SE094 Strengthening Agricultural Innovation Systems for Family Farming: Multi-stakeholder processes to develop capacities to innovate for food and nutrition security


  • FAO
  • World Farmers' Organisation (WFO)
  • European Union (EU)
  • Tropical Agricultural Platform
  • University of Evora, Portugal

Innovation will be the driving force in bringing about agri-food systems transformation to meet the food and nutrition security needs of a growing global population in a sustainable manner and in the face of major challenges such as climate change. In this context, multi-stakeholder processes which revolve around family farms, especially small holder farmers; the major producers of the food we eat, are important in fostering innovation at niche, local, national and global levels. Farmers are at the center of the transformative change agenda for achieving the sustainable development goals specifically; zero hunger and poverty alleviation.

In November 2018, FAO hosted the first International Symposium on Agricultural Innovation for Family Farmers. Among the ten recommendations, was the acknowledgement of the need to strengthen the capacity of family farmers to innovate and that of knowledge institutions; research, extension and advisory services to facilitate as well as actively participate in the learning, networking and multi-stakeholder dialogues that are essential for the innovation process. As emphasized by the FAO Director General in his closing remarks, the Symposium recognized the central role of family farmers in agricultural innovation. Also, the vital role of family farmers in eradicating hunger and food insecurity, as well as preserving natural resources and biodiversity and improving communities' livelihoods, was highlighted during the launch of the UN Decade of Family farming 2019-2028 that took place at FAO last May. FAO and the EC are supporting countries to assess and build capacity to strengthen their agricultural innovation systems.

The side event will showcase and discuss evidence from success stories, emphasizing the contributions of research and extension and rural advisory services among other innovation actors. The event will highlight strategies for assessing and strengthening capacities to innovate and engage in the consultative policy and learning processes in partnership with family farmers. The diversity of roles that family farmers play in food systems transformation as well as their future innovation capacity needs to maintain food system diversity and stability and build resilience in the face of potential shocks.


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