Can global food production keep up with growing human numbers and rising human aspirations?
This question has long worried scientists, policy makers and national planners everywhere. Our planet’s land and water resources are limited, so we need to be more efficient in how we use them for farming. Now, climate change makes everything more complex and uncertain.
Small farmers can play a crucial role in coping with this challenge. Across the developing world, tens of millions of small farmers toil with their land and water everyday to feed their families – and many others. Armed with the local knowledge and experience, they are experts in surviving in harsh environments. They are innovators too: constantly developing, trying out and adopting better ways of producing food.
Despite this, agricultural researchers and those involved in extension or development support have rarely treated small farmers as equal partners. Farmers, on their part, ignore most products of formal agricultural research that do not address their real needs and problems.
How can the formal agricultural researchers join hands with small farmers – including pastoralists, fisher folk and small-scale food processors – to face the massive challenge of growing more food for a crowded world on a warming planet?
Prolinnova has been doing just this for a decade. It is a global learning network that promotes local level innovation by small farmers. Prolinnovapartners support farmer-led research and development in developing countries of Africa, Asia and Latin America.
In 2010, TVE Asia Pacific was invited to document the work of Prolinnova partners in selected countries. This short film series was filmed in Cambodia, the Netherlands, Niger and South Africa. It is released in March 2011.