Publication: An Integrative Framework Linking Innovations and Value Chains

Krishnan, A. & Foster, C.G. 2015. An Integrative Framework Linking Innovations and Value Chains: The Case of the Kenyan Horticulture Sector. Paper presented at CFIA/EADI Workshop on “How Can Frugal Innovations Become Inclusive Innovations,” The Hague, The Netherlands, Nov 2015
[in progress – available on request]


There is lack of clear understanding on climate-based innovation in developing country agriculture. Contrasting literatures have explored globally linked farmers, often undertaking more complex innovations; and farmers focussed on local markets, often involved in adaptations and frugal innovation. However these perspectives have so far been poorly integrated.

Consequently, we look to explore the relationships between value chain participation and types of innovation drawing on survey research amongst Kenyan farmers. We do this through using a number of novel quantitative techniques, notably a score-based scale of innovation complexity, and by splitting farmer innovation into a discrete set of categories, which allow us to build a single framework to explore both complex and frugal innovation.

A number of key findings come out of analysis. First, we find a high-level of frugal innovation amongst all farmers, even amongst farmers involved in global value chains. Second, we also find that the nature of innovations differ between those linked to sustainable-production, which are more value chain led; and climate-adaptations, which are more broadly linked to adaptive and frugal innovation.

These findings give us new insights into how climate-based innovation should be supported, particularly in how policy makers and lead firms in global value chains might in future better integrate frugal innovations into their plan

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