Abstract: ISDC Symposium at TropAg Conference

Bruno Condori Ali, IICA-Bolivia.

Farmers’ knowledge is a crucial component of local research and continuum applied innovation in global agriculture. Where research is developed by the scientific community, it should complement and strengthen this knowledge. This is much more preponderant and dynamic in environments of mega diversity of species, environments and cultures coexisting in a territory and with continuous adaptation over time. Farmers and indigenous populations have mostly practiced a holistic vision of the way to improve their productive conditions, respecting nature through the use and recognition of natural resources, which could be legally institutionalized. For example, as a result of these local efforts, Bolivia has led the recognition of mother earth rights (071 National Law) and promoted the sovereignty of knowledge through the rescue of ancestral knowledge to meet demands of the peoples in harmony with their environment. As such, Bolivia is one of the promoting countries for international acknowledgement of this vision through the UN, admitted after April 22 as the international day of mother earth. This thrust towards public advocacy from a bottom-up perspective or from the local to the national is effective for including multi-actor and multi-sector inclusive development in innovation plans and programs. However, despite the progress in demand from farmers, including national and international declarations, there is still a need to reduce gaps regarding access to locally and timely adapted technology, information, knowledge, and intergenerational dialogue, which can strengthen effective inclusion in social, economic and cultural terms. In practice, participatory research promoted by various institutions has shown progress in innovation development by combining local and modern knowledge. This effective dialogue of visions of development can reduce innovation generation periods in conditions of social, economic, and environmental pressures, strengthening the productivity and sustainability of local production systems. Some final reflections are: recognition of farmers’ knowledge and practices; dissemination of farmer innovations; facilitating the dialogue among all actors involved in agricultural innovations; and incorporating agricultural technology with local knowledge, would improve the odds to success of joint efforts and actions.