I was really glad to listen to farmers talk about their realities; challenges, actions or activities done so far, and what they think are the solutions that can work for them and their priorities. I couldn't be more than happy. One key reflection for me is what I have been clamoring for: farmers have vast knowledge that can solve rural problems but they only lack the platforms and resources to execute them.

Over the years, I have always maintained that we need to start rethinking how our programmes and interventions are designed, planned and implemented, especially the approach of the project team doing all the activities.

Our approaches have achieved little, because farmers (especially women, youth and people living with Disabilities) have not been involved in the whole process. In other cases, farmers are only involved as a source of information gathering and beneficiaries. Thus, no co-creation or co-ownership whatsoever took place throughout the process. In my opinion, we need to deliberately test new approaches where farmers get involved from the design stage (as contributors), to the implementation and evaluation. These co-creation and co-ownership approaches bring into consideration the vast indigenous knowledge of programming with other models to create a more inclusive model(s). In simple terms, farmers can be part of the central project team members; who are the core decision makers and they are well represented.

For instance, many technologies or innovations introduced to improve farmers' productivity have either been abandoned or less adopted. One of the key reasons for this could be the challenge of ownership. This is most common to technologies or innovations promoted through project-based interventions. At the end of such projects, farmers are most times unable to sustain the usage, especially when the costs of maintenance are very high and don't really satisfy their genuine or urgent needs because they had not been co-created and no co-ownership. Therefore, rethinking this process will be a step in the right direction.

So, we need to change our mindset from believing that farmers cannot help themselves to a mindset that farmers have the vast experience and knowledge to know the root cause of their problems and solve them with the appropriate resources and support. We need to start walking our talks by consciously allowing farmers to take the stage and we take the backstage because farmers possess knowledge that needs to be harnessed for scaling and sustainability of agricultural technologies and innovations.

Don't forget, farmers are custodians of indigenous knowledge that can easily be harvested, refined and explored to achieve food security and shared prosperity.

Let the sharing begin!