Starting FAIR – Local Innovation Support Funds

The coordinator of FAIR (Farmer Access to Innovation Resources), Anton Krone of Prolinnova -South Africa, was in Montpellier, France, in mid-October 2005 taking part in a meeting of coordinators of the twelve projects that have won support from the DURAS (Promoting Sustainable Development in Agricultural Research Systems) Competitive Grant Scheme. DURAS is a research-for-development programme under the Global Forum for Agricultural Research (GFAR) and is funded by the French Government. At the meeting in Montpellier , the project coordinators learned about each other’s activities and approaches, and discussed project monitoring, reporting and evaluation. More information about the workshop can be found at the DURAS website.

 Under FAIR, action research is being carried out on setting up and managing pilot Local Innovation Support Funds (LISFs) in Cambodia, South Africa, Sudan and Uganda. Two additional Prolinnova Country Programmes – Ethiopia and Nepal – are undertaking similar activities with their own funds. FAIR is looking into mechanisms to enable groups of innovative farmers to access resources that will help them conduct further research and communication to improve and share their innovations, in collaboration with other stakeholders. Winning a DURAS grant for this important new component in the international Prolinnova programme is a great achievement. Now comes the challenge to develop institutional arrangements and mechanisms that can be easily accessed by farmers, are not bureaucratic and are independent from mainstream research and development institutes but are supported by them. Participatory monitoring and evaluation of this process as a source of learning is central to the project. The project was launched in October 2005. One of the first activities is to make an overview of experiences worldwide with setting up and operating local funds for agricultural research and development. more… (Piloting LISFs)

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