Tuesday, July 20, 2010

You need us, farmers tell researchers

African farmers want a greater say in research outputs they argue frequently sideline their efforts even though they have a wealth of indigenous knowledge to improve food security.

Busani Bafana reports.

"Small holder farmers in Africa are in their own right researchers," Abiel Banda, Vice President of the Southern African Confederation of Agricultural Unions (SACAU), told a press briefing by farmer organisations at FARA's 5th African Science Week in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso. "Where there is an identification of indigenous technology by farmers, researchers must recognise it; they need us as much as we need them."

Farmers have lamented the mismatch between their needs and the output of researchers because they are not treated as equal partners in the research activities and are not consulted prior to setting the research agenda. In addition, farmers themselves lack the capacity to undertake research independently as well as to effectively use the results. However, collaboration holds promise.

"As a result of spirited consultations, we are beginning to see research activities moving from research stations to the farmers' farms. Farmers now directly participate in the outputs as well as in the dissemination of those outputs," said Philip Kiriro, President of the Eastern Africa Farmers Federation (EAFF).

Bagna Djibo, the President of Reseau Des Organisations Paysannes Et Des Producteurs De L'Afrique DeL'Ouest, (ROPPA), felt that scientific research should be used to find solutions to food insecurity.

"We have to avoid producing raw materials without adding value to them, something which could transform agriculture and that is where researchers come in. There is need for a link between producers and researchers," said Djibo."We need the research to inform us about the technology we need to be competitive and to continue to put the food on the table."

Lydia Sasu, from the Development Action Association (DAA) in Ghana and an executive member of ROPPA, said women farmers were key in agriculture innovation and research.

"We have learnt that if researchers do not come to us, women go to the researchers. They know us because they need us," Sasu said.

No comments:

Post a Comment

We will review comments before they are published in order to weed out spam.