26-29 April 2010, Montpellier, France
Scientific and Technical Information and Rural Development
Information scientifique et technique et développement rural
Highlights of Innovative Practices / Eclairages sur des pratiques innovantes
|iaald2010 web site
Theme 1 : Innovative learning processes /
Mechanisms facilitating agricultural innovation in France: the case of Mixed Technological Networks (Réseaux Mixtes Technologiques)
In France innovation policy for agriculture and the agri-food sector is based on a close partnership between public bodies and farmers' professional organizations. The linear, top down model of innovation has worked efficiently after the second World war and up to the 1980s. It resulted in intensive agricultural systems and optimized food processes, providing cheap and safe food to the population. This model is no longer adapted to new challenges now facing agriculture and the food industry, which require more complex and inclusive approaches to innovation. The RMTs (Mixed Technological Networks) exemplify the kind of new tools that could be put into place in the frame of the new paradigm which is emerging nowadays in the field of innovation policy
Internationalization of Land-Grant Universities in the US: The results of an online survey
University of Arizona, United States of America
The USDA International Science and Education (ISE)grants programme, formally initiated in 2005, seeks to improve the ability of higher education institutions in the U.S. to conduct international collaborative research, extension, and teaching programmes. By 2008, the ISE Programme has provided support for 55 projects to academic institutions throughout the U.S. The purpose of this paper is to present the results of online surveys of the award grantees, as well as Directors of International Agriculture programmes, documenting their perceptions of the short- and long-term benefits of ISE- funded projects, and offering insights into the state of internationalization at U.S. Land-Grant universities (those with Colleges of Agriculture). Besides providing leaders of internationalization efforts with concrete evidence of effective programmes and strategies, the results of the surveys suggest profitable uses of U.S. Federal funds for strengthening internationalization at higher education institutions. Key findings identified travel support that strengthens and promotes research collaborations, faculty exchanges, and study tours for faculty and students as the most successful use of ISE funding. In addition, seed funds for collaborative research projects and support for globalizing course and curriculum development, including distance education opportunities, were also strongly supported. At the same time, funding levels for these grants, as well as limits on grants per institution, are seen as restricting the reach of the ISE Programme. The authors also noted a lack of recognition of the importance to incorporate information technology and management applications as integral parts of the ISE projects to ensure continued networking opportunities and access to project results by all collaborators, no matter their geographic location.
Developing mixed knowledge innovative system, technical, institutional and traditional information, for capacity building and empowerment of multi-stakeholders networks in rural Africa
1IFAN Ch . A. Diop Université Cheikh Anta Diop de Dakar Senegal; 2CIRAD BIOS Agropolis Montpellier France
The food challenge and the sustainable management of natural resources in Africa involve capacity building of all stakeholders in rural areas. The challenge is to enable local development actors to adapt their practices in a global context in crisis both economically and ecologically. This big challenge will require the development of innovative approaches and tools for new learning and communication approaches that will include new communication technologies and information while remaining respectful of the existing social and cultural context. Thus, the innovation needs to be co-constructed from local know-how and scientific and technical information. Information and communication between all those involved in development need to be revised and strengthened, in order to be more interactive and more efficient. The APPRI workshop held in Ouagadougou In 2008 allow to identify best bet co-learning models such as the ‘Peasants' University’ developed in Africa and Brazil as a place to unify partnership initiatives bringing together research, rural development officers, farmer organizations, producer groups, and rural communities and municipalities. These Peasants' Universities would be places of learning where a common vision is shared for implementing development and environmental improvement activities, particularly intended for small family farms. Another model, the ‘Innovation caravan against hunger’ developed in Cameroon and involving the whole chain of stakeholders, notably producers, scientists and policy makers, was found relevant as communication method to enhance consultation among various actors and innovation sharing.
Interactive knowledge construction during the collaborative building of an agricultural Community Information System
CIRAD, UMR TETIS, France
The design and building of multi-partners information systems like ‘Observatories’ highlights new learning processes associated to the paradigm shift from knowledge transfer to interactive knowledge construction. In this paper we exhibit an innovative model where arguments for the role of conversational processes in the building of consensual knowledge can be theoretically grounded, and examine a participative building approach in the light of this model.
We first sketch out the main features of a participative approach named ‘Co-Obs’ which has been adopted by Tetis in the design and building of ‘Observatories’, and outline the conversational processes which occur all along its steps.
