First Farmer Innovation Fair in Cameroon

Cameroon Farmer Innovation Fair prize winners (Photo: Jeanne Sikangwa)

The Country Platform (CP) in Cameroon organised the first Farmer Innovation Fair in the country on 27–29 May 2021.  The fair gave value to the innovativeness of farmers throughout Cameroon and to gave innovative farmers an opportunity to network with other farmers, formal researchers and agricultural advisors.  Over 1500 people visited the fair stands over the three days.

Before the fair, the Prolinnova–Cameroon coordinator had set up a jury with people from NGOs and government institutions of agricultural research, advisory services and education, led by Constant Amougou from the Institute of Agricultural Research for Development (IRAD). This jury selected innovations by 50 farmer innovators, including 21 women, according to criteria of local relevance, applicability by other farmers, use of local materials and sustainability. In her welcoming speech, Christine Andela, Director of COSADER (Collective of NGOs for Food Security and Rural Development in Cameroon), the CP’s host organisation, stated that the event was a great opportunity to “celebrate farmers’ ingenuity in Cameroon”.

The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development (MINADER) gave 14 monetary awards to farmers who had developed innovations in different categories such as food processing, vegetable growing, animal health and forestry. These included special awards for innovations developed by women and youth, as well as the top innovations in each of the country’s ten regions. The award-winning innovations included: “Heaven Juice” to conserve fruit without chemical preservatives; crop protection using pest- and insect-repelling plants; “foolewooh”, an adaptive and open-source (royalty-free) farmer’s tomato variety; and producing maggots to make feed for poultry and fish.

During the fair, farmer innovators, formal researchers, development workers and university staff took part in panel discussions on: agroecology and innovative integrated systems, innovative agricultural and agri-food technologies in rural areas, farmers’ knowledge and introduced technologies, and partnerships and agricultural innovations.

This first Farmer Innovation Fair revealed the diversity of innovations developed by farmers in Cameroon and opened up good perspectives for expanding the CP. MINADER asked the Coordinator of the National Programme for Monitoring and Strengthening Food Security (PNVRSA) to become the focal point of MINADER in the Prolinnova–Cameroon steering committee and to give attention to issues related to farmer innovation.

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