IFAD Innovation Day: "Facilitating links
between research and innovation"
FID took part in Innovation Day organized by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) on June 28 in Rome, Italy. The session dedicated to FID underlined the need for close collaboration between researchersand organizations driving innovation in the development sector.
The session “Funding evidence-based innovative solutions to rural development challenges : the case of the Fund for Innovation in Development” moderated by Claire Bernard, FID Deputy Director, highlighted the synergies that can be established between researchers and innovation-driven organizations.
In his introduction, Raoul Mille, Scientific Advisor of the Permanent Representation of France to IFAD, stated that "science, technology and innovation are key elements of the UN 2030 agenda".
Tanguy Bernard, Associate Researcher,Director of Bordeaux School of Economics and specialist in agricultural economics, shared his close experience with FID. He emphasized the benefits of cooperation between different sectors and the role of research in the deployment of innovations: "Agriculture is a field that continuously innovates. The good news is that there are plenty of innovations, and researchers work with innovators to accelerate the scaling up of innovations with high potential through rigorous impact evaluations, and foster broader knowledge that goes beyond one specific project".
The cooperation between research and innovation enables to identify the real needs of communities, the impact of scientific and technological innovations, and thus provide information on how to deploy and replicate solutions adapted to specific contexts.
Two Kenyan projects to support small producers
In order to illustrate the potential of innovation to solve rural development issues, two projects funded by FID were presented, respectively stemming from experimental research and entrepreneurial approaches.
Dr Denis Muchangi, Senior lecturer at the Kenyan Kirinyaga Public University, presented an initiative to centralize the cotton ginning process at the scale of small producers in the country in order to improve their incomes. "We are piloting this in Kenya, in 2 counties, Kiryniaga and Ambu, and we are testing, experimenting, optimizing this project to allow farmers to use Microgene [a cotton-processing machine]for a certain period ot time. Then, they will provide us with their feedback so that we know what needs to be improved, what needs to be changed, what the risks are and how to minimize them". Based on the results of this pilot project, the research team hopes to scale up this program in the 27 counties of the country involved in cotton cultivation “This will help farmers and the whole community".
Eveline Jansen, Regional Programme Manager, Food Flow, Enviu then presented a project led by the Kenyan company Shambani Pro which aims to transform second-grade avocados into marketable products to help small producers increase their income. A pilot which "is a bit of a mixed approach between research and the private sector because we gather the majority of our data through the campany and through customers’ records”.
This Innovation Day was also an opportunity to foster fruitful exchanges with those involved in innovation at the service of rural development and the fight against food insecurity in the world. International organizations such as the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the World Food Programme (WFP), but also bilateral development agencies and teams with innovative solutions took part in this event.
Almost two years after the opening of its call for proposals, FID is currently supporting nearly 10 projects in the field of agriculture and rural development, which are intended to spread widely in order to contribute to this joint effort to urgently tackle food insecurity and improve the living conditions of farmers in developing countries.
The session is visible in replay here (2:15:45)
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