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Supporting development processes through livestock innovation systems research

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Presented by Ann Waters-Bayer (ETC Foundation) and Wolfgang Bayer (Agrecol Association) at Tropentag 2014: Bridging the gap between increasing knowledge and decreasing resources, Prague, 17−19 September 2014

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Supporting development processes through livestock innovation systems research

  1. 1. Supporting development processes through livestock innovation systems research Ann Waters-Bayer (ETC Foundation) and Wolfgang Bayer (Agrecol Association) Tropentag 2014: Bridging the gap between increasing knowledge and decreasing resources, Prague, 17−19 September 2014
  2. 2. ILCA started with livestock systems research (LSR) 1972 Tribe report: role of new research centre ILCA • Integrate sociological, economic & biological research & development related to livestock in Africa • Study existing livestock systems to understand why people do what they do • Examine responses of traditional systems to development interventions • Test potential improvements to see what worked and how livestock-keepers adapted the ideas • Research in smallholders’ reality
  3. 3. LSR: an approach that needed to mature At that time: • More multi- than inter-disciplinary • Focus on production (less on processing and marketing) • Focus on biological and technical aspects (less on sociopolitical and institutional)
  4. 4. ILCA results relevant for development • Explanation of rationale behind existing practices helped to re-orient development • Research methodology for understanding and improving existing livestock systems • Key contextual information on livestock systems in different ecological zones in Africa • Overviews of specific aspects of livestock systems central not to Western science but to African farmers, e.g. browse • Increased capability of researchers to think in systems terms & to see what type of research is relevant for development
  5. 5. Battling a paradigm of linearity, simplification & disciplinarity Mid-80s Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) advice: • Do component research on animal health, nutrition & genetics • Technical opportunities in drylands “too little to warrant a major research effort” • Focus remaining systems research on mixed crop-livestock farming Pressure from conventional Science did not allow innovative, complex and challenging LSR to mature Social scientists – except economists – dropped Merger ILCA + ILRAD = ILRI: clashing of cultures (upstream vs field-based) meant setback for systems-oriented research
  6. 6. But still some outcomes relevant for livestock systems development For example: • Characterisation of indigenous livestock breeds confirmed their value in prevailing systems • Networks on livestock policy, forage, small ruminants etc helped inform scientists and development practitioners worldwide
  7. 7. Renewed attention to development impact in livestock innovation systems 2002: New era with new Director General • Strong senior management support for work with development partners with more explicit focus on poverty reduction • Work in drylands recommenced • A few more social scientists • New theme: Enabling Innovation – enhancing adaptive capacity “on the move” • 2007: Innovation Works Unit set up multi-stakeholder co-learning platforms
  8. 8. Some roles of ILRI in innovation systems research through transdisciplinary partnerships in CRPs • Developing & testing mechanisms to enhance joint learning & action in livestock-related innovation • Contributing relevant scientific findings to IPs • Engaging in place-based participatory research to enhance innovation capacities • Synthesising lessons for policymakers and engaging in policy dialogue • Generating information & learning to empower women in livestock innovation
  9. 9. Highlight on … Policy • Early recognition that livestock policy important: Policy Unit since 1982 • Influenced policy towards pro-poor development • Example: Kenya milk-marketing policy to support informal sector Gender • Early recognition of women’s key roles: most resource-poor livestock-keepers are women • Ongoing campaign to keep gender issues at forefront of livestock research & development
  10. 10. Some results of ILRI’s innovation systems research • Improved communication & collaboration leading to better access of smallholders to input & output markets (value chain IPs) • Enhanced capacity to innovate in forage husbandry in different ecological & institutional settings • Policy influence related to food safety in milk & meat markets • Much greater awareness of gender issues and of impact of technologies & policies on women
  11. 11. Conclusions and outlook ILRI can contribute hugely to improving the livelihoods of poor people by scaling up transdisciplinary research in the midst of development action

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