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Supporting development processes through livestock innovation systems research

ILRI
ILRI

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 
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
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
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)
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
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
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

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Supporting development processes through livestock innovation systems research

  • 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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

Editor's Notes

  1. There MUST be a CGIAR logo or a CRP logo. You can copy and paste the logo you need from the final slide of this presentation. Then you can delete that final slide   To replace a photo above, copy and paste this link in your browser: http://www.flickr.com/photos/ilri/sets/72157632057087650/detail/   Find a photo you like and the right size, copy and paste it in the block above.