Expert Consultation on Best Practices in Agri-Food Innovations in Asia and the Pacific, Taichung City, Taiwan
The Expert Consultation on Best Practices in Agri-food Innovations in Asia and the Pacific was organized jointly by the Asia-Pacific Association of Agricultural Research Institutions (APAARI); the Council of Agriculture (COA), Taiwan; Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR); the World Vegetable Center (AVRDC), Taiwan; and the Asian Farmers Association (AFA), the Philippines, at Taichung City, Taiwan on 1-3, November 2016. It was attended by 87 participants from 14 countries including researchers, policy makers, innovative farmers and representatives of various organizations including national agricultural research institutions (NARIs) and organizations (NAROs), Higher Education Institutions, the private sector, civil society organizations (CSOs) – non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and farmers’ organizations (FOs), women and youth representatives, CG Centers, and International Agricultural Research Centres. The programme was planned in six technical sessions besides inaugural and concluding sessions. It provided a platform to: (i) have in-depth discussions; (ii) develop a road map to catalyze policy/decision makers; (iii) sensitize stakeholders in agri-food research and innovations; and (iv) embrace successful agri-food innovations for upscaling and outscaling in Asia and the Pacific.

On 2 November, a field trip to the genebank and demonstration garden of AVRDC and the Taiwan Orchid Plantation was carried out for further comprehending the international cooperation and development of Taiwan agricultural industry. It was a fruitful and joyful experience where participants from different countries of the Asia-Pacific region could exchange information and knowledge, build up international network on agricultural issues, and strengthen collaboration with each other.

Major Recommendations
Models and Case Studies of Agri-food Innovations

• Partnerships and alliances with new actors are essential in contributing to innovative solutions to achieve scale out.
• There is an urgent need for innovation platforms to share knowledge between various actors, including industry, policy makers and researchers.
• The development of good agricultural practices, which comes under the incremental innovation, will address pesticide residue and food safety concerns.

Partnership for Agri-food Innovations
  • There is a need to develop a roadmap to document innovative partnerships between funding agencies, researchers and the end users of research in the Asia-Pacific region.
  • Incubation centres should be developed for adoption of good agricultural practices and to promote and upscale local agri-food innovations in a public-private partnership mode.
  • Market intelligence should be ensured to strategize production and marketing, and to develop a database on agri-food market chains and post-harvest losses in Asia-Pacific.
  • There is a strong need for participation of cooperative societies and NGOs in technology dissemination, and to have fair distribution of profits among all actors in the value chain.

Capacity Development in Agri-food Innovations

  • The capacity in agri-food innovations area will need to be built individually to work collectively, must be specific to the time in which it is developed and there should not be any risk in order to safeguard the interest of farmers, as well as enhance their economy.
  • Capacity development for innovation should be based on a long-term strategy with plans covering three interconnected dimensions: individual and organizational innovation capacity, and the creation of an enabling environment.
  • There is a need to develop platforms for assessment, training, measuring the impacts of different efforts and interventions, and for enabling collective actions and investments in development of capacity for agri-food innovations.
  • There is a need for political support in capacity building for sustainable and new concepts and institutional innovations with the emphasis on institutional change and skill development.

Technology Based Agri-food Innovations

  • There is a greater need for the collection, documentation, maintenance, and application of information related to all processes in the supply chain.
  • Concerted efforts are needed to develop public-private partnership to catalyze private investment in scaling up of agri-food innovations through the development of a business model by which the enterprise delivers value to customers, entices customers to pay for value, and converts those payments to profit.
  • Special efforts need to be made on the process of developing a strategy, which should be open, specific to the time in which it is developed, and adaptive. It should evolve over time, incorporate learning, and allow adjustments to the desired course if required.
  • Greater thrust needs to be given on the development of new technologies to help improve the productivity of the farming systems, while decreasing their impact on the environment. These technologies should be contextual in nature, location and season specific, minimizing post-harvest and storage losses which will add income to farmers and in value chain.

There is an urgent need for ICT-led agriculture, training of farmers in agricultural extension, biosafety and quarantine, conservation and profiling of indigenous breeds, strengthening of local institutions and the capacity to maintain and use biodiversity at local levels, product certification and women’s empowerment.

Knowledge Management on Agri-food Innovations

  • Concerted efforts are required for collection, customization, and dissemination of innovative knowledge and information in order to convert personal knowledge into organizational knowledge and corporate information. To disseminate information there is a need for credible messages in national and simplified language. , Technical agri-food associations and extension agencies can be used for transferring knowledge to different stakeholders.
  • Focused attention is required for managing knowledge on technical innovations in the production process, postharvest handling, product processing, reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, climate change, as well as non-technical innovations in marketing, institutional development and capacity building.
  • There is an urgent need for more innovations for technology management, by establishing industry clusters, strengthening agribusiness assistance, enhancing agro-tech marketing, assisting finance in the capital markets, training human resources and integrating industrialization platforms.
  • Concerted efforts are needed to organize a series of workshops, which should include skills for partnering and engagement, project logic and theory of change; monitoring evaluation and learning tools for adaptive and managed action and learning, the theory and practice of multi-stakeholder processes, and innovation platforms.
  • To promote long-term growth and the jobs of tomorrow, governments must ensure that framework conditions, institutions and policies facilitate business investment in knowledge-based capitals. Therefore, investment is needed in non-physical assets, such as R&D, data, software, patents, new business models, organizational processes, firm-specific skills and designs, especially for family farmers, service providers, traders and processors, researchers, policy-makers, etc., in developing their capacity to innovate. Special attention to youth and women is important.

Policy Oriented Agri-food Innovations

  • There is urgent need for policy of agricultural transformation to revitalize rural community and to increase rural income by encouraging collective actions of multi-sectoral stakeholders by which individual farms shift from highly diversified, subsistence-oriented production towards more specialized production – product- or market-oriented agriculture.
  • The poor and less privileged in the country that do not have capacity to pay, should not be neglected. There should be fair treatment and equal opportunities for all people. One of the causes of disunity in a country is when the country neglects a section of its population. This can easily be avoided if a national policy is put in place to address all these issues.
  • Special efforts need to be made on facilitating cooperation, networking activities and partnerships among different innovation actors working in the same field – universities, research and technological centers, SMEs and large firms – to achieve synergies and technology transfer.
  • Focused attention is needed to provide the necessary financial services and training that will help farmers increase their crop yields, improve income and food security for their families and communities, and create jobs for their neighbors.
  • Concerted efforts are needed to develop indicators and tools to evaluate the performance of agricultural innovation systems in general, and innovation policy regularly, taking longer term effects into account, possibly in collaboration with other countries and organizations.
  • APAARI should play a major role in sharing knowledge of agri-food innovations across these countries in the Asia-pacific region.
  • There is an urgent need to share databases between public and private organizations for upscaling and outscaling technologies in a public-private-partnership mode, keeping in view the interest of smallholder farmers.
Published on: 2017-03-02 (718 reads)
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