Linking Research With Pro-poor Innovation: the Papa Andina Case
Linking knowledge generation in international research centers with national innovation systems and policy processes is challenging and poor linkage often reduces the impacts of research efforts. It has been especially difficult to link researchers with small farmers who produce root crops in marginal areas. This paper describes the approaches used by Papa Andina, a partnership program hosted by the International Potato Center, to link knowledge generation (in both international and national spheres) with political action and pro-poor innovation processes. Papa Andina employs the Participatory Market Chain Approach (PMCA) and Stakeholder Platforms to foster for pro-poor innovation within market chains. It engages policy makers and other stakeholders in visioning exercises for the potato sector and in supporting local innovation processes. Horizontal Evaluations are used to promote collective learning and knowledge sharing among professionals at national and regional levels. These approaches have stimulated commercial, technological, and institutional innovation and have contributed to the development of new market niches for Andean potatoes with comparative advantage for small farmers. After describing Papa Andina’s approaches and the types of results obtained with native potatoes in the Andes, the paper discusses actual and potential uses of these approaches in other settings.