Four IITA scientists, Drs Norbert Maroya, Djana Mignouna, Victor Manyong, and Thomas Wobill, joined 64 other partners from different research institutions, NGOs, universities, USAID, and Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation at the Swissôtel Nai Lert Park, Bangkok, Thailand, 26–28 May for a learning workshop. The workshop was organized by the Monitoring, Learning & Evaluation (MLE) team on Agricultural Development of the Gates Foundation.
The experts converged to build a shared learning agenda on technology adoption, discuss the dearth of credible data around the adoption of technologies and practices, and reach a consensus for improving measurement techniques to deliver credible data to the agricultural sector. All are aimed at reducing poverty and increasing the agricultural productivity of smallholder farmers in South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa.
The discussions were focused on establishing what works, as well as on identifying the gaps that remain in the knowledge base on technology adoption. Other objectives of the workshop were as follows:
Arrive at a common understanding of issues related to adoption, specifically ideas in planning, promoting, and measuring adoption
Identify best practices in adoption planning, promotion, and measurement
Co-create a list of open questions, existing gaps and constraints, and known opportunities to measure the adoption of agricultural developments
As a result of IITA’s participation in the meeting there are shared lessons which are expected to facilitate learning among collaborating partners. The main achievement was the development of a list of significant questions pertinent to adoption which helped to build a strong knowledge base for both the Gates Foundation AgDev Program and partners.
The challenges identified were that many pockets of credible evidence existed but shared learning was infrequent. Different adoption studies tried to answer questions of the same type and often in the same locations, without collaboration. This duplication of efforts leads to a waste of resources. To prevent these, some common tools for adoption will be developed by participants.