Research papers provide important analyses, but they are often inaccessible to a wide audience due to their technical or theoretical nature. HarvestPlus has launched a new series, Research for Action, to provide information that is less technical, more applied, and more relevant to researchers, practitioners and policymakers alike.

“While our Working Papers are more focused on rigorous economics data, even theoretical, analyses, and are targeted at top journals, the Research for Action series targets a broader audience,” notes Ekin Birol, Head of Impact and Policy at HarvestPlus. “Most importantly, Research for Action papers contain actionable conclusions for the benefit of practitioners and policymakers.”

The first paper in the new series examines the Zambian maize seed market and makes recommendations for the dissemination of vitamin A-rich maize in the country. This variety, introduced in Zambia in 2012 by HarvestPlus and partners, faces major adoption challenges. The Zambian market is highly competitive and crowded, boasting over 200 seed varieties. Moreover, the orange color of vitamin A maize sets it apart in a market dominated by the traditional white variety. The authors argue that in order to deal with these challenges, it is important to: negotiate risk sharing agreements with companies that take up the new crop; build and maintain a unique vitamin A maize brand; and, continue to raise public awareness and promote vitamin A maize.

Subsequent Research for Action papers on vitamin A maize in Zambia will assess consumption patterns and consumer preferences. “We also plan to summarize all our varietal adoption and value chain studies through the Research for Action series,” says Birol. “Factors facilitating or limiting consumers’ adoption of our nutrient-rich crop varieties will be presented in a manner that is easy to read and understand across the board.” The next Research for Action paper in this category will focus on zinc-rich wheat, which HarvestPlus plans to start delivering to farmers in Pakistan in 2015. The paper will highlight recommendations for delivery and marketing to achieve maximum impact.

All papers can be found in the Publications section of the HarvestPlus website.