The intermediary role of farmer organizations: Stimulating innovation in developing countries
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This research focuses on the intermediary role of farmer organization in agricultural innovation systems of developing countries. The goal is to increase understanding and elaborate on existing literature on innovation intermediaries. Two case studies with farmer organizations in Moldova and Peru are conducted to acquire these new insights. The farmer organizations as innovation intermediaries are analysed by the actor-mechanism matrix: a guidance tool developed in a pre-study for this research. This tool shows the actors that can make a contribution to innovation amongst farmers in the agricultural systems of developing countries. Furthermore it shows what support mechanisms these actors can apply to stimulate innovation. Six support mechanisms are identified: ‘technological & agronomical support’, ‘marketing & business support’, ‘financial support’, ‘lobbying activities’, ‘institutional support’ and ‘collaboration support’. This actor-mechanism matrix gives insight in both the functions and structure of intermediaries, because it includes both the collaboration between resource providers and intermediary and between intermediary and client. The insights from using the matrix in the two case studies broaden the understanding of innovation intermediaries in multiple ways. One of the most prominent new findings is the inclusion of intermediation between institutions and clients in the intermediation process. The actor-mechanism matrix has proved to be a useful framework for analysing intermediaries. Future research that uses this tool is required to further strengthen both the tool and the understanding of innovation intermediation.