GFAR has brought together stakeholders from diverse sectors to empower family farmers as the engine of a system transformation in Burkina Faso, with the support of the McKnight Foundation.

2019 marks the launch of the International Decade of Family Farming 2019-2028 (IYFF+10), which aims to serve as a framework to promote better public policies on Family Farming, and offers a unique opportunity to contribute to ending hunger and poverty as well as to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). In 2018, GFAR initiated a Collective Action with the World Rural Forum and a number of regional farmer federations and other innovation actors across three continents, to begin fleshing out a Collective Action aligned with two of the three pillars of the IYFF+10 Plan of Action.

One key pillar is the development of alternative systems of agricultural research governance which are based on Family farming principles. Such systems are envisaged to be more inclusive, allowing farmers and rural communities themselves to be active, recognized and valued agents in the development of solutions for and by family farmers.

This Collective Action, which figures under GFAR’s Key Focus Area “Empowering farmers at the center of innovation” is being carried forward with a series of multi-stakeholder workshops, the first of which was held recently in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, on 5 December 2019.

The Collaborative Crop Research Program (CCRP) of the McKnight Foundation—a US-based family foundation that advances a more just, creative, and abundant future where people and planet thrive— supported the workshop which was held at the University Joseph Ki Zerbo based in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso. The workshop was attended by representatives of the Burkinabe Government, Ouagadougou university, Agrinovia, FAO, Extension networks, NGOs and Farmers’ Organizations. It marked the inception of a co-innovation platform in Burkina Faso which will foster transformation of research governance in favor of the rural poor. With a particular focus on Soil and Water Conservation and Climate Change Adaptation, this multistakeholder platform will put family farmers at the center of the development of new solutions to fight poverty and desertification, while capitalizing on their own innovations and creativity.

The first activity to be implemented on the ground is a training program held by Agrinovia for a number of “animateurs endogènes” (local extension officers) of the Confédération Paysanne du Faso (CPF), as well as McKnight Foundation’s supported projects staff, enabling them to understand, identify, characterize, evaluate and support local innovations. The work will be carried out in selected areas in order to subsequently make this knowledge available for future development projects. The impact expected at the system level—through CPF’s advocacy capacity and the alliance with the CDAIS programme (Capacity Development of Agricultural Knowledge Systems, TAP/FAO)—is the operational and conceptual basis for a new national policy in support of farmer-led research, local innovations and resilience strategies.

The desired long term outcome is a new orientation in Burkina Faso to support local innovations (along with other external technology-driven approaches), and to incorporate this approach in national strategies and large development operations. It is hoped that this model of pro-poor/by-poor innovation partnership building and management can be diffused among Partners in GFAR, in virtue of their proven capacity to effectively mobilize farmers’ knowledge embedded in climate change adaptation practices.

During the Ouagadougou workshop, GFAR was acknowledged in its “partnership broker” role at the international level, enabling the up-scaling of this experience in the context of the Collective Action on Family Farming and Participatory Research with the involvement of three continental farmer federations. In early 2020, funding from the European Commission will permit an assessment of the first phase in order to design the subsequent 3 to 4-year plan of action.

For more information from Prolinnova on this GFAR workshop / Pour en savoir de plus sur l’atelier du GFAR: http://www.prolinnova.net/content/gfar-workshop-supporting-co-innovation-family-farming-atelier-du-gfar-sur-lappui-%C3%A0-la-co-inn