Fostering institutional innovation in organizations working with Farmer Participatory Research approaches (FPR) (2004)

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The dismantling and privatization of public service agencies in many countries, particularly Latin America, means that the responsibility of managing natural resources and sustainable agriculture is being handed over to industry and civil society.  This means new responsibilities for local governments, communities as well as non-governmental development organisations.  Unfortunately, due to many social factors and the historical roots of development models, many communities are still treated as they were thirty and forty years ago when a top-down technology transfer dominated that did not allow for much local learning or adaptation.  This has led to an unbalanced relationship between development practitioners and researchers with local stakeholders. 

This challenge calls for an analysis and re-organisation of exogenous development agendas in order to effectively facilitate endogenous development, through the promotion of participatory farmer research and experimentation.  This means generating, adapting and using ideas and technologies to meet local needs, appropriately supported by other internal and external actors.  The role, which researchers and development practitioners play, must enable socially and ecologically embedded development for endogenous development to occur. 

This study therefore explored the way in which different research and development organisations manage and promote rural innovation through the implementation of different farmer experimentation and participatory research methodologies, specifically:  Farmer Field Schools, Local Agriculture Research Committees (most commonly known by their Spanish acronym, “CIAL”), Experimental Plots (or Pruebas Experimentales in Spanish) and Farmer-to-Farmer Movement (or Campasino a Campasino in Spanish).  The characterisation of each of these methodologies was based on pre-established factors that contribute to rural innovation: self-financing and self-management, local leadership, adoption and adaptation, monitoring, and changes in attitudes.
Language: English
Imprint: End of Activity Report, The International Center of Tropical Agriculture (CIAT), January to November, 2004: 2004
Series: Report,