Innovation systems operate as complex webs, yet links among their elements are often fragmented and disconnected.  Multi-stakeholder research and innovation platforms must be fostered to bind partners together, help them define a common purpose, direct efforts towards high level targets and create more effective and equitable systems, capable of collectively generating, accessing and using the knowledge and resources required for successfully meeting the SDGs.  GFAR is addressing this through integrated innovation platforms able to bring transformative change in particular sectors and provide exciting new income opportunities from agricultural innovation for farmers, particularly youths and rural women.  GFAR’s approach starts from joint country reports integrating all perspectives, with a forward-looking approach combining traditional and modern tools of assessment. Country stakeholders lead implementation, and conclude with joint evaluation and lessons learning. 

This Key Focus Area includes the following GFAR Collective Actions set out together by Partners in GFAR and endorsed by the GFAR Steering Committee for future development:

Enabling Successful Enterprise from Innovation

Sustainable Development Goals challenge research and development agencies to step up activities aimed at solving traditional and more recent problems of agriculture and food systems. For rapid progress, new and existing pieces of knowledge and innovations which are viable, compatible, and adaptable, must be embedded in vibrant enterprises for rapid scaling out, contributing to the attainment of SDG targets. 

Through this Collective Action, Partners in GFAR propose to put in place innovative partnerships by establishing innovation platforms at the national level for the coordination of aggregated grassroots activities. The platform and the national network of coordination will reinforce the multidimensional interaction and exchanges between the stakeholders to create pathways for enterprise development which will break barriers to scaling out. This will lead to tangible gains in food production, income generation and conservation of the environment.

Improving the Productivity and Livelihoods of Women Smallholder Farmers

Women play crucial roles along the entire value chain in small holder agriculture.  Several studies have shown that women are responsible for the production of most of the food consumed in developing countries.  As important as their roles are in the traditional agriculture of developing countries, they are usually neglected in today's development interventions. Many benefits fly past them because most policies assume all farmers to be men.  Raising the output and income of women farmers will go a long way in addressing the central issues of rural poverty and hunger with cascading effects on the livelihoods of their households.   

This Collective Action aims to focus on the transformation of knowledge and innovation into enterprises to empower women and improve their contribution to the development process.  Innovation Platforms will be used to support co-innovation of women-friendly, environmentally friendly and climate-smart production systems, technologies, tools and processes and their translation into enterprises for the attainment of socioeconomic benefits. 

Engaging Youth in Agriculture for Increased Food Security and Poverty Reduction

Populations in developing countries are becoming increasingly youthful with the majority of them either underemployed or not employed at all.  For example, seventy-five percent of the population across Africa is under the age of 35 and out of this, only about 30% of those who could work are employed.  This has led to a series of challenges including out-migration, exacerbating the phenomenon ageing farmers. Can some of the youths be empowered to become successful farmers to replace these ageing farmers, produce much needed food for their communities and thereby generate incomes for improved livelihoods?

This Collective Action aims to empower youths through multistakeholder Innovation Platforms to co-develop with other stakeholders, youth-friendly, environmentally friendly, and climate-smart production systems, technologies, tools and processes which will be transformed into enterprises to improve food security and reduce poverty. 

Global Open Data for Agriculture and Nutrition (GODAN)

GODAN seeks to support global efforts to make agricultural and nutritionally relevant data available, accessible, and usable for unrestricted use worldwide. The initiative focuses on building high-level policy and public and private institutional support for open data and encourages collaboration and cooperation among existing agriculture and open data activities to solve longstanding global problems. Open access to research data, government data and agri-food value-chain data is vital for agricultural development and efficient and sustainable agri-food systems. GFAR is one of the founding members of GODAN, part of the Steering Committee and the Secretariat. GODAN involves more than 650 partners across the globe, many of whom are also partners in GFAR. GODAN is already running as a mature Collective Action: self-sufficient, with a Steering Committee, some leading and committed organizations, many partners, a Theory of Change of its own and initial funding.