Strengthening innovation support SERVices to enhance INNOVations for sustainable food production, ensuring the well-being of rural populations, and reducing environmental degradation and resource depletion
Project consortium and fund
Participant organization names
Centre de Cooperation International en Recherche
Agronomique pour le Developpement
Dr Syndhia MATHE
University of Hohenheim
Professor Andrea KNIERIM
University of Dschang
Guillaume FONGANG, PhD
Centre d’Etudes, de Documentation et de Recherche économiques et sociales
Professor Idrissa Ouedrago
Université d’Antananarivo, école Supérieure des sciences agronomiques
Prof. Harilala ANDRIAMANIRAKA
European Institute for Cooperation and Development
FIkambanana FAmpivoarana ny TAntsaha
African Forum for Agricultural Advisory Services
Groupe de recherche et d’échanges technologiques
The International Institute of Tropical Agriculture
Dr Marc SCHUT
Thematic and geographic area of the project:
- Agroforestry systems
- Sustainable food security
- Nutritious value chain
The overall aim of SERVInnov is to strengthen, multiply and promulgate innovations which have significant positive impacts on food and nutrition security through improvement of agriculture and agrifood systems. Innovations in agriculture and across food systems are crucial in facilitating the private sectors’ (from small holders to big companies) economic growth and inclusive development. To boost agricultural and agrifood innovations, effective Innovation Support Services (ISS) must be developed in an accessible and sustainable way, in collaboration with either public or private service providers. According to the literature, ISS are dominantly immaterial and result from the interactions (activities) between providers and beneficiaries undertaken to solve a problematic situation within the innovation process. The services cover: fostering technical and social design, enabling the appropriation of information and knowledge for innovations, facilitating access to resources, helping to transform the environment and strengthening capacities to innovate. For the moment, these support services are diffuse, not visible, uncoordinated and only partially meet the needs of the innovators. SERVinnov’s specific objectives are to assess existing innovation support services (types of providers, services and interventions), to analyze their relevance and efficiency. SERVInnov will characterize ISS in three countries: Burkina Faso, Cameroon and Madagascar, and within innovation case studies related to the improvement of agriculture, sustainable intensification and agrifood systems. The approach that we propose first makes it possible to identify the strengths and weaknesses of innovation support services with respect to innovation challenges in the country concerned and second, in collaboration with ISS providers and policy makers, to explore how gaps in the supply of ISS can be filled by developing new skills or by improving the structure of existing innovation service providers.
Project’s main objective(s):
The overall aim of SERVInnov is to strengthen, multiply and promulgate innovations which have significant positive impacts on food and nutrition security through improvement of agriculture and agrifood systems. Innovations in agriculture and across food systems are crucial in facilitating the private sectors’ (from small holders to big companies) economic growth and inclusive development.
Theory of Change and Impact Pathway
Summary ToC with assumptions
SERVInnov intends to substantially increase the effectiveness of innovation support services at all levels of Agricultural Innovation Systems across food systems and along value chains which have impacts on FNSSA. SERVInnov is based on the theory of voluntary modification of behaviour and related concepts from agricultural extension which define advisory services such as the co-production of knowledge and skills to enhance clients’ self-determined problem-solving capacities. Mid-term impacts will be generated at three decision making and governance levels: (i) within cooperating ISS providers, (ii) among the ISS system actors involved in the case studies and (iii) in the respective national AIS networks. In particular, SERVInnov consortium partners will cooperate in a way that enhances their diagnosis, implementation and training capacities with regard to effective ISS. Through the use of participatory diagnosis and assessment tools for effective ISS, SERVInnov partners will raise the awareness of their case study partners and improve their capacities through training.
Expected outcomes and impact:
In concrete terms, we have identified four main situations in which capacities are improved. The first is during the co-design of the frameworks. Researchers and practitioners learn about the empirical and theoretical frameworks from each other. At the same time, researchers from the EU and African countries will learn from each other and together identify conditions in which the use of European frameworks will be useful in Africa. The second situation is during case assessment, when the actors involved in the case acquire an analytical appreciation of their cases, particularly service providers, who acquire capacities to better design their intervention in the case concerned. The third situation occurs during the national workshops: these interactive workshops and proactive dissemination and awareness raising strategies developed at national and international levels represent highly effective learning processes for both project partners and external stakeholders. The fourth situation concerns exchanges between practitioners during the national workshops. The service providers learn from each other and from the different support systems in which they are involved. Long-term impacts will be ensured because the results delivered will be based on cases of innovation that are relevant for the sustainable intensification of agriculture at field, farm and regional scales, and contribute to FNSSA.