The take-off point are the findings of the ‘Beyond More Crops Per Drop’ project in 2010. The project has two components: technical assessment and institutional adaptability to change. The International Water Management Institute is leading work on technical assessments in pilot sites, while SEI leads work on policy, institutions and actors’ adaptability to change.

The project includes stakeholder dialogues and scenario exercises supported by in-depth empirical field investigation in different types of rural areas and stakeholder consultations at different levels – local to national.

Site selection for field investigation aimed to ensure a range of agricultural transformation conditions, and agricultural development will be contextualised to wider changes in rural livelihoods and economic production systems.

This is similarly reflected in the choice of study countries: from Cambodia, which is the least developed, through China, which is experiencing rapid rural change, to Thailand, where rural transformations have a longer duration, and Burma which is experiencing limited rural change combined with land degradation and food shortages.

The project also links to the work of the Sustainable Mekong Research Network (SUMERNET) by identifying national research partners and providing comparative research on rural change, and by using regional think tank activities under SUMERNET to verify findings and stakeholder inputs.