A sustainable and dynamic approach to agricultural development has remained of great concern to the government and priority for discourse in the policy arena. Past efforts have concentrated on investment in research and development which was established on the consensus that the application of science and technology is responsible for the structural transformation required to propel the agricultural sector. Public research and extension institutions are projected as the sole source of innovation/knowledge requisite to trigger development in the agricultural sector. Several other relevant macro economic and meso level factors such as policy and legislative framework and nature of human capital, physical infrastructure, finance and investment climate and system for facilitating information and knowledge flows were not considered as important. The emerging reforms and changes in knowledge structure of agriculture explicitly indicate that the traditional agricultural research and extension system alone cannot sufficiently address the challenges of the new trends. Innovation system approach offers a holistic and, multi-disciplinary approach to innovation and processes, incorporating emerging reforms and approaches for agricultural development. This paper concludes that government, policy makers, and administrators should invest and promote researches in sectors/sub sectors of economic and food security importance, using this analytical framework. Government should encourage and facilitate farmer and private sector innovative strength by enacting favourable polices (patenting and reward system) that will act as incentives. Institutional context of any innovation should be sufficiently analyzed by policy makers as requisite to promoting such innovation, while extension workers should build such information in technology packages to farmers.
Key words: Agricultural innovation system, research, extension, linkages, farmers.
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