At the Prolinnova Oversight Group (POG) meeting in Bamako, Mali, in mid-March 2012, a new Country Platform (CP) was accepted into the Prolinnova Global Partnership Programme (GPP): Prolinnova-India. We welcome this newest member in our multi-stakeholder community of practice under the umbrella of the Global Forum on Agricultural Research for Development (GFAR). Prolinnova-India is coordinated by Ms Sonali Bisht, Director of INHERE (Institute of Himalayan Environmental Research and Education). This youngest CP is already involved in a new regional initiative called LINEX-CCA: Local INnovation and EXperimentation: an entry point to Climate-Change Adaptation for sustainable livelihoods in Asia – together with the CPs in Cambodia and Nepal. LINEX-CCA is funded by Misereor, Germany.
Using this project as a “launching pad”, INHERE wanted to develop partnerships among diverse stakeholders in agricultural research and development (ARD) to promote farmer-led participatory innovation development (PID) in northern India. Prolinnova-India sought full participation and voice for small-scale farmers in research and policymaking on agriculture, leading to prosperity for resource-poor farmers. This means recognition of their knowledge and innovation efforts, proper use of public funds for ARD and increase in net income of the smallholders. Over time, multi-stakeholder platforms to promote local innovation by and with small-scale farmers were to be built up in other parts of India. The lead organisations of the core groups in each area would then come together to form a Prolinnova task force at national level.
Sonali Bisht learned about Prolinnova when she attended the first Global Conference on Agricultural Research for Development (GCARD1) held in Montpellier, France, in mid-2010. She then took first steps towards setting up this new multi-stakeholder Prolinnova platform in India. She mobilised resources to be able to attend the Prolinnova International Partners Workshop (IPW) in Tanzania in March 2011 and the IPW in Mali in March 2012, in the latter case with funding from APAARI (Asia-Pacific Association of Agricultural Research Institutes) as a contribution to strengthening the voices of civil-society organisations in decision-making about ARD. In 2011, Sonali was named by the CSO Group on Agricultural Research for Development (CSO-GARD) as the NGO person on the Organising Committee for GCARD2, held in Uruguay in October 2012. The CSO-GARD then asked her to take over the NGO seat in the Global Forum for Agricultural Research (GFAR) Steering Committee and Programme Committee until completion of the GFAR governance review. This has now been completed.