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C1.2. Direct investment in farmers'led research

C1.2. Direct investment in farmers'led research



Ann Waters-Bayer

Ann Waters-Bayer



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  • Seeks to promote PPC partnerships at the local level
  • Smallholders: both private-sector + community actors; farmer experimentation/innovation as form of “privately funded” ag research. Successful partnership based on mutual respect.
  • MSPs in 20 countries in Africa, Asia + SA: farmers, rural advisors, local PS, NGOs, scientists, college/ university staff
  • 1. + 2. in collaboration with local private sector, such as FIKesMalede working with local blacksmith cum car mechanic to improve water-lifting devices
  • Action for public-private-civil mechanisms to support smallholder agriculture

C1.2. Direct investment in farmers'led research C1.2. Direct investment in farmers'led research Presentation Transcript

  • PROLINNOVA: PROmoting Local INNOVAtion in ecologically oriented agriculture and NRM“Global Partnership Programme” under GFAR –initiated by CSOsMulti-stakeholder community of practice (CoP)focused on smallholder farmingSeeks to make farmer-led joint innovationprocesses an everyday part of formalagricultural research and development (ARD) Nepalese researchers learn from farmer innovatorVision: World where women and men farmers playdecisive roles in ARD for sustainable livelihoods
  • International CoP of diverse actors who see that:  Farmers are creative and generate relevant local innovations = locally new & better ways of doing things  Linking local creativity with other sources of new ideas builds more resilient innovation systems to deal with changePastoral women in Ethiopia developed  Recognising local capacities lays basis fornew dairy marketing arrangements successful and equitable partnership with other knowledge-holders in ARD
  • Main activities of PROLINNOVA partners Strengthening national & subnational multistakeholder platforms to work and learn together Showing the potential of decentralised farmer-led ARD: - Identifying processes of local technical and social innovation - Using these as entry points for Participatory Innovation Development (PID) Building capacity of scientists, rural advisors, collage/university staff, farmers and other local entrepreneurs to engage in PID Engaging in policy dialogue to mainstream this approach
  • Challenge to change the power (im)balance in ARD Still tendency for scientists or rural advisors to dominate in PID process Generally, most “participatory ARD” involves testing scientists’ ideas Some competitive funds for participatory ARD but mainly controlled by scientists Can power balance in ARD funding be changed?  farmers “call the tune”
  • Experiences with decentralised ARD funding Local Innovation Support Funds (LISFs) so smallholders can decide what will be researched, how and by whom to make ARD more accountable to and relevant for smallholders to develop and test models of investment in farmer-governed ARD to be scaled up as a complement to conventional investment in ARD
  • Fund management committees’ criteria for screening farmers’ proposals Idea driven by farmer applicant(s) Innovation sound in economic, environmental & social terms Applicable by resource-poor Applicants willing to share results Fund Management Committee (FMC) screening applications in South Africa Proposal for experimentation and learning, not farm investment
  • Grants in 8 pilot countries over 4 years No. of applications Percentage Average grant size Range in grant size received approved (Euro) (Euro) 1224 64% 84 5 - 1670 Use of funds as decided by FMCs: 1. Farmers’ own experimentation 2. Improving farmer innovationsFarmer improved 3. Farmer-led experimentation withhis water-lifting research and/or extension staffdevices workingwith local 4. Learning visits by farmersblacksmith
  • Participatory impact assessment Involvement of different actors in LISF piloting: • Strengthened social organisation around managing local ARD and funds for it • Built smallholders’ capacities to formulate own needs and access relevant information • Increased smallholders’ confidence to interact with “outsiders” in joint innovation • Stimulated interest of rural advisors and (some)Ethiopian farmer explainshis experiment to MoA staff scientists to support farmer-led PID
  • Some challenges remain …. Difficult to generate in-country funding: – trying partial repayment by farmers: private investment in public goods – but should (also) be public funds available for this local learning Still high transaction costs while piloting: – 30–40% of total budget actually goes to farmers – rest for coordination, training, advisory support, M&E etc Difficult to involve scientists – farmers initially want to experiment on own, using local advice / partners – scientists have own agenda & little room to support farmer initiativesBut encouraging response from rural advisors exposed to LISFs
  • Steps towards scaling up LISFsPartners are documenting workable models and preparing to scale them upwhile retaining their smallholder focus and farmer-led characterScenarios being explored in different countries:  Establishing LISF within national farmer organisation  Integration into local government administration  Integration into MoA extension service  Integration into government research  Establishing National Innovation Fund (new entity)  Based in self-managed and self-resourced CBOs
  • What action is needed from us in GFAR? To support smallholder agriculture, focus attention in public- private-civil mechanisms on linkages of formal ARD sector with farmers (PS + community actors), SMEs and CSOs at local level Seek ways to support manifold and locally appropriate mechanisms instead of centralising and homogenising ARD for smallholders – and create spaces to learn from the diversity Create widespread awareness that sustainable smallholder agriculture needs multitude of local learning platforms to develop site-appropriate innovations – and to continue to do so.
  • What do we in PROLINNOVA offer?Examples of alternative ways to approach ARD partnerships andfunding that give smallholders a chance for more say, to learn withother knowledge holders and to contribute their knowledge tocontinuous and enhanced innovation processes Towards action for scaling up by GFAR Seriously consider these alternative / complementary approaches Try them out in appropriately adapted forms in different settings Assess them together with local smallholders Learn from this & and from each other’s experiences to improve what we have started, so that:
  • VisionWomen and men farmerscan play decisive roles in ARD for sustainable livelihoods