Speaking at the ‘Fourth Ethiopian Fodder Roundtable’ hosted by ILRI on 22 June, Kebebe Ergano of ILRI introduced the IFAD-Funded ‘Fodder Adoption Project’ (FAP) and how it uses multi-stakeholder platforms to bring together people working with livestock and fodder in Ethiopia.
The project starting point is the recognition that feed/fodder scarcity is a major constraint to livestock production in Ethiopia. It also recognizes that fodder scarcity is not just about technologies but also about the collective capacity of a network of individuals and organizations.
It therefore uses an innovation system framework to engage multiple actors along livestock commodity value chains – facilitating continuous interaction among stakeholders to generate innovation rather than just research products or technologies.
The vehicles for the interactions are several multi-stakeholder platforms where actors directly or indirectly involved in livestock value chains raise and discuss common issues of concern.
From an initial focus on fodder, the scope of project discussions were broadened as different actors set out their concerns. Kebede: “We started with fodder, but we were dragged to deal with other issues like AI, marketing, and so on.”
Some of the lessons learned so far:
- Participatory selection of technologies that address farmers’ priority problems and demonstrating tangible economic benefits is key;
- Linking forage technologies with value chain issues in livestock enterprises is critical for successful adoption of forage technologies;
- Functioning markets (such as for inputs, credit, and output) and basic development infrastructure (road, electricity, ICT, etc) are key to technology uptake and agricultural transformation;
- Selecting stakeholders and understanding their needs and positions is important;
- Stakeholder platforms should not be simply a ‘talk shop’ and they must support tangible outcomes;
- Strong convening agency for stakeholder platforms is a must;
- Presence of a local facilitator with adequate training to facilitate the process is essential;
- Regular formal and informal communication that creates transparency is critical to the process;
- Willingness to adapt to changing circumstances and uncertainty must be recognized;
- Trust, mutual respect and patience, especially in the face of frustration and slow progress, are key ingredients;
- Monitoring and (self-) evaluation throughout the process by stakeholders will result in improved learning and better outcomes.
In this video interview, Ergano explains how the project evolved into a multi-stakeholder platform.
In this video interview, Juergen Greiling from SNV explains the value of multi-stakeholder platforms and hubs as devices to bring different actors together to identify and implement development activities.