As part of a 3-year project focusing on improving the livelihoods of poor livestock keepers by improving availability of fodder, testing of new groundnut varieties incorporated Participatory Rural Appraisal (PRA), Rapid Rural Appraisal (RRA), Focus Group Discussions (FGDs) and Field Days as platforms of learning. The approaches were limited in attempting to address the complexity of the groundnut system and therefore constraints to uptake of improved varieties continued to be elusive. Evolution of the project approach recognized the potential of multi-stakeholder approaches to take a broader view of how novelty in a system and innovation occur. Interactions between a range of actors including traders, oil-seed merchants, private seed companies, etc. were facilitated and a process of action and reflective learning explored. As a result a new set of constraints and opportunities were identified that prevented innovation related to the use of new groundnut varieties. Documentation and analysis of the type and quality of the linkages between the actors within the system helped to catalogue the process, and the platform created provided the opportunity to learn from each other. Lessons and implications are discussed.
Paper presented at International Conference on Social Science perspectives in Agricultural Research and Development, February 15-18, 2006, Indian Council of Agriculture Research, and New Delhi, India. 18 pp.