Agricultural research and innovation are vital mechanisms for AR4D that should be driven directly by stakeholders participating in innovation systems, according to participants of the Knowledge, information, and advice in agri-food systems session.
Participants noted that public research systems, by design, are based on the open and free exchange of ideas, and public access to research provides greater returns and increases the potential for spillover benefits to support global AR4D investments.
Enhanced access to these outputs by all actors in agricultural research and innovation is essential to effective decision-making and the empowerment of various stakeholders across the AR4D spectrum.
“Research organizations, including the CGIAR, should not be satisfied just with producing high quality science,” noted Enrica Porcari of the CGIAR’s ICT-KM. “It is essential that research outputs are communicated and put to use, in the village, on the ground, in the lab, or across the negotiating table.”
Lack of skills, access to finance and technology were highlighted as constraints to accessing research outputs. Local and global efforts to promote broader access to farm information are also hindered by under-investment and a lack of diverse approaches to information and knowledge sharing systems.
There is a need for a global movement that reaches across the AR4D and advisory services communities to make public research outputs truly accessible and applicable, in support of innovation. In terms of successes, national advisory services in India and other countries were highlighted. Up-scaling the successes was noted as a challenge.
“Tailored,” multi-disciplinary and social media-based approaches to extension that support “communities of practice” were also highlighted for their potential benefits. In the US, young farmers are utilizing YouTube videos for farm advice.
To build on these successes, scientists will need incentives to encourage them to contribute information on the Internet and via other means.