If you think the term ‘change begins with you’ is a cliché, I will prove you wrong!
Changing people’s perceptions and behaviours, especially farming practices, is not an easy task. Research for development organizations have to foster good relationships with farmers so that they own the processes to enhance sustainability. That is why it’s important for research institutions to meet to discuss the challenges they face and share their experiences in solving the problems in their respective programs. This also explains why scientists, policy makers, farmer representatives, civil society, young agripreneurs and development partners from around the world met at the GCARD3 conference in Johannesburg this week to chart the way forward for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Theme discussions at GCARD3 were very lively and drew on real examples of research projects to show that results can leave a lasting impact on communities, especially if they foster good relationships with farmers.
Mario Allegra from Uruguay presented a case study on the National Agricultural Research Institute of Uruguay (INIA)’s excellent relationship with farmers, who co-govern and co-finance its activities. This relationship has yielded positive economic, social, environmental and institutional impacts over 20 years of investment in research and innovation by INIA. Survey studies between 1991-2013 of farmers, leaders and decision makers in the agricultural sector, showed high levela of satisfaction and a highly positive balance of opinion.
A dairy farmer from India also shared how a dairy project had alleviated poverty in his community, where widows continue to benefit from selling milk from improved cows that were introduced by a research project some time ago.
Wanjiru Kamau Rutenberg, the Executive Director of African Women in Agricultural Research and Development (AWARD) mesmerized participants with the individual approach that the AWARD program takes to empower women in eleven countries. The program builds self confidence and self belief to ensure women know they can succeed in whatever they do, especially in agriculture. “We also offer research fellowships to women scientists and mentor them to realize their potential and achieve their dreams” said Ms Rutenberg.
Blogpost by Mercy Becon, #GCARD3 Social Reporter – M.Becon(at)cgiar.org
Picture courtesy of Karen Marshall/ILRI
This post is part of the live coverage during the #GCARD3 Global Conference in Johannesburg, South Africa, 5-8 April 2016. This post is written by one of our social reporters, and represents the author’s views only.