Homegrown solutions ‘crucial to sustainable development’ – SciDev.Net


Homegrown solutions ‘crucial to sustainable development’

Ochieng’ Ogodo

18 June 2012 | EN

A farmer in Embu, Kenya, loads grain into a metal silo, for more efficient storage

Local solutions to food security and agriculture issues are essential, say forum participants


[RIO DE JANEIRO] Nurturing local innovations and technologies — and empowering the creativity of local people — could play a far greater role in helping the world achieve sustainable development, a forum has heard.

There is a pressing need to shift from the dominant top-down approach to technology transfer, Melissa Leach, director of the STEPS centre, told the Fair Ideas event, hosted by the International Institute of Environment and Development last week (16–17 June).

Instead, fostering local technologies and innovations is increasingly important, she said.

“It is good to have global meetings like Rio+20 [the UN Conference on Sustainable Development], but there is greater need to realise that there is no single answer to human problems,” she told the meeting, held to discuss ideas for sustainable development before the Rio+20 summit this week (20–22 June).

This article is part of our coverage of preparations for Rio+20 — the UN Conference on Sustainable Development — which takes place on 20-22 June 2012. For other articles, go to Science at Rio+20

Processes for achieving sustainable development must connect to localinnovations, she said. “We need to empower the creativity of poor people to contribute to social, economic and ecological systems.”

Leach cited the case of East Africa, where decade-long efforts to improve food security — through a top-down approach involving sophisticated plant-breeding and high level biotechnology for drought-resistant maize — have not succeeded.

Many small-scale farmers are still trapped in poverty, and the food insecuritywitnessed in the Horn of Africa in 2011 has become recurrent problem.

But local people would be in an even worse situation, Leach claimed, without home-grown technologies. These include the results of farmer-participatory research — in which farmers conduct experiments in their fields — and efforts by local institutions to manage natural resources.

Kevin Urama, executive director of the Nairobi-based African Technology Policy Studies Network, said the challenge was that people still believed innovation and technologies must be transferred from north to south, rather than potentially being developed indigenously.

“We must go beyond looking for technological development and infusion from the West, to socio-technological solutions where the people who need it are part of the process,” he said after the meeting.

He gave the example of people living in arid and semi-arid conditions being aware of which crops would thrive in their local area. Such knowledge had to be researched to improve home-grown innovations and solutions, Urama said.

This article is part of our coverage on Science at Rio+20. Read more in ourlive blog.

Homegrown solutions ‘crucial to sustainable development’ – SciDev.Net.

About Dr. Bukar USMAN, mni

I started as a field Veterinary officer with Borno State Ministry of Agriculture and later joined College of Agric, Maiduguri as a lecture & a Researcher in the Department of Animal Health & Production. I was appointed the Provost of the College In 2003. In 2007 I was appointed Hon. Commissioner & Member Borno State Executive Council and later appointed Permanent Secretary with the Borno State Civil Service in 2009. I was the National Facilitator Animal Health, National Programme For Food Security of the Federal Ministry of Agric & Rural Development, Abuja. I was Director, Veterinary Medicine & Allied Products (VMAP) and now Director North East Zone NAFDAC. I’m a member of the National Institute’ (mni), Kuru SEC 40, 2018. I engaged myself in various aspects of the veterinary profession. I founded Sril Group Ltd, Nigeria.
This entry was posted in Agriculture, Food security, Poverty, Sustainable Development. Bookmark the permalink.

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