FaReNe: Strengthening Farmer-Led Research Networks for Agro-Ecological Intensification

Lead Organization:

ETC Foundation / PROLINNOVA

Partner Organizations:

INERA, World Neighbors, ADAF Galle, IER, AOPP

Community of Practice:

Farmer research network (FRN)

Countries:

Burkina Faso Mali

Duration:

10/2013—10/2014

Overview:

The Sahel is an environmentally sensitive region and climate variability and change are likely to worsen the situation. Formal agricultural research and development activities in the Sahel usually give only limited attention to farmer’s own innovations. The present project aims at strengthening and supporting farmer-led research networks in which smallholders lead joint experimentation for agroecological intensification (AEI), building on local knowledge and innovation. The project will be implemented in the Passore and Gnagna Province of Burkina Faso and in the Ségou and Mopti regions of Mali (all regions of less than 700 mm rainfall).
By addressing farmer research networks and AEI, this project addresses two key aspects of CCRP’s actual funding strategy in West Africa. Within the region, the project will represent a unique example and excellent learning opportunity regarding farmer-led innovation and farmer-led agricultural research and development. Linkages with the PROLINNOVA network via this project are additional assets, along with the highly experienced PROLINNOVA leadership.

Grant Aims:

The project would be implemented in two regions each in Burkina Faso and Mali, with the following objectives:

  1. To identify and analyze existing local innovation and innovations and improve and spread them through participatory innovation development and Local Innovation Support Funds (LISF);
  2. To create / strengthen farmer-led research networks for taking the lead in participatory innovation development and LISF management and related innovation activities;
  3. To gain deeper insights into the praxis of farmer-led research networks and spread and share lessons widely.

The focus of the inception phase is to build the relevant partnerships for the project, initiate farmer-led research networks, clarify central concepts and approaches among all partners through capacity building linked to initial series of first pilot activities and jointly develop a well-founded design of the implementation phase. Once the full project will have been successfully completed, country-wide impacts are expected that will lead to increasing recognition of smallholder farmers as key-players in agricultural research and development and of farmer-led research networks as approach complementary to existing researcher-led approaches and partnerships.

Outputs and Outcomes:

  • Existing practices and local innovations in intensified agroecological production that contributes to improved food security identified, analyzed and documented.
  • Farmer-led networks and partnerships initiated, at least two per country;
  • Capacity in participatory innovation development of members farmer-led networks strengthened, 25 members per country out of which at least 30% women.
  • Inception workshop organized and central concepts and approaches fully shared by all;
  • Framework and plan for analyzing the process of formation and functioning of farmer-led research networks and LISF;
  • Proposal for the implementation phase finalized.

Resources