A new paper on the Application of innovation platforms to catalyse adoption of conservation agriculture practices in South Asia has been published in the International Journal of Agricultural Sustainability. Innovation Platforms (IP) were established in SRFSI project sites as a method of catalysing adoption of conservation agriculture-based sustainable intensification (CASI) practices being tested by the project.
IP are groups of stakeholders that interact within an agricultural system to solve problems at the local level. The project supported the operation of 42 IP across the three countries, which coordinate local stakeholders to address issues in input supply, access to machinery, marketing and cross-site learning. Importantly, the experiences in working with IP across three countries has given the team valuable experience in applying these approaches in the South Asian context, and they have made a valuable contribution to the literature, which is often Africa-centric.
Key lessons identified across the EGP:
The initial set-up and establishment of the IP is critical, as is the importance of finding a good facilitator.
It is important to define clear entry points to facilitate interactions to develop common objectives.
Initial project support can help to help give focus and links with research and extension personnel.
Look to institutionalize the IP to enable sustainability, which can occur through development of business models or building on existing networks (e.g. existing farmer groups).
Build in continuous learning and reflection, as is good practice through iterative learning events.
Look for opportunities to build strong benefits for women to improve engagement and empowerment.