CCAFS Science Meeting Item 08 Jon Hellin PAR


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CCAFS Science Meeting presentation by Jon Hellin - "Successes in linking science to action through participatory action research"

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CCAFS Science Meeting Item 08 Jon Hellin PAR

  1. 1. Successes in linking science to action through participatory action research Jon Hellin International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT), Mexico CCAFS Science Meeting, Copenhagen 1 May, 20012
  2. 2. Outline of presentation• Why participatory research?• What is participatory research?• Typology of participatory research• Agricultural innovation systems• MasAgro, a Mexican case study
  3. 3. Why participatory research?• Climate change, need to enhance agricultural yields, resilience of agro-ecosystems, & improve farmers’ livelihoods• Improved agronomic management & farmers’ use of climate-adapted germplasm• Adoption by smallholder farmers has been low (e.g. conservation agriculture (Ekboir, 2002))
  4. 4. Farmer adoption & non-adoption of agricultural technologies/principles• Farmers are, in general, risk adverse• Technologies may not be profitable in short-term and/or may not work• Technologies & principles are knowledge intensive• Linear transfer of technology approach that underestimates complexity of technologies• Farmers’ modifications do not always coincide with the ideas or the intentions of those who originally developed or introduced the technology … adaptation
  5. 5. What is participatory research?• Systematic dialogue between farmers & scientists to solve problems related to agriculture• Increase impact of agricultural science and technology
  6. 6. How participatory is “participatory research”?• Farmer interviews• “Putting the last first”• Participatory plant breeding• Active – passive participation
  7. 7. Four types of farmer participation (Biggs, 1988)• Contractual where scientists contract with farmers to provide land or services• Consultative where information is sought from farmers and scientists then develop “solutions”• Collaborative where there some task sharing between researchers & farmers, along lines determined by the formal research program• Collegial where researchers support a farmer- initiated and farmer-managed program
  8. 8. Farmers are social actors & not passive subjects• Technology, knowledge and information generated from a central source & then transferred from researchers to farmers• But agricultural development is an immensely complex process characterized by a high degree of nonlinearity.• Technological change rather depends on learning processes, feedback loops & iterative interactions• Need an innovation approach - a process of networking, interactive learning and negotiation among a heterogeneous set of actors
  9. 9. Agricultural innovation systems• Web of dynamic interactions among actors including researchers, farmers, & service providers• Agricultural development results from combining technological improvements in production, processing & distribution with organizational improvements in how information & knowledge are exchanged• Also policy changes that create favorable incentives and institutions to promote change• External input needed to generate & this highlights crucial role of a facilitator or network broker who catalyses rather than instructs
  10. 10. Innovation systems & conservation agriculture Innovations systems have emerged around conservation agriculture practices across a range of emerging economies • South and Meso America (e.g. Brazil, Bolivia, Paraguay, Mexico), • Africa (e.g. Ghana, southern Africa) • Asia (the Indo-Gangetic Plains of South Asia , China and Central Asia). • But fewer examples of CA on small farms outside the Americas
  11. 11. Mexico case study• Due to climate change agricultural output in Mexico could decrease by >25% by 2080• A concept of innovation networks was developed by CIMMYT with focus on conservation agriculture• In each network, exchange of information was organized between the different partners with CIMMYT as network broker• Based on the results, Mexican federal government launched MasAgro initiative in 2011 targeting maize and wheat-based systems
  12. 12. Sustainable Modernization of Traditional Agriculture (MasAgro)• Develop, improve and spread innovative sustainable agricultural practices• Including conservation agriculture, high- yielding germplasm, post-harvest technologies• Dynamic and flexible approach of MasAgro allows for decentralized experimentation• Institutionalization of agricultural innovation networks for smallholders
  13. 13. Structure & functioning of MasAgro• Establish shared goals & efficient coordination between actors involved in the agricultural production chain.• Actors include: private sector, international & national research centers, universities, farmers, extension workers, input suppliers, & policy-makers• The innovation network is called a hub & includes establishment of research/experimental platforms, farmer modules & extension areas
  14. 14. Hub• The core of the hub is the experimental platform. These are placed within universities, research institutes on farmers’ plots• Research in the platforms locally adapts and improves the proposed technologies• Platforms also serve to train farmers, extension agents, researchers & other collaborators• Modules are established on farmers’ fields. Farmers are linked with extension agents trained by CIMMYT and by MasAgro’s partners• Together, they test and further adapt the technologies. Feedback is necessary• Surrounding farmers, public & private extension agents & service providers are invited to field day days
  15. 15. General structure of a hub
  16. 16. Federal and state level interestWithin one year 20 innovation hubs 13,000 farmers involved 20,000 hectares reachedTarget: 260,000 farms
  17. 17. Sustainability of MasAgro?• Idea is to expand hub approach within existing agro-ecological areas for maize & small grain based systems.• Increasing number of local states including approach in state-level policy frameworks• Seed companies using hubs• Change within CIMMYT, greater emphasis on outcomes and impacts• Ecology of disciplines along value chain
  18. 18. Functional and empowerment components of participatory research• Functional component includes identification of traits that guide crop breeders• Is farmer empowerment best carried out by development organizations with longer-term interaction with farmers• Ultimately, partnerships between research and development organizations should translate into larger and wider impact.
  19. 19. We are not there yet• Have not yet comprehensively achieved the paradigm shift from a linear transfer-of- technology approach to one that fosters the emergence of an agricultural innovation systems & participatory research• The example of MasAgro in Mexico, however, illustrates how the change can be fostered and institutionalized