Governments have been asked to intensify efforts of placing much premium on smallholder farming to create employment and achieve sustainable food and nutrition security in the world.
“Governments, policy makers and the conventional research and development must not also blame smallholder farmer production for the growing global hunger.”
Mr Malex Alebikiya, the Executive Director of the Association of Church based Development Projects (ACDEP) made the appeal in Tamale during a five-day Prolinnova International Partners’ Workshop aimed at discussing experiences and lessons learnt from Africa and other participating Continents.
Prolinnova, an acronym for “Promoting Local Innovation in ecologically-oriented agriculture and natural resource management” is a global NGO-led learning and advocacy network of 21 members, focusing on recognising the dynamics of indigenous knowledge and learning how to strengthen capacities to develop their own locally.
The Prolinnova network recognises and promotes the innovativeness of small-scale farmers including; women in finding better ways to harness locally available resources for their farming and livelihood activities.
Participants are from Africa including; Ghana, Asia, Latin America and Europe and would among other things share experiences of farming methods in the respective countries and what could be done to improve and solve global hunger.
Mr Alebikiya said smallholder farmers had over the years continued to feed the growing world population, particularly in Asia, Africa and Latin America and that the production of these farmers continued to provide the needed foreign exchange and raw materials to feed and propel industrial growth.
The population of these continents was depended on smallholder agriculture, “Yet government efforts to create employment and achieve sustainable food and nutrition security have tended to ignore the asset they have in these smallholder farmers”.
He said the growing hunger and poverty was as a result of a long term colonial and post-colonial neglect of the food crop sector in favour of the industrial and the export crops than the inability of smallholder production to feed the world.
Professor Gabriel Ayum Teye, Vice Chancellor of the University for Development Studies (UDS) challenged researchers to come out with innovations for certifications of fruits and vegetables to ensure their exportation.
He said the conventional research and development model of transfer of technology using the top down approach required scientists or researchers to generate new improved technologies, which are then, transferred by extension and development agents to farmers.
He said many of the technologies were often too expensive, inappropriate and poorly suited to the needs of the millions of smallholder farmers who understand their local environments better than outsiders.
Professor Teye said UDS remained fully committed and would continue to support the work of Prolinnova in Ghana and recommended among others for Prolinnova to engage students in documentation and dissemination of work on local innovations as part of training them for their future careers.