Multiple changes in the structure of the food system and agriculture raise new opportunities and challenges for the agricultural sector. In the developing world, these changes started in Asia and Latin America, and are rapidly emerging in Africa. Urbanization and increased urban demand for food, fiber, and fuel present new market opportunities for farmers, entrepreneurs, and agribusiness in the developing world. Growing concerns over climate change, pollution and food safety are reflected in increasing consumer demand for environmental services from agriculture, electricity and fuel from biomass, and improved food quality from the food and agricultural sector. Failure to adapt to these changes may cause the rural sector and smallholder farmers to fall further behind.

Rapid advances in the biological sciences and information technology are developing new technologies and services that facilitate response to changing food systems and provide new opportunities for increasing agricultural productivity and rural employment, and improving the efficiency of the agricultural value chain. But they can also disrupt traditional value chains.

Adapting to these changes requires a rapid transformation of all segments of the agricultural supply chain: the farms (upstream), the processing, storage and wholesaling (midstream) and retailing and delivery to consumers (downstream). Decision-makers who are not aware of these institutional changes and technological opportunities — and do not have the information systems that monitor them — will slow economic development. There is a need to understand and rethink governance, policies and regulations under this changing reality. Governments, donors, the private sector should target their interventions towards a more inclusive value chain approach to support smallholders and local enterprises to effectively participate in all segments of the value chain to ensure that farmers and rural economies can benefit — rather than be excluded—from this transformation through increased productivity, increased incomes, and improved nutrition. Understanding these changes is also crucial to designing interventions to reduce pollution and assist in adaption to climate change.

Against this backdrop, there has still been limited research and few evidence-based development programs based on the new economics of value chains, especially in food and agriculture. The conference will focus on the impact of new value chains and technology on agribusiness and farmers and their capacity to implement innovation, and the policy and institutional implications of transforming value chain and the agri-food system.



2017, November 1 Call for paper
2018, January 31 Deadline for abstract and session proposals
2018, March 1 Notification of Acceptance
2018, April 15 Early Bird Registration
2018, June 12 - 15 Conference



The ICABR Conference on “Disruptive Innovations, Value Chains, and Rural Development” organized in partnership with the World Bank, will serve as a multidisciplinary forum of discussion to facilitate interactions between leading academics, World Bank staff, policymakers, government experts, civil society organizations, private-sector representatives, and representatives of other international organizations to showcase the present frontier knowledge on these issues.

The conference will be organized with contributed papers, organized sessions, policy panels and round-table discussions with the private sector. Joachim von Braun (ZEF-University of Bonn) will be the speaker of the Santaniello Lecture.

We highly encourage the participation of the private sector to showcase their innovative products and to operationalize the development of the value chain.

We invite the submission of paper abstracts, organized sessions and lightening talk proposals by January 31, 2018. Please use this link to submit a contribution before the deadline. We encourage submissions related to any aspect of the Disruptive Innovations, Value Chains and Rural Development such as:

  • The Bioeconomy and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

        The contribution of the bioeconomy to the SDGs
        Agriculture and rural development to meet the SDGs

  • Agricultural and Economic Transformation

        Agricultural and Rural Development
        Rural and Inclusive Transformation

  • Technological Innovations: Big Data and Beakthroughs in the Biological Sciences

        New farming Apps and geospatial technologies for precision agriculture
        New gene-editing technologies in agriculture
        The future of electricity and biofuel from biomass
        Improving resource use efficiency: water and soils
        Impacts on agriculture and agribusiness in developed and developing countries
        Constraints to development and spread of technology

  • Institutional Innovations and Inclusive Value Chain Development

        Supermarkets, agricultural processing and logistics
        Supply chain design, spread and adoption of innovation and their implications
        Financing innovation in agricultural production and input/output value chains
        Constraints to the development of input and food processing/retail value chains

  • Government Interventions in the Agriculture and Agribusiness Sector

        Regulations on input industries and agricultural processing/retail
        Public sector research by NARS and CGIAR
        Public-Private partnerships in agriculture
        Institutional and commercial constraints to agriculture development
        Role of foreign aid and international cooperation

  • Other

If you are pursuing a PhD/Master program, if you are a Post-Doc, here is your chance to get valuable feedback from academically renowned professors, extend your professional networks and experience a screening job market interview with the World Bank Group.
ICABR will feature a “Speed Mentorship - Job Dating” Event during the 2018 annual conference @ the World Bank.

Application will open in January 2018. Only a restricted number of participants will be selected by ICABR and HR of the World Bank for the “Speed Dating” Event.

If you are interested, please start preparing the following documents

    1. Cover Letter
    2. Short CV
    3. Pagers with the summary of your thesis and/or projects in which you are involved
    4. File with a draft “Elevator Speech”

For further information please contact
Sara Savastano
Senior Economist DECSI
World Bank