Kristin Davis (GFRAS), Rasheed Sulaiman (AESA, India), Xiangping Jia (Northwest Agriculture & Forest University, China)
See the key messages and conclusions, written by participants:
Key messages written by Andrea Siclari, SDC Switzerland:
1. How exactly do your systems in your countries reach the millions of smallholders?
In both India and China the RAS set-up is complex with some elements decentralized while others are kept at central level. India has only kept an advisory function at central level, while RAS is implemented by the states autonomously. The establishment of Farmer’s Organizations (FO) has been the key to reach the Millions in India. In China, the preconditions for an effective RAS system to reach out to large numbers of farmers have been land tenure security and access to market. Once these conditions were fulfilled RAS has enabled itself with a outreach capacities of the private sector.
2. What innovative strategies of India and China were presented regarding agricultural knowledge and innovation systems?
Again India has put in place a mechanism involving farmers in RAS and its shaping while in China farmers are not involved. In India FOs seem to be the answer to knowledge management, although their capacity remains very weak. This weakness is also recognized by GFRAS at a global level, but once strengthened the FOs can represent the link between farmers and research. In China the only recently established FOs are mainly used by input providers for distribution and for the government to access farmers. The panel agrees on the fact that the mandate of the extensionists has to be broadened. China sees a big potential in ICT to improve RAS knowledge transfer.
3. How is the private sector contributing to RAS?
Private sector is seen as a complement to public RAS, however implementation of the policies has proven a challenge. In China a conflict between public and private interest is evident, especially regarding environmental protection. The government needs to provide the regulatory framework and enforce a balance between these interests. A possible solution is the Indian example of input dealers being trained by government schools. Another issue raised is the importance of large companies and the neglect of SME.
Key messages and conclusion written by Philaiphone Vongpraseuth, SDC Laos
- Capacity of all actors
- Ecological goals
- Coordination of all actors to be strengthened
- Farmers are the key group for RAS effectiveness evaluation
- Dissemination of knowledge
- Linking farmers to research
- RAS is the key to bring all actors into one platform
Conclusion written by Antonio Dionico, AMMANI Philippines and his team
- Farmer organizations can be important players in the RAS system, but they are not all the same and their capacities are often limited. The private sector can also play a major role but their profit and business objective have to be tempered.