There is a need for models for innovation platforms at lower levels that can bring together stakeholders and foster innovation development, promoting and outscaling farmer innovations and helping national planners to recognise the value of local-level outscaling as an important basis for upscaling through the institutions. The interest to influence policy has to be grounded in models that have been tested on a sufficiently wide scale at local levels.

Prolinnova–Philippines aims to address this lack of local models by enhancing the Rural Agricultural Services (RAS) at the local (municipal) level through the introduction and facilitation of multi-stakeholder innovation development platforms.

The specific objectives are:

a.   To use an innovation development approach to leverage the nutritional and livelihood contributions of agriculture and allied sciences

b.   To identify and document local innovations, innovation processes and innovators among small-scale farmers by enhancing capacities at different levels: community, academe, local government units (LGUs) and NGOs

c.   To facilitate the establishment of local-level multi-stakeholder platforms for the testing,adoption and sharing of innovations in agriculture and natural resource management(AgNRM) and provision of rural advisory services

d.    To raise awareness on PID approaches among policymaking and academic institutions.

Major strategy: Tripartite partnership

Partnerships among NGOs, farmer organizations and local governments to provide rural advisory services. Universities involved in agricultural research and development will be part of the network. Some guidelines for the Prolinnova–Philippines structure are:

  • Membership is open to individuals and institutions in the agricultural research and development (AR&D) sector in the country.
  • The network works with stakeholders from select municipalities where IIRR has ongoing partner local government units such as the municipality of Guinayangan in Quezon province and municipality of Ivisan in Capiz province, in partnership with CCAFS (Climate Change Agriculture and Food Security) and JDC (American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee) respectively.
  • All the members shall constitute the Community of Practice (CoP) for Prolinnova–Philippines. A national coordinating committee will be established to coordinate the different groups from the selected areas. Each group will identify a lead person, based on availability, commitment and experience to manage the daily operations of the network. The national coordinating committee will also be implementing the decisions made by the wider CoP members.  

Approach: Multi-stakeholder innovation platforms at the municipality level

The presence of NGOs at the local level is limited. Similarly, there is a need for developing a strong lower ring for service agencies: a combination of local NGOs working in partnership with LGUs and local farmer organisations. Local-level innovation platforms can be effective mechanism to bring together stakeholders to explore the need to reinvigorate AgNRM in support of food security, nutrition and livelihoods. The lack of organisational infrastructure and capacity at the lowest levels (municipalities) could be addressed through a multi-stakeholder initiative aimed at reviving smallholder agriculture (with emphasis on food, nutrition and livelihoods). Orientation of government, NGOs, academe and community-based organisations in processes of Participatory Innovation Development (PID), followed by action research on the ground and subsequent outscaling and upscaling could make a difference. Furthermore, the following strategies will be given emphasis:

  • Capacity building  at different levels: local-level  farmer groups (not just the formal organisations but informal groups), NGOs and the LGU levels 
  • Action research at the community level (2 villages per municipality in each of the areas represented by partner NGOs). LISF (local innovation support fund) approaches will be used through the resilience-building funds.  Annual  competitions and fairs to portraythe best innovations at the provincial-level events
  • Video documentation and engagement of local media to share results with the idea of influencing national policy on the value of targeting advisory services at the lower levels.

Major activities

The inception phase is characterised by organising the National Coordination Committee (NCC) and equipping the members with the basic concepts and processes necessary to initiate work on the identification of local innovation and the promotion of PID within the framework of Prolinnova. This will include orientation and data-gathering activities that would guide the NCC in the establishment of innovation platforms at the local level to advance PID in the Philippines.

  • PID Orientation Workshop - a two-day workshop designed to introduce the concept of PID to the wider AR&D community. It involves levelling off on the understanding of PID and agreeing on process of identifying existing innovation / innovations in their area.
  • Innovation scoping – using defined criteria, AR&D community identify existing innovations in their area.  These are showcased in an organised innovations fair at the provincial level.
  • PID training workshop – a 5-day capacity-building activity  aimed at further deepening of understanding on the PID concepts and processes, to prepare the NCC in the conduct of PID. The workshop will also provide a venue to discuss issues in developing innovations, particularly in the areas of Rural Advisory Services.
  • Action research on Rural Advisory Support (RAS) – a 2–3 month long action research that gathers baseline information on the status of RAS, factors affecting it etc. Outputs of the research feed into the planning / proposal development.
  • Planning workshop – a 2-day workshop that aims to develop a plan towards addressing RAS issues through innovation. The plans serve as basis for the proposal development for Prolinnova–Philippines.