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West Africa Farmer Innovation Fair Demonstrates Farmer-Led Research

Countries
Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Ghana, Mali, Niger, Senegal and Togo
Status
Complete
Duration
May 2015

In May 2015, Burkina Faso hosted the West Africa Farmer Innovation Fair (Foire de l’Innovation Paysanne en Afrique de l’Ouest FIPAO) in Ouagadougou, showcasing over 50 farmer innovations from eight countries in the Sahel region: Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Ghana, Mali, Niger, Senegal and Togo. The fair was an initiative of the Prolinnova/PROFEIS network that promotes local innovation processes in agriculture and natural resource management.

Organisation and attendance 

The network is hosted by the Sustainable Economic Development & Gender unit of KIT Royal Tropical Institute whose advisors engaged in coordinating the project, fund raising, and supporting the organisers in the Sahel to organise the policy-related activities that took place at the fair. FIPAO was also supported by Agri-ProFocus Netherlands, CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS), McKnight Foundation’s Collaborative Crop Research Program (CCRP) Community of Practice (CoP) in West Africa, Misereor from Germany and SDC (Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation).

The FIPAO has drawn attention to family farming, farmer innovation and the role of small-scale farmers in agricultural research and development in order to facilitate interaction, linkages and learning among value chain actors, CSOs and NGOs research institutions. The fair was also attended by government officials, including the Prime Minister, the Minister of Scientific Research and Innovation and the Minister of Agriculture, Water Resources, Sanitation and Food Security.

Lessons learned

The event, as well as the preceding workshop, facilitated a platform to exchange experiences and innovations among (inter)national rural development actors, providing an opportunity to showcase the know-how of the local innovators. This exchange allowed lessons to be drawn to better meet the needs of farmers in improving their livelihood sustainability. Research and farmer innovation are recognized to be complementary in achieving rural development, however research by and with small-scale farmers should gain more importance. By putting farmers in the centre of research.

“This is the first time I travelled outside of Senegal and this is thanks to my innovation. I could get to meet other innovators and know other people. I will continue to work on improving my innovation and others so that I can take part in other fairs”
Fatou Seye from Senegal.

Research, innovation and collaboration

The FIPAO presented innovations on plant and animal production techniques, natural resource management, processing of agro-silvo-pastoral products, conservation and storage, agricultural mechanisation, and institutional innovations. During the event, videos were demonstrated presenting farmer-led innovations that address the effects of climate change, panel discussions were held, and the top 5 innovators were awarded for the originality, relevance and viability of their innovations.

Preceding the fair, a workshop on farmer-led research brought together 35 participants from research institutions, universities, farmer organisations and development organisations from West Africa (Benin, Burkina Faso, Mali, Niger and Senegal), Belgium, Germany, the Netherlands and United States. The workshop focused on promoting agricultural research by and with small-scale farmers, by sharing experiences on issues of co-developing innovations, introduction of external innovations, the relevance of multi-stakeholder platforms for innovation, and autonomous farmer-led innovation. The workshop resulted in a collective statement ‘The Ouagadougou Declaration’, challenging participants and other stakeholders to further promote collaborative research with farmers.

For more information on the fair, visit the website (in French only).

https://youtu.be/yf908C1pcPQ

Publications

  • Guidelines to organise a farmers innovation fair

    In order to stimulate policymakers and practitioners to recognise farmer innovation in agricultural research and development (ARD), partners in the Prolinnova network have been developing and using various methods and tools for advocacy and lobbying. One of these is the Farmer Innovation Fair. These guidelines reflect the network’s experiences in organising and hosting such fairs, […]

  • Feria de Agricultores Innovadores

    Algunos lineamientos para la organización de una Para fomentar el reconocimiento y la valoración de la innovación de los agricultores en los procesos de investigación y desarrollo agrícola (IDA) por parte de profesionales y responsables de políticas, socios de la red de Prolinnova han estado desarrollando y utilizando varios métodos y herramientas para reivindicación y […]

  • Foire de l’Innovation Paysanne

    Afin d’inciter les décideurs politiques et les acteurs de terrain à reconnaître l’innovation paysanne en matière de recherchedéveloppement agricole (RDA), les partenaires du réseau Prolinnova ont développé et utilisé différents méthodes et outils de plaidoyer et de lobbying. La foire de l’innovation paysanne est l’un d’entre eux. Les lignes directrices proposéesici témoignent de l’expérience du […]

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  • Nestlé Income Accelerator Program: Progress Report of the Test-at-Scale Phase

    In 2022, Nestlé launched the Income Accelerator Program in Côte d’Ivoire as part of their ambition to help close the Living Income (LI) gap in their cocoa supply chain and combat the root causes of child labour risks. The current test-at-scale phase involves 10,000 farming households in Côte d’Ivoire, following a previous one-year piloting period among 1,000 farming households. These […]

    Year of publication
    2024

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