The influence of multilevel innovation platforms on continuing utilisation of smallholders’ livestock feeding practices Innovation and Development

Zelalem Lema, Lisa A. Lobry de Bruyn , Graham R. Marshall , Romana Roschinsky, Million Gebreyes, Alan Duncan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Agricultural research for development (AR4D) agencies in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) have increasingly turned to innovation platforms to enhance the impact of smallholder initiatives beyond program completion. Linking community-level IPs with IPs established at higher levels has been suggested as a strategy for addressing institutional barriers through linking actions across levels to create a conducive environment for innovation and achieve durable impacts. This research aims to understand the activities, actions or arrangements that were mediated by a multilevel set of IPs to sustain the use of livestock feeding practices in the Ethiopian Highlands. Two years after the multilevel IPs had been phased out data was collected to ascertain if innovation outcomes had been sustained. The study identified specific IP activities, actions and arrangements that constrained or enabled sustained use of the livestock innovations. The multilevel IPs and their activities were able to enhance technical changes around feed innovations that initiated a transition towards a sustainable feed system. Results showed that the sustained use of livestock feed innovation outcomes achieved depends on different factors and varied largely depending on how the feed innovations were tailored to the farmers’ production objectives. Positive outcomes were identified for commercial-oriented farmers, especially where the feed innovations had been tailored to specific enterprises based on their needs for enhanced productivity, such as improved dairy farming. Conversely, for the majority of the subsistence-oriented farmers sustained use of some technical innovations was constrained by inadequate consideration of the subsistence farmers’ immerging needs where there was uncertain access to forage seeds and affordable interlinked input services (breeding, financial, and veterinary). The study further discussed how livestock feed system transition enabled in case of commercially-oriented farmers and constrained in case of subsistence-oriented farmers and put a way forward in terms of mechanisms and strategies to inform similar future interventions that facilitate a context-specific combination of technological, organisational and institutional innovations necessary to make a difference. Finally, the study suggested a future research area could focus on understanding the role of multilevel IPs in dealing with multiple-scale demands across different sectors (such as cop-livestock-tree mixed farming systems) with strategies focusing on a specific theme (such as livestock value chain).
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-26
Number of pages26
JournalInnovation and Development
Early online date14 Feb 2023
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 14 Feb 2023


Dive into the research topics of 'The influence of multilevel innovation platforms on continuing utilisation of smallholders’ livestock feeding practices Innovation and Development'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this