SE020 Farmers driven innovation to boost food systems transformation toward global sustainable development: Innovative ways of involving farmers in research and policy debates

Organizers

  • World Farmers' Organisation (WFO)
  • Global Forum on Agricultural Research and Innovation (GFAR)
  • Italy

The upcoming years pose many challenges to the entire humankind: climate change, including natural disasters, is increasing all around the globe. The last SOFI report shows that world hunger is on the rise again after a decline registered in 2015, while a need of making food systems more sustainable is expressed and recognized worldwide. Furthermore, malnutrition in all its forms, whether undernourishment or obesity, affect countries simultaneously. In this frightful scenario, farmers driven innovation can play a significant role to transform food systems and achieve sustainable development for all.

Farmers can play a key role in tackling these challenges as they are innovators by nature: for thousands of years, they have adapted to the land, to changes in the climate, to the yield of their crops. In todays' world, farmers are improving their innovation development capacity and they need to be engaged more and more in research with scientists, with private partnerships, with multilateral organizations that have the technical and financial capacity to assist in projects. Innovation is much more than mere technology: it is a process, it can be a new way of doing things and a new way of involving farmers in global policy debates, giving them a central role.

Key speakers/presenters

Keynote speakers:

  • H.E. Amb. Vincenza Lomonaco, Permanent Representative of Italy to the UN Rome-based Agencies
  • Dr Theo De Jager, WFO President

Panellists: 

  • Mr Raffaele Maiorano, Chairman, GFAR
  • Mr Michael Keller, Secretary General, ISF
  • Mr Neil Watkins, Deputy Director Global Policy & Advocacy, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
  • Ms Astrid Jakobs de Padua, Senior Agricultural Specialist, World Bank
  • Mr Carlo Hausmann, Director General, Agrocamera

Moderator: 

  • Ms Arianna Giuliodori, WFO Secretary General

Main themes/issues discussed

The world today is facing many global challenges: climate change, increasing natural disasters, raising level of hunger and malnutrition among others. In this frightful scenario, farmers driven innovation can play a significant role to transform food systems and achieve sustainable development for all. Farmers can play a key role in tackling these challenges as they are innovators by nature: for thousands of years, they have adapted to the land, to changes in the climate, to the yield of their crops. Farmers are improving their innovation development capacity and they need to be engaged more and more in research with scientists, private sector, governments, multilateral organizations that have the technical and financial capacity to support them and work with them. Innovation is much more than

 mere technology: it is a process, it can be a new way of doing things and a new way of involving farmers in global policy debates, giving them a central role. 

Summary of key points 

Farmers are innovators by nature and farmers’ driven innovation is fundamental to tackle global challenges. However, farmers cannot play this battle alone and collaboration with governments, research center and academia, private sectors, consumers’ organizations, is fundamental to achieve concrete results. Agriculture is an economic sector and a job for all the farmers who produce on the field daily and try to access the markets and sell their products. Competition is what drive the markets and the demand of food, thus impacting on farmers’ livelihood. Here is where innovation and technology can play a key role in helping farmers to produce more, on less and with less, increasing productivity and sustainability. Targeted investments are key to make innovation available to every farmer. Farmers need to be engaged in policy making processes as well in science and research debate, to share their expertise and learn how to own and use new technologies to improve their activities. Solutions to global challenges need to be concrete and brought to the farm level. Also, in the ongoing debate on innovation at all level, the role of women and youth needs to be recognized and strengthened. Farmers cannot buy pre-prepared solutions. They need to close the gap between farming and science and work hand in hand with the science sector to identify tools and technology needed to increase the efficiency level in the farms. 

Key take away messages 

  • Multi-stakeholder partnerships are key if we want to achieve zero hunger and all the other SDGs
  • We need to change paradigm and put farmers and agriculture at the center as key agent for the solutions to global challenges, including climate change, food security and malnutrition
  • Innovation is the key catalyst to increase productivity and make it more sustainable. Targeted investments in agriculture are needed to provide farmers with the technological tools they need 
  • Training should be made easily accessible to the farmers
CFS 46 Side Event: SE020 Farmers driven innovation to boost food systems transformation toward global sustainable development

 

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