INIA Uruguay: Innovation for smallholder agriculture is our way foward.

In an interview for GCARD2, the President of INIA in Uruguay, Alvaro Roel, presents the INIA as the result of an innovation process and so, a vehicle for innovation itself now. Innovation is no more an option – it is a necessity. Innovation can be applied for the technologies proposed on the field. But at the same time the President stresses the importance of Institutional innovation. “Some of our technologies have found problems to be adopted on the ground. For that we have created new Consortiums or Associations that have helped to their implementation.”

Roel highlights with satisfaction how today INIA works under Public-Private partnership making it a demanded driven Institution. INIA’s executive board is made from stakeholders coming from private and public sector. It is this board that decides the orientations of the research the Institute will lead the coming year. This is an example that can come to illustrate one of the main subjects of the GCARD2: Partnership for impact.

A new specific line has been opened to give answers to smallholder agriculture; innovation has to be adapted to this kind of farming systems. Uruguay’s farmland price jumped eight times from 2002 to 2010 (read the whole article in: farmlandgrab.org). This phenomenon is lead by foreign investors taking over Uruguayan farms (read the whole article in: grain.org) In such a competition context, smallholder farmers need to be assisted by research in order to be effective in front of the huge farms devoted to the agribusiness. Will innovation answer to the needs of familiar farms? Is the Uruguayan public research avoiding necessary land redistribution?

For the INIA’s President Capacity Building of his staff will be the victory or defeat of the Institution in the coming years, “Our staff will have to be able to give answers to a new challenging context but also will have to anticipate strategies to the future framework.” The Institute is looking forward attending the GCARD2’s to participate to rich discussions where they will share experiences and learn from others’ good practices. It has been an effort done not only by Institutions but by the whole country.

Blogpost by Myriam Perez, one of the GCARD2 social reporters.


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