Week on Agricultural Innovation in Africa (WAIA) 25–31 May 2013

Together with the EU-funded project JOint Learning in Innovation Systems in African Agriculture (JOLISAA), the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS) and the AusAID-funded project Food System Innovation for Food Security (FSIFS), Prolinnova organised an International Workshop on Agricultural Innovation Systems in Africa (AISA). Workshop participants from various institutions and initiatives in Africa and Asia examined the role of smallholders in innovation processes in African agriculture and identified key messages for research, practice and policy to strengthen these processes.

To set the scene for the international workshop and to put smallholders front and centre from the very outset, the workshop was preceded by an Eastern Africa Farmer Innovation Fair (EAFIF) to showcase the achievements of individual and groups of smallholder farmers in improving their farming and livelihoods. The international workshop was opened during the final afternoon of the innovation fair. The fair celebrated the creativity of Eastern African smallholder farmers – women and men – and gave them public recognition. This colourful event called attention to the importance of farmer innovation in agricultural development, brought policymakers and the general public in Kenya in contact with farmer innovators, and provided an opportunity for the international participants in the AISA workshop to meet and engage with the innovators. The fair was hosted by Prolinnova–Kenya and co-organised with the Netherlands-supported AgriProFocus (APF) Agri-Hub Kenya network and other organisations concerned with smallholder agricultural development. It involved about 50 farmer innovators identified by the Prolinnova Country Platforms (CPs) and the APF networks in Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda. The calls for innovators in the different countries were circulated through the Prolinnova and APF networks and posted on the WAIA wiki.

To maximise synergies and minimise costs in terms of travel and time and ecological footprint, the annual Prolinnova International Partners Workshop (IPW), the Prolinnova Oversight Group (POG) meeting and the final internal meeting of the JOLISAA Consortium were held back-to-back with the fair and workshop on agricultural innovation. Also the international coordination meetings of two Prolinnova initiatives – Misereor-funded LINEX–CCA (Local Innovation and Experimentation: an entry point to Climate-Change Adaptation) in Asia and Rockefeller Foundation-funded CLIC–SR (Combining Local innovative Capacity with Scientific Research) in eastern Africa – were included in this series of events in the last week of May 2013.

These events were organised by a multi-stakeholder team of governmental and non-governmental organisations in Kenya, coordinated by the Kenya Agriculture Research Institute (KARI) and World Neighbors, co-coordinators of the Prolinnova–Kenya Country Platform.

Parallel to these events, the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) and the CGIAR Challenge Programme on Water and Food (CPWF) held a writeshop on Innovation Platforms (IP) to bring together the experiences of various international research centres and programmes with this approach.

More information on all the various events can be found on the WAIA wiki.

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