From the 13th to 20th August 2017, FARA team and the Institute of Rural Economics (IER, Mali), prepared the ground for the launch of a Farmer Innovation Contest (FIC) in Mali. This consisted of training of farmers innovations scouters and the contest facilitators in Koulikoro, Segou and Sikasso regions in Mali. Part of the preparation also involved fine-tuning of jingles in French and Bambara for radio publicity on the farmers innovations contest.
The 123 scouters (among who are some staff members of the Green Innovation Centres (GIC) of GIZ-Mali), who attended the training sessions are expected to submit 300 valid farmer innovation applications within six weeks slated for the scouting and submission of applications. Participants expressed their satisfaction for gaining more understanding of what qualifies as farmers’ innovations, and of the whole FIC process. Part of the outcome of the training session was the agreement of the farmer participants on the translation of some difficult concepts (e.g. challenges, property rights, risks, etc.) of the scouting tool into Bambara, the most popular local language spoken by farmers in Mali. The scouters promised to identify the best farmers innovations of the target regions.
Farmer Innovation Contest (FIC) is a farmer innovations identification and rewarding activity that is planned be implemented by the Programme of Accompanying Research for Agricultural Innovation (PARI) across the 12 African countries where PARI is executed. As part of the PARI objectives, FIC aims at identifying, supporting, refining, promoting and scaling of innovations generated essentially by the creativity of farmers. Both FIC and PARI are programmes within the “One World No Hunger (SEWOH)” initiative funded by the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development of Germany (BMZ). These programmes are coordinated by the centre for Development Research (ZEF, from University of Bonn) at international level, and the Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA) at African level. The implementation of the FIC within the PARI programme already took place in Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, and Zambia in 2016. In 2017, the farmer innovation contest is being conducted by PARI in Cameroon and Mali. The GICs are expected to contribute to the scaling of the relevant farmers’ innovations identified during the farmer innovation contests.