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Technological development projects

Date interview: October 10 2016
Name interviewer: Santiago Garrido
Name interviewee: Anonymous
Position interviewee: Member of APENOC

Social-technical relations Reputation/legitimacy Re-invigoration Providing alternatives to institutions Inclusiveness Expertise Experimenting Emergence Academic organizations

This is a CTP of initiative: La Via Campesina/APENOC (Argentina)

This CTP refers to the technological development projects that APENOC developed together with INTA and INTI at the end of 2009 and during 2010. These projects had as one of their main objectives to create local capacities for the implementation of technologies and were part of the project "Development of Renewable Energies for Family Agriculture and Low-Scale Productive Units" of INTA's National Project of Agro-industry and Value Added.

Most of the family farmers live in rural and peri-urban areas where, in many cases, they do not have access to public electricity services. This situation directly affects the conditions of life, production, transformation and value added of the goods and services that come from this sector, and affects its systemic competitiveness. In these conditions, the use of renewable energies such as solar, wind, hydro and other energy, occupies a central and strategic role.

This fact is relevant since it allowed the refrigeration of the domestic products and to conserve the production of milk and goat meat by means of the development of technological innovations, the result of a collective construction, in constant movement, that is redefined from different experiences in the territory. In this process, actors were incorporated for the operation of the experience in function of the specific demands that arose in the different stages of the process.

Goat farmers nucleated in APENOC live in an area where most do not have access to conventional energy networks, which poses a difficulty for the conservation of meat and goat's milk that they produce. To this is added that the temperature of the zone reaches 50° C during the summer and there are many peasants who can not have fresh water nor place to maintain their food.

This situation meant that at the end of 2009, at the request of APENOC, INTI started working in the territory and presented a project for the development of a solar ice production device. In turn, the Institute for Family Agriculture had begun working on this problem together with a team of researchers from the National University of General Sarmiento (UNGS, in its spanish initials), who already had the development of a "device to generate ice from the sun".

In order to develop this technology, during 2010 a series of meetings were held in the region that allowed the creation of an inter-institutional working table to jointly develop an experimental prototype of a refrigerator that, using the energy of the sun, could produce about 5 Kilos of ice per day, as a goal in a first stage. The uniqueness of the proposal is that the prototypes, or a large number of them, were built by the goat producers themselves with the advice of the UNGS teaching researchers and the INTA technicians.


In this CTP, co-production occurs among the different sectors, groups and institutions involved in the design and implementation of these technological development projects.

Faced with the need for food refrigeration, and at the request of APENOC, at the end of 2009, INTI began to work in the northwestern territory of Córdoba and presented a project for the development of a solar ice production device. In this way, INTI, through the Coordination of Knowledge Transfer of Collective Appropriation, the Social and Territorial Extension Program and the Northwestern Operational Unit, joined in articulating with the UNGS, APENOC, the IPEM Middle School No. 306 of Paso Viejo and INTA. In addition, the project was financed by the Project for the Development of Small Agricultural Producers (PROINDER, in its spanish initials) and the Subsecretary of family farming.

In this sense, the prototypes for the preservation of fresh food without electricity, without gas and without kerosene, are the result of a co-production between INTA, UNGS, APENOC, INTI, local SMEs and The IPEM 306 school in Paso Viejo. APENOC sees this articulation as fundamental:

"For us it is a pride that from this small town of Serrezuela, in Cruz del Eje, the first solar prototype for small producers is ready, and that those who know the most about solar ice in Argentina are present. It is very important that the institutions can converge in the design and manufacture of this prototype, where we all contribute our knowledge to solve a very felt need in our region."

Likewise, this linkage is also central to state institutions, such as INTI:

"For us it is very valuable to be able to participate in this working table with all the institutions. Here it was demonstrated that in an articulated work one can make efficient use of our resources, time and intelligence to offer quick answers and to solve problems from the installed capacities that each institution has. That is the challenge, that this experience in Cruz del Eje serves as antecedent and motivation to face other more complex problems."

In this sense, the models used to develop technological innovations are conceived as collective co-productions, in constant movement, which is redefined from the different experiences in the territory. Thus, in each of the territorial meetings generative relationships are promoted in pursuit of a common goal that accounts for the incorporation of actors to sustain the experience in function of the specific demands that arise throughout the process.

In addition, INTA researchers worked closely with different actors in the public domain and with producer organizations, for example, projects with the industrial design chairs of the UBA and the National University of La Plata to design prototypes and artifacts demanded by Producers, such as pasteurizers, intersectors, horticultural seeders and facilities for pork production.

