An oft-discussed issue when it comes to NRM practices (generated from CGIAR research) is what constitutes 'adoption'. While this is a result of the fact that practices are often a combination of recommended management techniques that farmers deploy differently – like in the case of conservation agriculture where a farmer may use zero tillage + residue retention in one season, but only practice residue retention in another – one can also start to see the deviation away from ‘blanket recommendations’ in agricultural extension over the decades, leaving more room for interpretation (and innovation) by farmers. Blanket recommendations for fertilizer application do have several issues in that they do not take diversity of farming environments into account, and hence are not always profitable for farmers. But this deviation from blanket recommendations brings up other issues.
Following a competitive call for expressions of interest in November 2015, SPIA conducted an expert workshop on how best to approach documentation of adoption of selected Natural Resource Management (NRM) practices linked to CGIAR research outputs (16-17 December, 2015). The NRM practices and countries of interest had been identified as high priority in a previous SPIA exercise of reviewing and rating claims made in annual reports and other relevant literature regarding the scale of uptake of CGIAR-derived NRM research outcomes.
Traditionally, SPIA would have reviewed EOIs and requested full proposals from a sub-set of proponents. However, considering (1) the unique challenges in defining what constitutes adoption of a specific NRM practice, (2) that existing surveys may already have relevant/useful data or upcoming survey rounds (planned) may offer opportunities to collect additional data, and (3) the typology of proponents anticipated to express interest (academic researchers, private sector entities, CGIAR Centers, remote sensing experts etc.) – SPIA took an innovative approach: all EOI proponents were invited to a workshop wherein collaborations were fostered through a combination of presentation-led discussions and group work.8Mar 2016