Promoting creativity and learning through agricultural knowledge systems and interactive innovation
“Knowledge is no good unless it can be used by those who benefit most from it.” This was the message from European Commissioner Phil Hogan in his speech to the 140 participants (including nearly 50 farmers) at the EIP-AGRI seminar on ‘Promoting creativity and learning through agricultural knowledge systems and interactive innovation’ held in Dublin, Ireland, on 3-4 December 2015.
Approaches to knowledge exchange, learning and innovation in agriculture are rapidly changing. DG Agriculture and Rural Development, in close co-operation with Teagasc (the Agriculture and Food Development Authority for Ireland), invited a diverse group of farmers, advisers, researchers and others to Dublin to help find new and better ways to share the knowledge and expertise that are needed to build the agriculture and food production of the 21st century.
Setting the scene for the meeting, Inge Van Oost from DG AGRI introduced the concept of ‘Agricultural Knowledge and Innovation Systems’ and highlighted how important systems for learning and innovation are in relation to the day-to-day needs of most farmers. Ms. Van Oost explained that: “In the past it may have been sufficient to work out solutions to agricultural problems in a research context and then pass them down to the farmers. But nowadays we need to put together all the brains we can get to co-create knowledge and share the expertise needed to tackle the complex challenges we face.”
Participants from 25 countries enthusiastically discussed and shared their different experiences and ideas in a series of interactive discussions about how knowledge flows in European agriculture can be improved. Numerous practical comments were made on how to address the real knowledge needs of farmers, such as ”Researchers are not learning from farmers and do not provide practical solutions” and “Farmers do not need one size fits all advice – our needs are individual and farm specific”. All comments were collected and will be carefully considered by DG AGRI. Especially valuable were the success stories on new tools and approaches for finding, co-creating and using new knowledge. These were shared in 8 parallel sessions on themes ranging from social media for farmers to farmer-led interactive innovation and, ‘Thinking out of the box’. Click here for an overview of all the success stories presented.
As Commissioner Phil Hogan concluded in his speech, “The future agriculture will be an agriculture of knowledge. Not only research, but also advisory services, demonstration farms, farmers' organisations and networks are at the heart of these changes. But we need to make sure we get it right.”
More information about the seminar, including all presentations and supporting documents can be found here. An EIP-AGRI brochure on practical experiences of finding, co-creating and using new knowledge is currently being prepared.