The Centre for Development Research at the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences Vienna (BOKU) and the The International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) initiated the development of the ERI approach through action research in Hoima District (done in cooperation with Africa 2000 Network) and Mukono District in partnership with Uganda Environmental Education Foundation from 2005 until 2010. This testing and development phase aimed at figuring out a way to service organic markets.
HORIZONT3000 started to work with the ERI approach in 2009 with the implementing partner organizations YARD in Uganda, ACT Mara in Tanzania and DECECE in Kenya (see also Projects). As the need for practical materials to facilitate ERI trainings was identified, HORIZONT3000, in cooperation with Trias Uganda developed a simple hands-on manual for ERI facilitators and visual training materials that helped scale out the ERI approach within their networks in 2011. After its completion, and since March 2013 they started the ERI East Africa Project, which brings together six local partner organizations in Uganda and Tanzania to form a regional learning alliance for promoting farmer-driven innovation processes.
Trias Uganda started to use the ERI approach in 2008 in a 6 year (2008-2013) income and food security program with Mbarara, Hoima and Masindi District Farmers Associations. Evaluations of this program showed very positive results, among others due to the use of the ERI approach, but also because of the successful link between ERI and micro-finance service providers EBO, Mwizi SACCO, MADFA SACCO and HOFOKAM. This led to sustainable cooperation agreements. In 2014, Trias Uganda started a new program with Zombo, Arua District Farmers Associations, Ofaka and Nyaravur Sacco (West Nile Region Uganda). Because of previous successes, Trias introduced and further trained and coached these new partners in the ERI approach (not neglecting the already available approaches). Representatives from Trias offices in Ghana, Guinee-Conakry and Tanzania also participated in the first ERI training workshop (May 2014) as their kick-off for introducing ERI in Trias programmes worldwide.
ZOA started working with ERI using the early ERI Guide (CIAT 2006). When the new manual and grainsack charts were published in 2012, ZOA integrated the full ERI curriculum as a major component in its agribusiness project Agri Skills 4 You with partner CEFORD in Arua, Nebbi, Zombo, Koboko and Moyo districts, targeting 50 farmer groups. The first results show that farmer groups who followed the trainings developed a very strong drive towards producing crops informed by market demand and profit margins. ZOA led the development process of the Farmer Facilitator manual which was released at the end of 2015 under the ERI EA consortium.
Agriterra co-funded the development of the ERI Manual in 2011-2013. After being introduced to ERI’s principles and methods, it started to use the approach in its programs in Zambia, Tanzania, Bangladesh and Nepal. Agriterra is still using some ERI methods in its regular trainings.