Related events

With the installation of the Center for Research and Technological Development for Family Agriculture (CIPAF, in it spanish initials) in 2005, INTA defines as one of its strategic lines the research in technologies, equipment, machinery and tools appropriate for Family Agriculture, with a strong Commitment in the use and use of renewable energies, based on the recognition of the exceptional potential of resources presented by Argentina for its wide use.

In a progressive progression from INTA's national programs, actions to develop implements for the production and use by family farmers of renewable energies are taking place on the public agenda as well as on the programmatic agenda. Only from INTA, but also from other regional research centers, national universities, producer organizations, entities, the private sector and local governments. INTA participates together with other actors from different platforms or territorial innovation systems based on its Rural Extension Agency (AER, in it spanish initials), its Experimental Stations (EEA, in it spanish initials) and Research Institutes within the framework of regional projects with a territorial approach (PRETs, in it spanish initials) , Which integrate instruments for addressing the reality of the Federal Support Program for Sustainable Rural Development (PROFEDER, in it spanish initials) under the National Coordination of Transfer and Extension.

The work methodology for the development, validation and diffusion of these technologies is based on the participation of producers, extensionists and researchers from the diagnosis and identification of the problem, the generation of proposals and ideas for solution, the participatory development of the Prototypes, validation and adjustments in their farms, and finally the massive dissemination and dissemination of these experiences.

In other cases, the technologies are already developed by artisanal manufacturers, SMEs or other development centers, and in these cases territorial validation, adjustments and adjustments are made for later dissemination. In all these processes, it is proposed to favor and facilitate the generation of knowledge flows from multi-stakeholder innovation platforms that enable the realization of spaces of understanding and broad agreements appropriate to the social, cultural, economic and environmental contexts of the territory. It seeks to integrate and facilitate the dialogue between the knowledge of producers and the other actors involved from a systemic and holistic approach, as important contributions - not only for technological development - but already, as fundamental contributions to local development.


This CTP presents a form of response to the practices that define the technological development projects vertically without involving the local actors and their knowledge. In this sense, the way of work used in these projects presents a multiplier potential that seeks to advance in the construction of intervention methodologies that develop multidimensional diagnoses with the local actors, in such a way as to complicate the way of defining the problems, and in Effect, to work on more integral solutions, which have not only to do with the development of an artifact (a technology), but with the development of the territory.

This obliges the State to dissolve fractions between its offices and functions (in this case University, INTA, INTI, Schools, Ministries, Local, provincial, national governments). Thus, as defined by the INTA:

"The model used to develop innovations is defined as a massive power mechanism to generate localized artifacts, which differs radically from generating artifacts in a massive way, which assume a homogeneity both in ways of producing and living that is not such in the territories".

The researchers from the INTA who participated in this process started with two questions: firstly, how to build local support structures to make accessible objects that can lead to improvements in quality of life and / or working conditions? And, on the other hand, how to foment platforms to connect in a sustained way in the time the tracking of problems and knowledge that make possible to develop solutions? In order to approach them, the researchers used a conceptual model that allows to make visible the map of the technological competences of Cruz del Eje. This model bases its bases on the socio-technical approach of technology, since it focuses both on the artifacts (defined as objects) and on the system of relations that make them possible. The research and participatory action approach includes family farmers in the appropriation, validation and rescue of technologies.

In addition, this CTP is a form of contestation in that it subverts structures of backwardness and marginalization in which small local producers live, particularly in relation to the development and added value of dairy production, in addition to improving their domestic life. At the same time, it seeks to benefit the health of the population thanks to the possibility of preserving medicines and vaccines.


Small producers' organizations have a long history of working with institutions such as INTA. In this way, the participation of the APENOC in projects like the one set forth in this CTP was something that could be anticipated. The novelty of this process was the emergence of new strategies by the public S&T institutions oriented to social sectors such as small agricultural producers.

The APENOC referents acknowledge that the experience started from 2010 with these technological development projects was a key moment in their trajectory as an organization because it allowed them to strengthen their position in relation to other types of demands such as access to land and credit. They even argue that it was they who sought to participate in such experiences as part of a broader strategy.


Apprenticeships were emerging in action during the CTP. The members of APENOC were incorporating learning related to the conception, design and implementation of technological development projects. In this process the outstanding learning was the role to promote these projects from their territorial and local knowledge.

As noted by members of APENOC:

"It is very important that the institutions can converge in the design and manufacture of this prototype, where we all contribute our knowledge to solve a very felt need in our region."

Because the methodology for the development of these projects is based on collective co-productions, in each of the territorial meetings, lessons are learned. For the peasants, it is necessary that these learnings generate changes in subjectivity, allowing the emergence of new values and ideas that have as a horizon the transformation of society.

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