Tuesday, 8 December 2009

ILRI Innovation platforms and networks

6 December 2009 IAALD. Peter Ballantyne recently interviewed three researchers about their research work on innovation systems:

Ranjitha Puskur (ILRI) on the DFID-funded Fodder Innovation Project

What outcomes and changes has she seen? At the farm level, farmers are changing their livestock feeding and management practices; there is an emerging demand for technologies, inputs and services that, ironically, were earlier promoted without success. "Farmers are seeing the need for knowledge and can articulate demands to service providers." She emphasizes that "getting a network of actors isn't an easy process, it takes time". Different organizations with different interests and motives have to be brought around the table to contribute and benefit.
"It needs great facilitation skills and negotiating skills which are not very often core competences of researchers like us."

Alan Duncan (ILRI) on the IFAD-funded Fodder Adoption Project. Speaking in the margins of the December 2009 SLP meeting in Addis Ababa, he introduces the IFAD-funded 'Fodder Adoption Project' based at ILRI.

He outlines the approach followed in the project - trying to strike a balance between the technological and institutional angles. The project helps groups of stakeholders - farmers, private sector, dairy coops, the government - get together in 'innovation platforms' where they can develop joint actions that address livestock fodder problems. Initially the project went with a traditional approach, focusing on technologies. As the process evolved, other issues came in, more actors joined the platforms, and the technologies - growing improved fodder - acted more as a catalyst for people to come together to discuss a wide range of other issues (dairying, health, etc).

Andre Van Rooyen (ICRISAT) on the “innovation platform” approach he uses to engage with smallholder farmers in Southern Africa.

Andre Van Rooyen (ICRISAT) outlines why ICRISAT is interested in this project: "Our interest in the slp project is to understand the main drivers behind increased use of crop residues and at what point will farmers begin to buy and sell them." He sees the project playing an important role to hep ICRISAT in Southern Africa position itself to better serve farmer needs in the future.

Reference: Innovation platforms and networks