CGIAR PIM Workshop

Rural Transformation in the 21st Century: The Challenges of Low-Income, Late-Transforming Countries


International Conference of Agricultural Economists, Pre-Conference Symposium

Vancouver, BC, Canada, July 28, 2018

Organizer: CGIAR Research Program on Policies, Institutions, and Markets (PIM)


Rural Transformation refers to the change (usually as part of an economy-wide process of structural transformation) of rural areas that are poor and largely based on agriculture to more diversified and prosperous ones. Countries undergoing the process in the 21st century face a different context than those that did so in the 19th or 20th centuries. Competition from foreign suppliers is tough, even in local markets in low income countries. Jobs for young people are scarce. Late-transformers lag, rather than lead, global technical innovation. Migration is risky. The challenges of late transformation are offset, at least partially, by benefits; to leap-frog technologies, to sell into distant markets, to use ICT for productive and social purposes, to deploy a more educated rural population, and to access flows of remittances. Researchers accordingly ask what role agriculture and food systems play in late-transforming countries, and what interventions can facilitate shared growth, better nutrition, and sound natural resource management as economies diversify.

This pre-conference symposium is convened by the CGIAR Research Program on Policies, Institutions, and Markets as the Second Annual Social Science Conference of CGIAR. Contributions are invited from CGIAR scientists, research partners, and IAAE members.


The symposium will have a brief opening, four sessions, and a closing panel. Papers are invited for the following sessions:

1.      New insights into 21st century rural transformation; what does it look like in different regions?  Papers should address an aspect of transformation important in Africa south of the Sahara, South Asia, Central Asia, and/or transforming parts of Southeast Asia, and provide new empirical or theoretical insights.  Topics addressing gender and age dimensions of transformation are particularly welcome.

2.      Implications of 21st century rural transformation for markets and value chains: What factors allow small producers, women, youth, and marginalized actors to participate successfully in value chains? What is the capacity for job creation? How does urbanization affect opportunities along value chains? Do market distortions impede transformation? 

3.      Linkage between rural transformation, climate change, and NRM:  What are institutional options to manage natural resources as settlement becomes denser and demand for land, forest products, minerals, water, etc. increases? What implications does transformation have for the natural resource base and mitigation of and adaptation to climate change?

4.      What about the non-transformers? Where and why are countries stuck with rural stagnation or even decline; e.g., poverty, resource degradation, low productivity agriculture, hunger, and malnourishment? What are viable strategies to address the acute needs of these countries or localities?

5.      Closing: Panel of conclusions

a. What are the implications of late transformation for the agricultural economics profession?

b. What are the implications of late transformation for CGIAR?

c. What are the implications of late transformation for development agencies?





January 15, 2018: Deadline for submission of abstracts. Abstracts should be approximately 800-1500 words, and state the objective of the research, methods used, and (where possible) principal results and major conclusions. Please send abstracts to Frank Place ( with cc to Evgeniya Anisimova (


February 1, 2018: Authors of selected abstracts notified and invited to submit full papers


April 2, 2018: Deadline for submission of full (draft) papers


April – May 2018: Feedback from the planning committee on papers


July 28, 2018: Symposium



Please note that submissions to the Workshop cannot be submitted as a Contributed Paper to the Conference itself.

Conference Host: Secretariat: