National African Green Revolution Workshops

From October to November 2009 The Future Agricultures Consortium (FAC) in partnership with the Salzburg Global Seminar (SGS) and the Institute of Development Studies (IDS), conducted two international events on the theme of an “African Green Revolution” last year. In May 2008, FAC co-organised a high-level international conference: “Towards an African Green Revolution?” in Salzburg, Austria.

The conference presented a number of strategic recommendations to achieve a uniquely African “Green Revolution”. As a follow up to that conference, FAC organised three national-level workshops with nearly 100 smallholder farmers in Kenya, Malawi and Ethiopia. The recent workshops tested the strategies proposed for a uniquely African Green Revolution and included discussions on agriculture research to provide farmer input for the March 2010 Global Conference on Agricultural Research for Development – in Montpellier, France.

The Kenya workshop took place at KARI (Kenya Agriculture Research Institute) in Kakamega and aimed to solicit farmers voices on issues of research and governance to lobby and advocate for improved policy outcomes at the Global Conference on Agriculture and Development (GCARD). It brought together about thirty representatives of producer associations, farmer marketing organizations, agricultural researchers and youth groups. The priority areas identified for further strengthening and funding included:

(i) agricultural production and marketing,
(ii) improving research and extension services,
(iii) developing innovations and protecting property rights.

The October 24th Malawi workshop in Lilongwe drew more than 35 farmers and a special call for women and young farmers resulted in significant attendance from these groups. Participants came from farmer organisations and representative farmers in different crops. The workshops were facilitated by Ephraim Chirwa, Mirriam Matita and David Hughes.

The workshop in Ethiopia took place on November 4th in SNNPR following two days of community consultation with three major cooperatives. The workshop was attended by farmer cooperatives, cooperative union managers, regional Cooperative Promotion Officers and zone and agriculture development officers. Reports from each of the three workshops will be available soon. Additional links to GCARD and the CGIAR change process are available on the FAC website.{jcomments off}