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 Advisory Services (RAS) at the local (municipal) level through the introduction and facilitation of multistakeholder 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 multistakeholder platforms for the testing,adoption and sharing of innovations in agriculture and natural resource management (AgNRM) and for provision of rural advisory services
d. To raise awareness on Participatory Innovation Development (PID) approaches among policymaking and academic institutions.
Major strategy: Tripartite partnership
Partnerships among NGOs, farmer organisations and local governments are needed to provide RAS. 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 (ARD) sector in the country.
- The network works with stakeholders from selected municipalities where IIRR has ongoing partner local government units such as the municipality of Guinayangan in Quezon Province and the 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 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 coordinating committee will also be implementing the decisions made by the wider CoP members.
Approach: Multistakeholder innovation platforms at 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 multistakeholder initiative aimed at reviving smallholder agriculture (with emphasis on food, nutrition and livelihoods). Orientation of government, NGOs, academe and community-based organisations in PID processes, 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 formal organisations but also informal groups), NGOs and the LGU levels
- Action research at the community level (two villages per municipality in each of the areas represented by partner NGOs). Local Innovation Support Fund (LISF) approaches will be used through the resilience-building funds. Annual competitions and fairs will be held to portray the 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.
The inception phase is characterised by organising the Coordinating Committee 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 Coordinating Committee in setting up 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 ARD community. It involves levelling off on the understanding of PID and agreeing on a process of identifying existing innovation / innovations in their area.
- Innovation scoping – using defined criteria, people from the ARD community identify local innovations in their area. These are showcased in an organised innovation 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 Coordinating Committee in the conduct of PID. The workshop will also provide a venue to discuss issues in developing innovations, particularly in the areas of RAS.
- Action research on RAS – action research of 2–3 months to gathers baseline information on the status of RAS, factors affecting it etc. Outputs of the research will feed into the planning / proposal development.
- Planning workshop – a 2-day workshop that aims to develop a plan towards addressing RAS issues through local innovation. The plans serve as basis for the proposal development for Prolinnova–Philippines.
Members of Coordinating Committee:
Ms Aida P Luistro, Southern Tagalog Integrated Agricultural Research (STIARC)
Ms Belina Rosales, Municipality of Guinayangan
Felino J Gutierrez Jr., Extension Services, Southern Luzon State University (SLSU)
Roberto Gajo, Provincial Agriculture, Quezon Province
Ms Emily Monville & Ms Maggie Rosimo, ex-officio members as coordinators of Prolinnova–Philippines