Knowledge as catalyst: using knowledge exchange and learning to commercialize a public agricultural research idea for Kenyan and Rwandan smallholder farmers
Keywords:knowledge management, Feed the Future Partnering for Innovation, USAID, Fintrac Inc., PICS bags, Purdue University, US Agency for International Development, Kenya, Rwanda
Actors involved in developing and scaling agricultural technologies in developing countries – specifically publicly funded research institutions and private sector businesses – operate according to different sets of motivations and perspectives. Their objectives, however, can be complementary and, with the right incentives, align to create synergies leading to innovative products and services for smallholder farmers. The exchange of knowledge among these actors plays a catalytic role in aligning motivations, perspectives, and objectives to advance innovations. Its role can aid in the initial stages of shaping public agricultural research priorities to the later stage of scaling-up a resulting product, service, or technology through commercialization. This case study illustrates this dynamic in a multi-year agricultural technology partnership between Feed the Future Partnering for Innovation, a United States Agency for International Development (USAID)-funded program implemented by Fintrac Inc., and Purdue University. The partnership aimed to scale use of an improved grain storage bag, known as PICS (Purdue Improved Crop Storage), to reduce postharvest loss among smallholder farmers in Kenya and Rwanda. The case study draws on lessons learned from this partnership, as well as from analysis conducted by Partnering for Innovation, notably Success Factors for Commercializing Agricultural Research: Lessons from Feed the Future Partnering for Innovation. The case presents a set of knowledge exchange touchpoints to facilitate collaboration between publicly funded research institutions and private sector businesses in successfully and sustainably scaling innovative agricultural technologies.
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Copyright (c) 2020 Laura Ostenso, Laura Harwig
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