In May 2015, Joe Ouko, chair of the Farmer Innovators Association of Kenya, and three other members of the Prolinnova international network took part in a consultation in Geneva, Switzerland, on small-scale farmer innovation in agrobiodiverse systems.
They were invited by the Quaker United Nations Office (QUNO). The other Prolinnova participants were Pratap Shrestha from USC Canada (member of the Prolinnova Oversight Group) and two people from the Prolinnova International Support Team, Chesha Wettasinha and Ann Waters-Bayer.
During two days, the 19 participants from 12 countries explored what drives local innovation, what supports it and what impedes it. QUNO is engaged in policy dialogue at international level and plans to develop an interactive web-based policy tool on small-scale farmer innovation. As a member of the advisory group for the meeting, Ann stayed on for a third day to strategise about follow-up to the consultation.
Through his participation in the consultation meeting as the sole Kenyan and the sole farmer, Joe was reinforced in his conviction that “if we really want sustainable food security, research and small-scale farmers should not work in their own cocoons but need to work together and complement one another”. He was also encouraged to devote even more efforts to promote farmer-led joint innovation together with researchers though the farmer innovators association in Kenya. A 2-page report on his feedback to Prolinnova–Kenya after his return from Geneva can be found here.