Chilean Ministry of Agriculture commissions SPRU researchers to diagnose “inclusive innovation” in technological intervention programmes
Strengthening regional innovation systems and ensuring the participation of different actors in agricultural technological development has been identified as a priority for the new government of Chile, headed by President Michelle Bachelet.
This is a demanding challenge given the weak links that exist between economic growth, development of productive capacities and social development in the country. In part to address this issue, the Chilean Ministry of Agriculture has commissioned Dr Matias Ramirez along with two SPRU post-doc researchers based in Chile, Cecilia Ibarra and Veronica Roa, to undertake a diagnostic study of small producer agricultural networks in two southern provinces. The researchers will provide recommendations to the to the Chilean Ministry of Agriculture on completion of the project.
The project, “Inclusion, Development of Capabilities and Social Networks” aims to understand how processes of inclusion of hitherto marginalised and heterogeneous actors such as small-scale farmers are taking place through the adoption of farming new types of varieties of plants promoted by the Ministry of Agriculture such as berries (strawberry, raspberry) and potatoes.
The investigation will employ a methodology developed by Dr Ramirez which includes three action axes:
- The cohesion of social networks,
- The openness of these networks
- The governance of decision making in terms of the degree of participation of small producers
The project hopes to shed light on the changing nature of social networks provoked by the intervention, the role of key intermediaries in both technological diffusion and inclusion, and how innovation policy can influence processes of inclusion in innovation programmes in two southern provinces of Chile.