Platform for African – European Partnership in Agricultural Research for Development

Monday, October 15, 2012

Agricultural Innovation cases in South Africa

JOLISAA (Joint Learning in Innovation Systems in African Agriculture) is a European Union funded research project that is coordinated by the French research organisation, CIRAD, and operates in South Africa, Kenya and Benin. In South Africa, the project is hosted by the Department of Agriculture, Extension and Rural Development at the University of Pretoria. The JOLISAA project aims to increase understanding of multi-stakeholder innovation processes and recognises the benefit of combining different forms of knowledge, including local knowledge.

This report on Agricultural Innovation cases in South Africa covers the first phase of the project which was the development of an inventory for each country that documents and describes examples of multi-stakeholder innovation processes that have relevance to smallholder agriculture. The inventory has sought to identify cases where local knowledge has made a contribution to the innovation process. The inventory has allowed for a broad understanding of innovation processes and their dynamics which will be explored in more detail through the next phase of the project, the collaborative assessment of three cases.
  1. collection of individual cases: Compilation of inventory cases
  2. national inventory report (provisional version): National inventory report SA
Innovation cases in South Africa were identified through a number of different avenues. The key approach was to make use of programmes and networks, in particular PROLINNOVA and the South African Society for Agricultural Extension (SASAE) that the members of the coordinating team were already involved with. Contact was also made with individuals and organisations that team members thought might be aware of relevant cases.

Discussions took place with possible case-holders to determine whether or not their cases would be relevant to Jolisaa. At the National Workshop held in Pretoria in November 2010, participants were given the opportunity to showcase innovation processes that they had been involved with. The market place also created awareness about the types of multi-stakeholder processes that existed in South Africa.

The following criteria or guidelines were used for initially identifying cases for inclusion in the inventory (they were also sent to potential participants of the first national workshop to identify cases to be showcased at the workshop’s marketplace): (1) Are they relevant to smallholders? (2) Do they show some level of novelty? (3) Are there multiple stakeholders?

Following the documentation of the 24 cases in the inventory, they were again reviewed by the coordinating team to identify those that did not fit. The cases were only retained in the inventory if they met the following criteria: (1) experiences where at least 3 stakeholders had been actively involved (thus trying to avoid the many cases in which research entertains an exclusive relationship with a group of farmers), (2) experiences which were at least 3 years old (thus trying to target processes that were not in their infancy).

From the range of different cases explored up to this point, only 11 were finally selected. A cross analysis of the 11 cases in the inventory was undertaken to build a better understanding of innovation processes is the field of agriculture in South Africa.

The cases consist of: (a) Identification ; (b) The story line in a nutshell ; (c) The innovation context ; (d) Description ; (e) Main stakeholders involved and their roles in the innovation process ; (f) History / dynamics of the innovation process ; (g) Results & effects of the innovation process so far (adoption) ; (h) Main lessons in light of the JOLISAA goals and questions

Case Studies:

1. Production and marketing of a new cash crop (cherry peppers)
2. Adapting outside knowledge to increase food security in marginal areas: the case of the low cost protein supplement for chicks
3. Developing a bulk buying system for agricultural inputs and equipment
4. Development of a winter feed supplementation option
5. Mainstreaming of traditional healers’ indigenous knowledge through manufacturing, processing and patenting a mosquito repellent from the Lippia javanica shrub
6. Collaboration of research, extensionist and farmers in developing bio-pesticides to control vegetable pests
7. Development and adaptation of in-field rainwater-harvesting techniques
8. Developing and testing an irrigation management tool
9. Maize seed production innovation system in the Vhembe district (Limpopo Province)
10. From unemployment to a viable Egg-layer production cooperative in Mahonisi Village - Limpopo Province
11. Enhancing farmers’ organizational capacities and experimentation for managing soil fertility

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