We then take inspiration from Popper’s epistemology and adopt a starting point considering three “worlds”: i) the physical world where events exist independently of us, our thoughts, and our language, ii) the world of subjective knowledge where the binding of experiments takes place in the realm of memory, iii) the world of objective knowledge expression mainly based on language.
In order to better understand the nature of conversational processes, and their role in the building of consensual experimental knowledge, we successively take lessons from Psychology, from Neurophysiology and from the Sciences of Education. This leads to the proposition of an integrative model linking the world of subjective knowledge through conversational processes both to the physical world and to the world of objective knowledge expression.
We finally re-examine the ‘Co-Obs’ approach under the light of our model and give theoretically grounded arguments explaining how interactive knowledge construction is empowered by the conversational processes during the participative steps, as well as the positive lever effect which can be expected upon collective action.
Using the tools in the toolkit: building research capacity with knowledge sharing methods from the CGIAR, FAO and KM4Dev
Building Ecosystem Services Research Capacity in Semi-Arid Africa (BESSA) is a project targeted at helping African environmental analysts, researchers and key stakeholders to develop skills for undertaking environmental and socio-economic assessments for potential Payments for Environmental Services schemes. A major BESSA activity in 2009 was a face-to-face training workshop involving international experts and African researchers over a two-week period. The workshop was a unique opportunity to apply and explore innovative methods for knowledge sharing, as promoted by the Consultative Group for International Agricultural Research Information and Communication Technologies – Knowledge Management programme (CGIAR ICT-KM), the FAO and the KM4Dev community, via the Knowledge Sharing (KS) Toolkit (www.kstoolkit.org). Methods included ice-breakers, speed-geeking, peer assists, network mapping, and after action reviews, as well as role-playing games and hands-on fieldwork. These methods were coupled with more traditional lectures based on how suitable the content was to each technique. By complementing the formal classroom lectures with sessions that took a radically different approach to learning, participants and trainers became actively and enthusiastically engaged in the learning process. Techniques such as peer assists and social network mapping allowed participants to generate new knowledge and understanding about the social and political contexts for their work in order to improve linking research and knowledge to action. Using feedback from the participants and trainers, taken during and at the end of the workshop, we highlight some key lessons learned about how best to use these techniques, and their suitability and adaptability to different learning contexts.
Learning innovations through extension training on preparation of sweet potato (_Ipomoea batatas_) snacks among selected women in Nigeria
University of Ibadan Ibadan, Nigeria
This study examined specific learning innovations through the extension activities of the Women-In-Agriculture unit of the Agricultural Development Programme in Nigeria. Stratified sampling technique was used to select three out of six (South-East, South-West, North-West) geo-political zones. Five states were selected from each geo-political zone. Both qualitative and quantitative methods of data collection were used to elicit information from the respondents. Fifteen sweet potato growing states were purposively sampled, and in-depth interviews were conducted for 15 directors of the Women-In-Agriculture units in all these states. Eight sweet potato processors were sampled and interviewed during a field survey over 15 states, making a total of 120 processors from three geo-political zones. A focus group discussion was conducted for each of the female groups. Descriptive and inferential statistics were used to analyze the data. The socio-economic / demographic characteristics that were significant in determining the level of extension training activities in sweet potato snacks’ preparation across these geopolitical zones included educational level, secondary occupation of processors and benefits derived from sweet potato processing at p≤0.05 level of significance. Furthermore the extension activities of the Women-In-Agriculture unit involved arrangement of literacy classes for women, identification of farming problems, advice on agricultural problems, training on home management and nutrition, provision of information and dissemination of innovative information on farming systems. In conclusion, women participating in the Women-In-Agriculture programme enjoyed a number of advantages over the non-participants because they had a greater knowledge and easier access to training and technologies through Women-In-Agriculture extension agents. Therefore, the Federal, State and Local governments should ensure that all agricultural programmes include women at both the planning and execution stages
Methodological innovation in communication processes to foster co-production and exchange of agricultural knowledge in Burkina Faso: taking into account socio-cultural aspects
FARM (Foundation for World Agriculture and Rural Life), France
The paper we offer will be a critical analysis of technocratic approaches in the design and implementation of information systems related to rural development in Africa, including the application of information and communication technologies (ICT). The heterogeneity of actors involved, in terms of access to communication infrastructure, level of formal education and socio-cultural values, creates difficulties in communication. Even as the basis for establishing trustful relationships and therefore prior to a smooth and effective communication, socio-cultural aspects have often been neglected by initiatives applying ICT to rural development in Africa. Nevertheless, recognizing the influence of ICT use on the local organization and social values, it is possible to identify socio-cultural aspects that must be taken into account to define strategies for the application of these technologies to be best suited to local conditions. The suggestions presented in this paper result from the authors' field experience related to operational and research activities of the Foundation for World Agriculture and Rural Life (FARM) in partnership with the Union of Farmer Groups for Marketing Agricultural Products (UGCPA) in the region of Boucle du Mouhoun , Burkina Faso. The paper is divided in three parts: a reminder of the gap between the world of research and the reality on the field – scientists on the one hand, farmers on the other hand – , a critique of technocratic approaches which often neglect socio-cultural issues in the understanding of local realities, and finally suggestions for methodological innovation in the design and implementation of communication processes to focus on co-production of agricultural knowledge.
