Turning Innovations into Market Opportunities

Turning Innovations into Market Opportunities

30/10/2012. Breakout session GCARD II, P3.2 Turning Innovations into Market Opportunities.

Research has a central role to play in generating evidence to inform policymaking and policy design about the underlying enabling environment and to support and evaluate new institutional arrangements and mechanisms addressing the shortfalls. These include innovation in business models along the value chain, new risk management instruments, financial intermediation addressing the missing market for credit, support for collective action for market development or advocacy, and new technologies and technical innovation in product handing, quality assurance and value chain management.

New organizational arrangements which place the user of research central in the definition of research priorities and in uptake processes are required. This includes a central role for organizations which represent the interests of the smallholders in particular farmer organizations but also for the private sector, trade and commodity associations and procurement officers in government programmes. 

Research partnerships which tackle cross-cutting issues in markets need to work with inter-ministerial task groups which go beyond ministries of agriculture and include other sectoral line-ministries responsible for trade, infrastructure, innovation and poverty-reduction strategies as well as the key stakeholders including farmer organizations, private sector and trade and commodity platforms.

The Session was chaired by Philip Kiriro, President, East Africa Farmers Federation, and
facilitated by Felicity Proctor, an independent consultant, UK.

The first part of the Session addressed the Enabling environment and policies for smallholders. 
  1. Karen Brooks (IFPRI), outlined the CGIAR funded and recently launched programme entitled Policies, Institutions, and Markets to Strengthen Food Security and Incomes for the Rural Poor. Illustrative examples of innovation initiated under this programme on contract farming and on strengthening rural producer organizations were outlined. 
  2. Ruben Méndez (ALIFRUT, Alimentos and Frutos SA), presented an innovative alliance between ALIFRUT, a publicly-funded research and smallholder producers who are working together to address specific challenges facing smallholders’ market inclusion in the Chilean context and expand their export markets. 
  3.  Lorenzo Castillo (Junta Nacional de Café [JNC]), Peru, explained how a lobby agenda has been developed by a group of economic farmers’ organizations and led by the coffee cooperatives to influence the agenda of the national multi-stakeholder platform on agricultural policy and the outcome of these advocacy actions to enhance smallholder market access. 
  4. Giel Ton (his presentation starts at 1h01′) (LEI Wageningen University and Research Centre, Netherlands) introduce the Empowering Smallholder Farmers in the Markets (ESFIM) Programme drawing out key generic lessons from work in ten countries on farmer organizations–research partnerships on strengthening farmer organization-led research for advocacy.
The second part (no video available) of the session entitled Fostering Smallholder Entrepreneurship – examples from
practice will bring first-hand examples from farmer organizations where such organizations have
developed strategies of collective action and used evidence-based advocacy to call for change in
policies and institutional arrangements to ensure that such arrangements meet the needs of their
membership and specifically smallholders. 
  1. John Mutunga (Kenya National Federation of Agricultural Producers [KENFAP]) shared KENFAPs experiences of how contributions to policy making processes have enhanced the pro-smallholder farmer market access agenda; 
  2. Shirlene Chaves (Mujeres Campesinas de Costa Rica [CMC]), outlined how women have mobilised to enable better market access including the building up of local markets and 
  3. José Bervejillo (Cooperativas Agrarias Federadas [CAF]), presented examples of innovation processes in the  cooperative sector and how these can inform the national innovation policy in Uruguay. 

The panel of respondents included:  

  1. Robert Carlson (President, World Farmers’ Organization);
  2. Mohamed El-Kholy (Olive Network of the Association of Agricultural Research Institutions in the Near East and North Africa [AARINENA]); 
  3. Lucy  Muchoki (CEO, Pan African Agribusiness Consortium [PanAAC]); and 
  4. Bayan Alimgazinova (AgroInnovation, Kazakhstan).

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