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International Farmer Innovation Day
29 November is International Farmer Innovation Day, coordinated through the Prolinnova-PROmoting Local INNOVAtion in ecological-oriented agriculture and natural resource management global network. The Day heightens awareness of farmers’ innovations in adapting to a continuously changing physical, economic, social, political and cultural environment. It demonstrates how research and extension staff – in government, civil society and the private sector – can interact and support innovation through farmer-led joint experimentation and learning.
The first International Farmer Innovation Day was celebrated in 2012. Prolinnova Country Platforms organised activities showcasing the diversity of challenges to and solutions of farmers. For 2013:
  • Prolinnova–Kenya is planning a series of meetings and workshops where presentations on small livestock family farmers will be exhibiting their work and innovations.
  • Prolinnova–Uganda, will celebrate the Day as part of the 10th anniversary celebration of a longstanding member, the Kikandwa Environmental Association (KEA). Kulika Uganda is also planning celebrations in Nakasongola District, where an exhibition of local innovations will be held with the participation of farmers, local leaders, District officials and representatives of Prolinnova partner organisations.
  • Prolinnova–Cameroon will celebrate the Day in the district of Abong Mbang (East Cameroon) to raise awareness of smallholders’ constraints to access the market.
  • Prolinnova–Ethiopia will organise a consultative meeting in Axum with innovator farmers, experts, partner organisations and longstanding local members, and participants from Tigray and other regions, to strengthen the spirit of communication.
  • Prolinnova–Ghana, with the Center for Development Studies and the University of Bonn, will award innovators in the Upper East Region of Ghana. On National Farmers Day in 2012, three innovators received awards. In 2013, at the National Farmers Day celebration on 6 December, eight innovators (out of 69 innovators in competition) will be given awards.
  • Prolinnova–Philippines, the newest Country Platform, is also planning activities to celebrate the Day this year.
The Prolinnova International Secretariat is drawing attention to farmer innovation with events at the international level. With INSARD-Including Smallholders in Agricultural Research for Development, it co-organised the 34thBrussels Development Briefing on “Farmer-driven research” on 14 November. A conference on “Research Serving Development” at the EC in Brussels on 26 November also drew attention to the Day. On 29 November Prolinnova will be at the EC Conference on "Family farming: A dialogue towards more sustainable and resilient farming in Europe and the world" in Brussels.
GFAR has systematically provided strong support to Prolinnova from its inception in 1999. Stimulating research into innovation for farmers is fundamental to the GCARCD Roadmap and at the heart of the collective actions engaged at GCARD2 in 2012 in Punta del Este, Uruguay. The Secretariat is therefore engaging with Prolinnova, the Democratising Food and Agricultural Research initiative and other Partners in GFAR – in particular Farmers’ Organisations - to create the institutional, policy and other enabling conditions critical for farmers to innovate, increase their incomes and sustain rural economy, society and landscapes.
Photo credit: ©FAO/Christena Dowsett