To accelerate the sustainable and digital transition in agriculture, forestry, and rural areas, it is crucial to enhance knowledge and innovation competencies and skills. Knowledge and innovation are essential to effectively address global challenges like climate change, biodiversity loss, environmental degradation, and food security. Strengthening the Agriculture Knowledge and Innovation System (AKIS) at national, regional, and local levels is vital to bridge the gap between the research, services and the practice and ensure that innovation is co-generated and adding value at local contexts. The ministry of agriculture mandated FAO to support AKIS decentralized centers in the Fergana valley.
In this regard, from 11 to 13 September 2023, the Training Workshop and Regional AKIS Dialogue was held in Fergana, Uzbekistan under the scope of the FAO project “Preparing the grounds for digital transformation of agriculture”. The event brought together Fergana, Namangan and Andijan AKIS center technical personnel as well as representatives from research, academia, private sector, government representatives and authorities, farmers, civil society associations and FAO projects members from the valley.
The workshop covered AKIS concepts and approaches, governance and innovative strategy formulation. It also focused on communication, knowledge sharing and management aspects and enabled to prepare the design of a communication and knowledge sharing roadmap supporting the regional AKIS strategy.
“In FAO Office of Innovation, we innovate every day. Through the FAO training on Agricultural Knowledge and Innovation System, piloted in Fergana valley in Uzbekistan, we harnessed new methodologies, based on evidence, foresight and collective intelligence, such as innovation policy lab for AKIS strategic planning, innovation brokerage and local, small-scale farmer-centred living labs. Equipped with these innovative tools and skills, the regional AKIS actors established a regional AKIS group for the valley, coordinated by the regional AKIS center, and prepared their regional AKIS strategy”, – says Nevena Alexandrova, FAO Agricultural Extension Officer.
The workshop has been interactive enabling working groups to contribute into development of the AKIS strategy and its communication and knowledge sharing roadmap.
“As knowledge is at the core of the agricultural knowledge and innovation system, we zoomed in the regional AKIS strategy of the Fergana valley to improve the connections among the actors from regional to mahalla level. Sharing videos among the various actors is the preferred way to exchange, according to the assessment made. This is why FAO will offer two online training modules on participatory video. The first module will run from 23 to 31 October and the second one for beginning from 6 to 16 November”, – Sophie Treinen, FAO Communication for Development Officer informed.
As Sophie Treinen mentioned, the Beekeeping and Pollination living labs in Ferghana valley are preparing several videos that will explain and demonstrate the importance of pollination for fruits trees and cotton. The Novkent living lab will focus on water issues. The results will be shared at the end of November 2023 in the planned Lessons Learned Workshop.