The core idea of the Rural Knowledge Network (RKN) was to make more information available, specifically about markets, to smallholder farmers. This was done by building a network of entrepreneurs who collected price information regularly and sent it to a central collecting Internet platform facility. Due to the demonstrated benefits the RKN project has shown, the report concluded that rural market access to business networks should be expanded to reach commercially viable scales through the ongoing IFAD, FAO and other development programmes in the region.
In Colombia, the Foundation for the Sustainable and Participatory Development of Small Rural Producers (Corporación PBA) has developed a strategy for Participatory Rural Innovation (IRP), which prioritizes the development and promotion of farmers’ abilities and skills by using their own knowledge as the basis for this activity. It has also sought to encourage research institutions, state authorities, governmental and non-governmental organizations to work closely in the context of social processes at the local level, to promote innovation developed by the people themselves.
For the Rio+20 meetings GFRAS together with FAO, Farming First, IFPRI and WFO published a position paper entitled "Building Knowledge Systems in Agriculture". Knowledge sharing is critical to supporting the three dimensions of sustainable development (social, economic, and environmental). Extension and advisory services are crucial knowledge-sharing institutions and key for linking scientific research, field-level innovations and innovators, markets, education, and other service providers.
This paper presents an overview of current opportunities and challenges facing efforts to increase
the impact of rural and agricultural extension. The starting point for this analysis is in recognition
that the days when agricultural extension was synonymous with the work of public sector agencies
are over. The ‘extension services’ described here may just as likely consist of an input vendor
advising a farmer about what seed to plant, a television station broadcasting a weather forecast...
The case study report contains a number of recommendations for the AJK Government
to strengthen the demand-driven approach for demanding agricultural extension and
other services through the multi-disciplinary Village Development Plans prepared by
rural Community Organizations. As the recommendations are aimed at improving
a specifi c situation, they are not generic and therefore not being included in the Executive
Summary. The conclusions and lessons learned from the case study, however, are
being presented here for other developing countries in case they want to adopt the
demand-driven extension modality.