Friday, 15 September 2017

Re-defining Innovation Platforms for the Eastern Gangetic Plains

Researchers and practitioners from India, Nepal, Bangladesh, Kenya, Laos and Australia gathered in Bangladesh last week to discuss their experiences with Innovation Platforms (IPs) and re-define their operations for the South Asian context. IPs are multi-stakeholder groups that allow people to come together to solve challenges within their farming systems.

 
Participants in the Innovation Platform synthesis workshop in Rangpur, Bangladesh.

The workshop reviewed and evaluated IPs that have run as part of the Sustainable and Resilient Farming Systems Intensification (SRFSI) project in the Eastern Gangetic Plains. With this information and experiences from Africa and Southeast Asia, the group identified options to make initiatives more effective.

The group shared a wealth of experience in implementing IPs locally, and also benefited from participants with longer experience with the process in Africa, and the different operating conditions in Laos. These inputs provided an excellent overview of how work has been synthesised and aligned across many countries in Africa.

As part of the workshop, the group met members of an active Innovation Platform in Mohonpur Village, in Dinajpur district, Rangpur. This IP was formed in 2015, and supplies machinery services and good quality seed for Conservation Agriculture-based Sustainable Intensification (CASI) techniques. They have also set up an Agricultural Information Centre which serves around 2,000 farming households.


Mr Dinesh Chandro, Chairman of the Mohonpur IP, describes the group’s experiences to Dr KK Das from Bihar Agricultural University.

The group’s chairman fervently described the benefits they have experienced. Since they became a co-ordinated entity, local government has provided additional services. Participation in the IP also strengthened links between government departments and the private sector.  Both these sectors are now responding to increased demand, by ensuring timely supply of seed and chemicals.

CASI practices have reduced costs of production while maintaining yields. The group also plans to use the IP process to improve alternative income streams such as producing poultry, fish, vegetables, and handicrafts.

Work under the SRFSI project shows that in South Asia, building on existing groups like Farmer’s Clubs can make IPs more effective in a shorter time. For relevance, they should include, employ and empower women and youths in local communities. Groups that work with a business approach are more likely to be sustainable. Such groups can increase their bargaining power, take advantage of government subsidies, and help local government agencies reach more farmers with relevant information. Using up-to-date communication methods provides tailored services to more farmers, including banking, market information and farm management advice. These options can make future work in the region more effective.

The workshop, which CSIRO organized and ACIAR supported through the Sustainable Development Investment Portfolio, aimed to synthesise information to generate a set of products redefined for local conditions, and to share information to other groups in South Asia wanting to use the IP approach (handbook, short videos, on-line resources).

For more information, please contact Dr Peter Brown (Peter.Brown@csiro.au).

 
 

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thanks for taking the time to comment!

Note: only a member of this blog may post a comment.