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Putting farmers first: reshaping agricultural research in West Africa

Michel Pimbert

Briefing, 4 pages

How agricultural research is funded, organised, controlled and practised can have a huge impact on small-scale producers in the global South. In many countries, such research is driven by external funds, priorities and technological fixes, such as hybrid seeds, which can erode crop diversity. But food producers across the world are beginning to raise their voices to ensure that agricultural research better meets their needs and priorities. This briefing explains how a series of farmer assessments and citizens’ juries in West Africa has helped farmers assess existing approaches and articulate recommendations for policy and practice to achieve their own vision of agricultural research. In 2012, a high-level policy dialogue between farmers and the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa hopes to take this discussion to the next level and develop a shared agenda that can serve development and the public good.

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The aim of this action research is to identify and support processes that can help democratise the governance of food systems, land use and the environment. It seeks to find more equitable ways of including citizens in policy making and in the design of technologies and institutions that shape food systems and the environment.

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Strengthening local voices in the governance of food systems and the environment