“IFPRI’s call to shake-up research” is the name of the article in the most recent edition of the New Agriculturalist magazine highlighting the recently held ‘Advancing Agriculture in Developing countries through Knowledge and Innovation conference’, by IFPRI in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia in April 2008.

The conference, as seen by the New Agriculturalist was part of ‘the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) now joining the growing chorus‘ on necessary changes in agricultural research by ‘issuing its own “roadmap” for development, which champions the importance of innovation and the pressing need to make scientific research relevant to farmers‘.

One key objective that was pointed out in the conference was the need to “identify and promote better research...” since the “academic accomplishments of isolated laboratory staff have often found no practical use, with new findings often failing to trickle down to smallholders. If and when they have, some technologies have either been inappropriate or farmers have lacked the human and financial resources to implement them.” (Source: Article)

The article points out that the conference was looking for ways to address these problems. Some highlights of approaches proposed included:

  • encouragement for researchers (including students) to talk to farmers and find ways of linking indigenous knowledge with more formal research processes and findings
  • fundamental change in research structures and processes so that research is tailored to the needs of farmers and scientists have the technical skills to deal with them

More information about the conference, including key documents, can be found on the IFPRI Conference website

The topic of the event is closely aligned with the principles embodied in the ICT-KM program and its interventions. The ICT-KM is trying to support the “focus on changing systems” by Centres such as IFPRI and the CGIAR as a whole through learning about, sharing knowledge, providing technology and giving support in the types of tools, technologies, approaches, and systemic changes which can bring about and support such changes.

The ICT-KM program through the Knowledge Sharing in Research project provided funds to support this important event. In addition Enrica Porcari-CGIAR CIO and Leader of the ICT-KM program- represented the program at the event, gave a presentation on ICT-KM interventions, and chaired a session.

To see the ICT-KM interventions abstract -view ifpri-abstract-final

To see the ICT-KM interventions presentation-view(Note size = 1.5 MB) ictkm_kiard-addis-1-april1

The ICT-KM interventions presented will be featured in a chapter of the book which will be coming out of the Conference.