I suggest that a key challenge for the post-2015 period is to ensure that there is closer integration of agricultural research and agricultural extension within the agronomy profession, and closer cooperation of both of these functions with small and marginal farmers and rural people themselves.
The aim of agronomic research and extension organisations ought to be transformed from the routine development and dissemination of 'technology packages' in a top-down manner, but working more collaboratively in support of farmers and field-level scientists and technicians (whether from agricultural universities, extension agencies or NGOs/CSOs) to help them analyse, prioritise and address agricultural problems and opportunities at local levels.
This would involve scientific and government agencies working with farmers and rural people in a much more responsive, demand-led, problem-oriented, horizontal manner; where problems are framed and priorities set in sincere collaboration with the people most affected by agricultural challenges.
A target for this proposal could be that x per cent of poor and marginal farmers have real access to/contact with scientific expertise. Possible indicators should not be in the form of inputs adopted or yields increased, but measures of simultaneously improved productivity (which is an input:output measure, not the same as gross production/yield) and sustainability.
This thematic discussion was led by FAO and WFP in collaboration with “The World We Want”.
The consultation was facilitated by the Global Forum on Food Security and Nutrition (FSN Forum)