by Vivian Atakos
The Agriculture Innovation Systems in Africa (AISA) workshop coorganised by PROLINNOVA, the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS) and other partners finally kicked off on 29 May 2013 here in Nairobi, Kenya.
More than 50 farmers from Eastern Africa got together with researchers and practitioners from across the globe, to discuss what they are doing in the field and to share innovative ideas at a so-called "market fair". The fair made it possible for researchers and practitioners to get an overiew of what farmers are doing right now, in their own fields.
During the second day, 150 participants, mainly researchers and development practitioners, came together to learn jointly about agricultural innovation processes and systems in Africa.
This entailed setting the scene for assessing and supporting innovation in Africa and sharing main results and lessons about innovation processes and cases. Rather than the traditional keynote address, participants (including one farmer representative from the market fair) delivered a "living keynote presentation" to summarize the "hot areas".
"All workshop participants collectively developed the final keynote," observed participant Sarah Mayanja, who had taken some time to visit the keynote area to look at contributions by other participants.
Seven keynote points had arrived by the end of the day:
- Innovation drop zones – scientists and development practitioners need to work with farmers to identify innovation platforms that work. It should not just be a top down approach
- Life under the hedge – the need to bring out the hidden innovations
- Follow the bright lights – should we really follow innovations that are likely to attract a lot of funding from donors or partners? What are the things to consider?
- Surf the wave – right timing to maximize on innovations
- Brain gain – capacity building of innovators
- Suspended motion – how do we learn? Is all about outcome, impact, monitor, evaluate and learn
- The ripple effect – scaling out innovations
The third day of the workshop will include a poster and marketplace session where CCAFS East Africa will present 2 posters:
- “Farms of the future”: an innovative approach for strengthening adaptive capacity
- Seasonal weather forecasting: integration of indigenous and scientific knowledge drawn from work in Lushoto, Tanzania - one of CCAFS East Africa sites.
Additionally, participants will engage in a facilitated dialogue on policy implications before working on a way forward through a world café session.
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Download a compilation of AISA oral papers and poster abstracts
This story was written by Vivian Atakos, communications specialist at CCAFS East Africa Office.