Innovative research differs from other approaches to research since it is a community-based participatory approach taking point of departure in the actual needs of local people.
The local people and researchers cooperate in “learning by doing” experiments. In agriculture, the approach is to let the farmers try out techniques in their fields. The aim is both to master techniques and to master the method of experimenting. Therefore, solutions are more likely to be used and further adapted afterwards by the local farmers.
Mrs Thai Minh, an expert on innovative research involved in the first phase, describes the wide use of innovative research: “In the first phase of the Agriculture Programme, the approach has been used within technical issues, e.g. to improve farmers’ techniques, within institutional issues, e.g. the development of farmer schools, and within policy formulation and implementation, e.g. improved seed ordinance.”
In the upcoming phase of Danida’s Agriculture and Rural Development Programme, innovative research is an essential part of the training-of-trainers approach. Furthermore it is a criterion for the activities of an Upland Livelihoods Research Network aimed at improving the poor farmers living in difficult conditions in the mountains.