The outcome: FAO’s technical seminar on rural communication services and inclusive innovation for family farming

The outcome: FAO's technical seminar on rural communication services and inclusive innovation for family farming

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The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) hosted a technical seminar on Rural Communication Services (RCS) and Inclusive Innovation Approaches for Family Farming on 29 April 2024. Held at the Ethiopia Room at the FAO Headquarters in Rome, Italy, the seminar was also live-streamed (Morning session livestream and Afternoon session livestream). Global experts participated, sharing their various RCS initiatives.

As part of the ongoing implementation of the United Nations Decade of Family Farming 2019-2028 (UNDFF), the seminar served as an avenue for knowledge-sharing and collaboration among stakeholders. It highlighted the importance of communication for family farming, enabling family farmers to make transformative changes aligned with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Attendees learned about FAO-supported Communication for Development (ComDev) initiatives related to RCS and family farming. Experts from different ComDev initiatives discussed RCS perspectives and innovation approaches to foster family farming policies and programs within their organizations.

The morning session focused on RCS perspectives, trends, and initiatives, showcasing how different FAO-supported ComDev initiatives, such as ComDev Asia and YenKasa Africa, have promoted RCS in family farming policies and initiatives. Dr Maria Stella Tirol from the University of the Philippines Los Baños College of Development Communication (UPLB-CDC) presented a roadmap of ComDev Asia’s activities and follow-up actions, highlighting RCS work and advancing RCS initiatives for the next half of the decade.

The afternoon session addressed using different inclusive innovation approaches to family farming. Dr Sarah Cardey from the University of Reading emphasized the need for a transdisciplinary approach to addressing rural communities’ complex issues and highlighted the importance of dynamic communication in supporting farmer-led change. Rikin Gandhi from Digital Green discussed participatory video as a tool for facilitating the adoption of innovative farming practices. Other innovative approaches, such as rural radio, AI chatbots, and farmer field schools (FFS), were also presented as methods various communities use to promote participatory approaches to family farming worldwide.

The seminar concluded by emphasizing RCS’s significant role at the UNDFF’s midpoint. Ongoing RCS initiatives offer spaces for knowledge-sharing, capacity development, and technical assistance to family farmers globally. The presentation of a roadmap of priorities and follow-up actions in advancing RCS work set the tone for the next half of the UNDFF global initiative.

Read more about the UNDFF global action plan through this publication.

Did you miss the seminar? You can find the webinar recording here.