Can global food production keep up with the growing human numbers and rising human aspirations?
Or is the world slowly heading to a Malthusian catastrophe with food shortages, food riots and famines?
Global Premiere in Dar es Salaam
The PROLINNOVA film series will be screened during the opening of the 2011 International Partners Workshop, held in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, on 21 March 2011.
The event will be attended by the Minister of Agriculture, Food Security and Cooperatives of Tanzania, and involve representatives from PROLINNOVA partners from Africa and Asia.
The meeting is hosted by the PROLINNOVA Tanzania National Steering Committee and coordinating NGO PELUM Tanzania.
As extreme weather and disaster events increase in number and intensity worldwide, these questions worry scientists, policy makers and national planners everywhere.
A new film series produced by TVE Asia Pacific (TVEAP) highlights one way forward: tap the ingenuity and expertise of small farmers in the developing countries.
The series shows how local knowledge, coupled with scientific insights and principles, can help improve yields without harming the land, water and the rest of the environment.
TVEAP produced the series in partnership with PROLINNOVA, a global learning network that promotes local innovation led by small-scale farmers in sustainable agriculture and management of natural resources. Launched in 2001, PROLINNOVA is currently active in 17 developing countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America.
Filmed in four countries in Africa, Asia and Europe during 2010, the short video film series offers an overview of the global agricultural research and development challenges taken on by PROLINNOVA partners.
It also showcases the processes and products of participatory innovation in the three countries: Cambodia, Niger and South Africa. Additional interviews were filmed in the Netherlands.
The examples featured in the film series are typical of how PROLINNOVA operates: bringing government, academic and civil society groups together with small farmers to work as equals.
“The whole project -- which involved making three short films in Cambodia, Niger and South Africa, and an overview film covering the global programme -- was done within the span of a year. It was most challenging and exciting,” says Chesha Wettasinha, Coordinator of the film project of on behalf of Prolinnova at the ETC Foundation in The Netherlands.
She adds: “It was no small feat to capture in film concepts and approaches espoused by PROLINNOVA, but TVEAP did remarkably well in showing in a nutshell what we had written in reams of publications. Hats off to TVEAP for a job well done!”
TVEAP’s Series Producer Manori Wijesekera says: “Our challenge was to distil the essence of nearly a decade of field work by dozens of PROLINNOVA partners. We had to tell their story in an engaging and authentic manner – and in a nutshell.”
The series was researched and scripted by TVEAP Director Nalaka Gunawardene, a science writer with wide experience in covering development issues for print, television and online media.
The series was filmed on location with local video crews in Cambodia, Niger and South Africa – as well as during the 2010 international partner meeting held in Wageningen, The Netherlands. PROLINNOVA partners at each location provided technical guidance and logistical support. The series was edited and post-produced in Colombo, Sri Lanka, where TVEAP is anchored.
The series was conceived, filmed and produced by TVEAP under commission from the PROLINNOVA Network. The non-profit media foundation has wide international experience in producing professional video films on the full range of issues related to science, development and sustainability.
These films are produced and distributed without copyright restrictions. Anyone, anywhere may use these films without license fees or royalty payments, as long as the original sources are acknowledged.
This is the second global series by TVEAP related to aspects of international agricultural research and development. In 2006-2007, TVEAP produced Living Labs, a series that profiled worldwide efforts by researchers and farmers to grow more food with less water -– one of the biggest challenges in agriculture and freshwater management.
Small farmers, masters of survival
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?
This is what PROLINNOVA has been doing for a decade. Its name is an abbreviation derived from ‘PROmoting Local INNOVAtion in ecologically-oriented agriculture and natural resource management’.
In 2010, TVE Asia Pacific was invited to document the work of PROLINNOVA partners in selected countries. The resulting short video series was filmed in Cambodia, the Netherlands, Niger and South Africa.
Photos by TVEAP Image Archive