"The marketplace has given us the opportunity to really do more research on Fusarium wilt."Miguel Dita, Biodiversity International, Costa Rica
Innovation and growth in agriculture are compromised by poor higher education, investment and R&D in many African and Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) countries.
The Agricultural Innovation Marketplace connects these countries with one another and with EMBRAPA researchers in Brazil, to provide solutions for current and future use.
Technical solutions developed by EMBRAPA (Brazilian Agricultural Research Corporation) were made accessible to African and LAC research institutions with similarities in climate and ecology.
Joint research projects involving Brazil, other LAC and African countries were proposed, developed and funded through the Marketplace initiative.
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The Agricultural Innovation Marketplace project can offer:
- A framework for knowledge sharing and refining ideas across multiple regions
Brazil, Africa and other LAC countries
Brazilian Agricultural Research Corporation (EMBRAPA), Brazilian Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Food Supply, Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA), Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA), Brazilian Cooperation Agency, The World Bank Group, The Gates Foundation, DfID
May 2010 - Present
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Accelerating agricultural growth and development depends on introducing new technologies and innovations. But many of the countries of Africa and Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) lack the capacity to do this, which is hindering growth in the agricultural sector. Underinvestment in agricultural research and development (R&D) due to shortage of resources, limited scientific capacity, and failure to effectively translate research results into practical solutions for farmers, all contribute to the problem.
The long-term solution is to increase funding for agricultural research and education. However, countries have an urgent need to increase productivity and income and a long wait is not an acceptable option. The Innovation Marketplace platform provides a way to adopt technologies developed elsewhere and effectively apply them domestically, giving farmers access to improved agricultural technologies and farming practices that can boost productivity and income.
Deepening a country's innovation capacity requires a continuous supply of improved agricultural technologies and management practices. For most developing countries, ensuring a steady supply of such technologies is a difficult task, due to limited financial and human resources and institutional capacity.
Experience has shown that a shift towards a higher agricultural growth trajectory in developing countries relies on increased productivity, which in turn translates into higher farm incomes, poverty alleviation and the ability to successfully compete for market shares, both domestically and on international markets. All this depends heavily on contributions from an effective and modern agricultural research system.
The Agricultural Innovation Marketplace process starts by inviting and encouraging researchers from African, Latin American and Caribbean countries to partner with Brazilian researchers. Together, they propose outlines aimed at solving known constraints on smallholders’ production and productivity. Proposal topics so far include productivity enhancement; natural resources management; policy, institutional strengthening, and knowledge management; and technologies targeted to smallholders and poverty-alleviation.
Proposals are scored by a steering committee and the best ones are funded. The process enables researchers in developing countries to take advantage of knowledge and existing technologies developed in Brazil, and to transfer them to the specific conditions of African and LAC countries, and/or launch new joint research efforts. The selection process ensures that only the best ideas are approved and financed by the Marketplace. To further enhance the program’s effectiveness, a Brazilian public agricultural research corporation (EMBRAPA) has overall responsibility for follow-up and oversight during the implementation of the projects.
Working with Brazilian researchers, African and LAC institutions gain access to concrete technological solutions that help them address problems faced by small farmers. Not only does the process generate knowledge, technology, products, and services, it also fosters exchanges between researchers and the effective transfer of technologies where there are similarities in climate, ecosystems, and agricultural and farming practices.
The Marketplace has proven to be a very efficient mechanism for taking advantage of knowledge from Brazilian researchers to solve concrete technical challenges faced by smallholder farmers in Africa and LAC. Since its introduction, it has approved funding for 53 projects for implementation in 13 African countries (Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Mali, Mozambique, Nigeria, Tanzania, Togo and Uganda); and 13 projects in 8 Latin American Countries (Bolivia, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominica, Nicaragua, Paraguay and Suriname).
Moreover, it attracted new partners such as the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and additional resources from initial partners such as DfID.
Lessons learned and potential for replication
Overall, the project has been successful. EMBRAPA has been a major factor in handling the many requests for technical cooperation with Brazil, and in empowering the scientists to flexibly address and solve a wide range of technical issues.
A number of lessons emerged from the small scientific projects funded by the programme:
- Small projects like the ones funded by the Marketplace need to be linked with bigger programmes to help them achieve their targeted outputs and outcomes.
- When properly planned and appropriately linked with partner institutions, these projects are an effective vehicle for knowledge transfer.
- Farmers’ involvement at all phases of the technology transfer ensures acceptability and promotes a sense of ownership.
- Incorporation of gender issues contributed to active farmers’ participation.
A new platform called Building on Successes (M-BOSS) has been developed to finance the scaling up of projects based on the positive results of Marketplace projects. A total of US$9 million has already been committed to this initiative by several donors. M-BOSS is expected to substantially increase the potential impact of Marketplace projects on agricultural development at local and regional levels.
Solution Document Downloads
Solution Additional ResourcesAgricultural Innovation Marketplace official website Press release from IFAD on the Innovation Marketplace
Last update: 09/08/2018