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Learning Our Way Ahead: Navigating Institutional Change and Agricultural Decentralisation

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Type: Book
Author: Lightfoot, Clive; Ramírez, Ricardo; Groot, Annemarie; Noble, Reg; Alders, Carine; Shao, Francis; Kisauzi, Dan; Bekalo, Isaac
Date: 2001
Agency: International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED), London
Series: Gatekeeper Series, no. 98
URI: https://hdl.handle.net/10535/6198
Sector: Agriculture
Region: Africa
Subject(s): decentralization
governance and politics
Abstract: "The current move towards decentralisation and privatisation of agricultural services in many East African countries is requiring many organisations and individuals to 're-invent' their roles and responsibilities. Government staff at many levels, private input suppliers, farmer organisations and researchers all face the challenge of reduced government budgets whilst needing to become more responsive to the agricultural community. There are no blueprints for the new organisational and administrative arrangements. A new approach is needed which can bring together a broad range of stakeholders unaccustomed to working with each other and help them decide on the types of initiatives needed. This paper describes several experiences from East Africa and elsewhere where coalitions of different agriculture-related organisations at different levels have been using a learning process for collective planning and innovation. The learning process follows five phases: defining future agroecosystems; matching farmer demands with the services needed to create those agroecosystems; negotiating new partnerships; taking action; assessing the actions taken; and assessing the performance of new partnerships. The five phases are part of a continuous cycle, with all stakeholders constantly monitoring agroecosystem and partnership performance, identifying weaknesses and taking new action to improve performance further. The emphasis of the approach is on joint learning, since no single organisation can come up with all the solutions required and everyone stands to gain from improved co-ordination."

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