UVED: A tool for educational reform
Université Virtuelle Environnement & Développement durable, France
The Virtual Environment and Sustainable Development University (UVED) is one of seven Thematic Digital Universities (UNT) created at the initiative of the French Ministry of Higher Education and Research.
UVED aims to stimulate, coordinate, fund and support the production, sharing, dissemination and promotion of digital learning resources in domain of the environment and sustainable development (ESD) by providing scientific, technological and pedagogical validation.
UVED aims to be a significant player in training in ESD by putting ICT at the service of educational innovation.
Indeed, the objective of UVED lies not only in developing the knowledge base and skills related to the area but also in positioning itself at the Master level towards the integration of research results and the development of new training tools and teaching approaches adapted to the complexity of environmental problems. Such an approach requires the development of innovative learning tools and processes. UVED put a special effort in developing learning methods through problems, interactive and interdisciplinary case studies, role playing, learning cards approaches.
UVED was thus designed to promote and experiment teaching methods and innovative learning process.
The UNT provide a space for innovation and can be a tool of educational reform and a lever for the development of the University today and tomorrow.
Processus d’apprentissage innovants : la R.A.D appliquée au genre et foncier à Madagascar
1FIANTSO Madagascar, Madagascar; 2University of Fianarantsoa, Madagascar
La recherche-action pour le développement (R.A.D.) est une approche aidant à initier et à construire des partenariats. Elle encourage le co-apprentissage et l’innovation pour un changement durable. Elle sert à faire un diagnostic commun et à développer des activités conjointes. A Madagascar, les femmes sont peu représentées dans les organismes de développement et aux instances de décision. Les femmes et les hommes malgaches ont des rôles différents et assument des responsabilités et tâches définies par le genre. D’où, leurs besoins et intérêts distincts, leurs opportunités d’accès et de contrôle aux ressources, dont l’information, la formation et autres services de renforcement de compétences, inégaux. Cette disparité selon le genre est surtout visible dans le domaine du Foncier dans certaines régions de Madagascar, où les femmes n’ont pas droit à la succession, à l’appropriation de terres à cause des règles coutumières instituant la suprématie des hommes. C’est le cas des communes de Mijilo, Ambila, Marofarihy, région Vatovavy Fitovinany, où Fiantso Madagascar a œuvré sur la question « Comment appuyer les acteurs locaux dans la gestion foncière pour favoriser l’accès des femmes à la propriété foncière ». Le choix de RAD s’inscrit dans la décentralisation et l’implication de la société civile dans le dialogue sur les politiques de développement intégrant du genre et mettant en place des mesures correctives en faveur des catégories marginalisées. Le partenariat entre ICRA, FORMGED et Fiantso a permis l’acquisition de compétences sur R.A.D. appliquée à plusieurs niveaux dont la mise en place de ERRC (Equipe Régionale de Renforcement des Compétences / Equipe interinstitutionnelle), ERGF (Equipe régionale genre et foncier). Notre expérience démontre que RAD facilite l’accès des femmes au foncier et la reconnaissance culturelle et sociale du droit de la femme au foncier. Les résultats innovants suivants sont à partager : changement de mentalité et de comportement à tous les niveaux, institutionnalisation des structures (CRL, CDC, CFR, ERGF) , partenariat constructif, organisation fonctionnelle.
