Technological advances to improve food security Addressing challenges to adoption

By Paul Weisenfeld, Anna Wetterberg

Ensuring a stable and healthful food supply for the world’s growing population has become increasingly urgent, particularly in the face of climate change. In spite of expected increases in food production in developing countries, the number of people at risk of hunger is predicted to grow, especially in the world’s poorest regions. While technology is not a panacea, it is critical to addressing the food production side of the food security equation. The social, economic, and other factors that affect technology adoption are complex and varied, requiring research that combines natural and social sciences to understand how best to influence the uptake and sustained use of effective technologies. Research should focus on four areas where complex combinations of challenges inhibit adoption. Understanding (1) farm-level, (2) economic, and (3) policy barriers would illuminate where promising innovations may be viable. Further, researchers should explore which approaches most effectively drive adoption of (4) combinations of agricultural practices and technologies.


Weisenfeld, P., & Wetterberg, A. (2015). Technological advances to improve food security: Addressing challenges to adoption. (RTI Press Publication No. RB-0011-1510; No. RB-0011-1510). Research Triangle Park, NC: RTI Press.

© 2019 RTI International. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.


Paul WeisenfeldPaul Weisenfeld, JD, is executive vice president of RTI’s International Development Group. He leads RTI's international development efforts across Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the Middle East to solve complex health and education problems, improve early childhood development, enhance accountability in governance, and tackle issues global youth under/unemployment.

Anna WetterbergAnna Wetterberg, PhD, works as a social science research analyst in RTI’s International Development Group. Dr. Wetterberg has more than 10 years’ experience working on research and operations in international development. In Indonesia, she managed a research and training program at the Ministry of Agriculture, led research on local-level institutions for the World Bank, and contributed to the monitoring and evaluation framework for the country’s largest poverty alleviation and participatory planning program. Dr. Wetterberg’s current research interests include state-society relations, corporate social responsibility, and international labor standards.

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