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CTA Top 20 Innovations transforming smallholders farmers

June 30, 2014

"Smallholders Farmers are ACP 'Bright minds'", says Judith A. Francis, CTA Top 20 innovations coordinator. In Africa, the Caribbean and The Pacific (ACP), their innovations are contributing to advancing scientific knowledge, making local knowledge by better integrating into research and development processes. Smallholder farmers are at the core of the CTA's actions helping them to build and strengthen knowledge from multiple sources.

To capture the ideas of ACP innovators, CTA launched the competition "CTA Top 20 Innovations" (December 2013). It aims to highlight the potential and knowledge of scientists, engineers and farmers as well as taking advantage of simple ideas to improve the livelihoods of smallholder farmers for agricultural growth and prosperity in ACP regions.

Out of the 250 submissions received from 49 countries, the panel of international experts from the ACP regions elected 40 projects that will be discussed and voted on by small-scale farmers. One of the panelists, Mr. Jethro Greene, Chief Coordinator of the Caribbean Farmers Network (CaFAN), supports the initiative: "CTA is creating the space and environment not only for academia but for ordinary persons, young and old small farmers to think differently and be creative in solving old problems with new and improved ideas."

In the era of ICTs, this competition offers all sorts of new and exciting solutions to solve the problems and challenges in the agricultural sector. The 20 successful applicants will be given each a grant of 5,000 Euros to elaborate their 'innovation' as a guidebook and invited to a cross-learning workshop to finalize it. Also a media campaign will be organized in ACP countries to draw to the attention of the public and policy makers of the possibilities that these innovations carry to significantly improve smallholders' lives.
Finally, CTA Top 20 Innovations has the opportunity not only to improve the community engagement in innovative solutions for ACP smallholder farmers, but also to strengthen the agricultural sector itself.