Innovative e-Agriculture Initiatives and Learning from North-East India
1Central Agricultural University, College of Horticulture and Forestry, Pasighat-791 102, East Siang District, Arunachal Pradesh, India; 2Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (C-DAC), Hyderabad, India
India’s North-East is endowed with rich natural resources for the development. However, the region has exhibited most backwardness. Low agricultural productivity, food insecurity, endemic malaria, drug addiction and AIDS add the problem of the North- East India. The non-income poverty in terms of inadequate information on advanced farm technologies, market intelligence and rural development schemes produces the income poverty in the region. The limited technical manpower, lack of transport and communication facilities, inadequate financial support to the technology transfer and less infrastructure facility creates huge technological gap among rural tribal farming community. Considering the disappointing agricultural and rural development scenario three innovative e-Governance initiatives for the agricultural and rural development namely; e-Arik (e-Agriculture), Model e-Village & e-Kiosk. The e-Arik project experiments the single window system and local knowledge managers for the improved agricultural information and technology delivery to the tribal farming community. Project provides all time expert consultation on agriculture production, protection and marketing aspects through ICTs with the combination of the traditional extension methods. The Model e-Village project implemented in the selected ten remote tribal villages and provides regular e-awareness and e-literacy programmes and also experimenting local need based IT applications in the area of agriculture, health, education, governance and other areas. The touch screen kiosk project proposes to provide the flexibility in providing information on farming practices including the crops, commodities, and enterprises. The touch screen kiosk is under construction with the static and dynamic content with Adi tribal dialect audio interface. Based on the three innovative e-Initiative experiences, this article draws issues and lessons related to ICTs application for agricultural extension such as; pilot project syndrome, users unwillingness to pay, infrastructure, connectivity, difficulty in localisation of content, community participation, management, policy support, lack of co-ordination, scaling-up and sustainability in North-East India.
Information seeking and e-learning of farmers’ communities in India through agricultural telecenters: a study
The study describes information seeking of farmers’ communities in the Himalayan state of Uttrakhand in India. The work reveals that there is a growing awareness among the farmers of this state and adjoining states. 4266 queries were received by G B Pant University of Agriculture and Technology’s telecenter and farmers helpline in the period of 2006 -2008 . Farmers sought most information from the toll free telecenter popularly known as Kissan (farmers) reference to the Information Center and use of the telecenter helpline was found to be substantially less.The telecenters function on 3 levels. Findings reveal that most information sought by farmers was provided in the local language by level I experts, who are Agricultural Science Graduates. Level II involves specific queries answered by subject specialists. The Helpline of universities functions at level II, where farmers can directly seek information from subject experts. Maximum information was sought in the month of September followed by October and November. These months are crucial for Rainy and Winter season crops, therefore requiring maximum attention of farmers in protecting their standing rainfed crops and planning winter crops. 1252 queries were received during 2006 on various subjects, which gradually increased to 1315 in 2007 and 1721 queries in 2008. Most information was sought on subjects like Agronomy and farmers’ fairs. Substantial information was also sought on plant diseases,cultivation of vegetables, and seeds availability. Subject like solar energy, crop insurance, and silk production have been found to be the least popular among the farming community. The study further indicates that most information was sought on crops that provided quick cash rather than complicated subject like use of solar energy or silk production. Most farmers in India are involved in small or marginal farming, therefore prefer growing cash-crops as a source of income for their livelihood.
Using information to empower farmer based organizations in the Kwahu North District of Ghana
The Presbyterian University College, Ghana (PUCG), a private university with three campuses all located in rural areas of Ghana, has an outreach centre which has started to disseminate agricultural information to provide knowledge to farmers and farmer based organizations in the Kwahu North district. Often referred to as the bread basket of Ghana, this District has tremendous potential to contribute significantly to the improvement and well-being of the Ghanaian economy through improved agricultural productivity and rural development. However a major factor constraining this vast agricultural district is the inaccessibility of the area to the rest of the country resulting in the lack of scientific information and technical knowledge available to these farmers. Forms of communication such as radio, internet, and telephones are virtually unavailable, thus making it difficult to get relevant and up to date information to farmers in this vast area. This paper discusses efforts being made by the university to empower farmers by providing them with information and knowledge on various aspects of agricultural development. Information is a vital component in the agricultural production process but its value is often underestimated and overlooked. Using training as a medium of information dissemination, the university is able to provide farmers with information on production processes, land acquisition and credit facilities among others. Farmers have demonstrated that information does have a positive impact on production and development resulting in a changed mindset. Due to new knowledge acquired as a result of the provision of information, farmers are now poised to go into commercial farming using modern methods and are now willing to access national and international markets.