Prolinnova at WRF Global Conference on Family Farming

During the V Global Conference “Let’s Build the Future: Family Farming” organised by the World Rural Forum (WRF) on 21–23 September 2015 in Bilbao, a roundtable on linking family-farmer organisations and research centres was held.

This gave attention to the relevance of identifying, documenting and facilitating farmer-led innovation processes. The roundtable was moderated by Robin Bourgeois (GFAR) and integrated by Rogelio Pozo (AZTI Tecnalia, Spain), Jean-Michel Sourisseau (CIRAD, France), Fernando Lopez, COPROFAM Latin America) and Gabriela Quiroga (Prolinnova International Secretariat). Prolinnova was presented as one example to increase awareness of the relevance of local innovation for meeting the needs of small-scale farming households and communities.

Some significant topics were covered during the discussion by the panelists and with the audience. These laid the basis for the discussions on the days after, and can be summed up as follows:

1) There is a need to reflect on research topics that are more specific to family farming (looking at intra-family dynamics, going beyond productivity and its measurement and inventing different technical systems);

2) There is a need to think about the meaning of participation in the context of the link between research and family farming and, more broadly, to re-think the vocabulary used to talk, describe and structure the relationship between research and family farming;

3) The meaning of leadership and governance (new systems of decision-making) is key to deepen the discussions;

4) The issue of the power to change (who can change research and how: new ways of funding, such as tenders, building coalitions etc) should be further considered.

Analysing how to improve the connection between agricultural organisations and research centres, the participants realised that it was necessary to improve the communication processes and strengthen the already existing relationships. There is a need for men and women family farmers to be more active in the identification and systematisation of their good practices.

The conference analysed the advances in the characterisation of family farming as an agricultural model and proposed dialogue mechanisms to improve work conditions and wellbeing of the men and women in family farming. Different proposals to connect agricultural research with the relevant farmer organisations were put forward. It was an opportunity to exchange ideas and examples of specific family-farming policies and analyse how a better future can be built for the millions of men and women farmers all over the world.

More information and the conference report will be published at

A press release is available at and some photos at

English working group discussion about linking family-farmer organisations with research centres:
specific proposals. Photo by Concepción Quintana, World Rural Forum.

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