Six farmers from Ghana who have won the WASCAL Innovation Contest over the past three years were given the opportunity to present their agricultural farmer innovations at the Farmer Innovation Fair for West Africa in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, West Africa, on May 15-16, 2015.
In addition to the six farmers from Ghana farmers from other West African countries such as Mali, Senegal, Niger, Benin, Togo, Cameroon and Burkina Faso attended the fair. The farmer innovations included institutional, technological (such as in production, processing, treatment of animal diseases and storage), and marketing innovations.
Action at the fair
“The fair attracted a lot of interest and we had politicians, practitioners, researchers, students and farmers visit our stand. It was inspiring and created an optimal environment for networking and the exchange of ideas” says Dr. Tobias Wünscher, senior researcher at the Center for Development Research (ZEF) and coordinator of the WASCAL innovation contest. “Our materials on display were in high demand and our innovators even entered into business negotiations in some cases” adds Zimi Alhassan, project partner at the Ministry of Food and Agriculture in Ghana (MOFA), who joined the fair together with six other partner representatives from NABOCADO, CSIR-SARI and CSIR-ARI.
The Innovation Fair was organized by Prolinova, Inades (Burkina Faso formation) and Réseau MARP. It received funding, among others, from Misereor, the Foundation McKnight and CCAFS (Research program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security).
The Farmer Innovation Contest has the following objectives:
1. Identify farmer innovations; 2. Evaluate them, and communicate the best ones to other farmers; 3. Test the impact of the contest on farmers‘ innovative behavior.
Development research commonly expects farming innovations to be generated by universities and research organizations. The innovation potential of farmers is often ignored but should rather be the focus of our work. The advantage of locally generated innovations is that they have been developed under real conditions and constraints and are locally adapted. Therefore, the dissemination potential can be high.
Farmer Innovation Contest facts & figures:
- The contest is being announced to farmers through the Ministry of Food & Agriculture (MOFA) and radio channels.
- Farmers in Upper East Ghana send in applications with their innovations.
- A local committee selects winners.
- Winners receive awards, e.g. water pumps, motorbikes, roofing sheets.
- So far three contest rounds (2012, 2013, 2014) have taken place. Round 4 is in preparation.
- Total of eligible applications by 2014: 222.
- Number of winning farmers: six (two per year).
- Local partners: MOFA, NABOCADO, CSIR-SARI, CSIR-ARI, farmers.