Start date: 31 January, 2016 End date: 31 May, 2016 Project type: Master's Thesis (prior to 2018) Project code: A29349 Countries: Bolivia Institutions: University of Copenhagen (UCPH), Denmark Grant recipient: Jørgen Hjorth Total grant: 20,000 DKK



In the face of persistent and widespread challenges in transferring agroecological innovations from supplier to farmer in a developing country context, the present thesis sets out to identify and investigate predominant factors influencing dynamic compost innovation transfer. It does so with the specific focus on the innovation transfer from NGO to farmer in indigenous farming communities of the Peasant Native Indigenous Territory Monte Verde, Bolivia. Secondly, it aims to contribute to the practical and theoretical understanding of how agricultural innovations may or may not be transferred from supplier to farmer in a developing country context.

A four months study was carried out mainly with qualitative methods, including social mappings, focus group discussions, narrative walks, participatory observations and ten semi-structured interviews with indigenous farmers from three communities of Monte Verde. The actual innovation transfer consisted of one practical and one theoretical dynamic compost workshop with the farmers of each community.

Results indicate that the dynamic compost innovation transfer was not feasible in its present form. Despite this, in technical terms the dynamic compost showed considerable compatibility with biophysical conditions of the area, specifically in regards to availability of decomposable organic materials and apparent benefits to local soil conditions. Obstacles to the transfer were observed in the farmers' limited theoretical understanding of the dynamic compost and their limited labour availability, while practical farming skills and know-how, conversely, facilitated their understanding. Particularly, in cultural and structural aspects bottlenecks were suspected. On one hand, farmers had difficulties collaborating with each other and dedicating themselves to top-down imposed development projects, unless the innovation supplier provided enticements. On the other hand, innovation suppliers had difficulties carrying out, often insufficiently planned, projects, because farmers had little genuine enjoyment in projects, which disregarded farmers' needs. While not all local innovation suppliers have the same "degree" of top-down approach, confronting these cultural and structural patterns still constitutes a significant bottleneck as little inter-institutional joint planning was present.

With these findings in mind, the thesis thus proposes adjustments and alternative models for the successful innovation transfer of the dynamic compost and agro-ecological innovations in general and concludes with ideas for additional research that may contribute to the understanding of agricultural innovation transfer.