to Scaling Up Agricultural and Rural Development Cheikh M. Sourang;
18. Learning from the Experience of Vertical Funds Keith Bezanson, Paul Isenman, and Alex Shakow;
19. Going to Scale in Fragile States: Can it Work? Should We Try? Laurence Chandy;
20. Lessons on Scaling-up: Opportunities and Challenges for the Future Johannes F. Linn;