Establish a smallholder-centered global organic research platform

Photo: N. Palmer (CIAT)Organization: International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements

IFOAM is enabling a global agricultural research platform that fosters participatory and collaborative research on organic-agriculture based solutions to global challenges. It aims to avoid being top-down and input-driven.

What kind of impact can global research platforms have at the local level? Can a research initiative with such a large scope really avoid being top-down driven? How can we make sure that t smallholder farmers are given equitable voice on their priorities for research and solutions? Share your views – join the discussion at the bottom of this page!

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Synopsis: IFOAM is establishing an end-user driven global platform for accessing, developing, evaluating and disseminating low-cost, farmer-centered solutions for building resilient land and livelihoods based on organic and agro-ecological approaches. The platform will scale-up and broaden the activities of the Roundtable on Organic Agriculture and Climate Change, a successful research, knowledge, technology and innovation forum established at the UNFCCC COP15 in 2009. The platform will encourage participation and collaboration amongst interested farmer organizations, civil society, NGOs, UN agencies, governments and research organizations.

The Problem ↓

There is a major gap in the provision and global coordination of smallholder driven agricultural science, knowledge and technology. Most current global research initiatives are predominately top-down and based on costly input product based approaches. A platform is needed to link smallholders in a participatory manner and put their needs and livelihoods at the center of the research agenda. Without affordable, resilient and productive solutions many of the world’s farmers will remain food insecure, vulnerable to climate change and locked-out of development.

The Solution ↓

Establish an end-user driven global platform for linking and strengthening smallholder farmers around the world by building capacity and mobilizing partnerships for research that assists small-scale producers in developing countries to alleviate poverty, establish food sovereignty, and meet food security and nutritional needs, and address climate challenges and land degradation through ecologically sound and socially just farming practices, technologies and systems.

The Method ↓

IFOAM, the global umbrella organization for Organic Agriculture with 700 member organizations in over 120 countries, made an official Voluntary Commitment at Rio+20 to enable collaboration that fosters research capacity and outcomes in developing countries where food security, land degradation and climate change challenges are most critical.

The platform will facilitate participation and collaboration amongst farmer organizations, civil society, NGOs, UN and aid agencies, governments and research providers to scale-up organic agriculture based solutions to global challenges through collaborative research, science, knowledge and technology activities and build-on on the science and knowledge networks of IFOAM.  It will contribute to major global initiatives such the Zero Hunger Challenge, Climate Smart Agriculture and Zero Net Land Degradation and to the priorities agreed at Rio+20 and to the work of the Committee on Food Security. The new platform will also compliment and where possible collaborate with the activities of other relevant international research initiatives such as CCAFS, ICRAFS and Bioversity, and the Global Research Alliance on Agricultural Greenhouse Gases.  

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