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Experiences from JOLISAA: three cases of multistakeholder innovation processes in South Africa

Letty B., Stevens J.B., Rootman G., Buthelezi N., Jagiello W., Triomphe B.. 2014. In : Triomphe Bernard (ed.), Waters-Bayer Ann (ed.), Klerkx Laurens (ed.), Cullen Beth (ed.), Kamau Geoffrey (ed.), Le Borgne Ewen (ed.). Proceedings of the International Workshop on Agricultural Innovation Systems in Africa (AISA), 29-31 May 2013, Nairobi, Kenya. Montpellier : CIRAD, p. 128-131. International Workshop on Agricultural Innovation Systems in Africa, 2013-05-29/2013-05-31, Nairobi (Kenya).

Through the JOLISAA (JOint Learning in Innovation Systems in African Agriculture) project, smallholder-oriented, multistakeholder innovation systems were explored in South Africa. After an inventory of cases was compiled, three cases were identified for deeper exploration and cross analysis. Local teams of resource persons familiar with the cases were set up for each case. The first case involved bulk buying, where several stakeholders developed a system that allowed farmers to collectively purchase farm inputs, making use of funds derived from savings and credit groups. The second case involved the Agricultural Research Council and University of the Free State working with farmers to develop and test infield rainwater-harvesting technologies. The last was an outcome of the BASED (Broadening Agricultural Services and Extension Delivery) programme, which introduced a new extension approach that gave rise to experimentation related to soil fertility management practices. In all three cases, smallholder farmers were supported by outside organisations through projects/programmes. These initiatives also considered the importance of institutional strengthening. The biggest challenge encountered was the extent to which innovation processes did not continue beyond the timeframe of the project - or were not documented beyond this point. The analysis led to some key lessons for supporting innovation processes, especially the recognition that non-technical innovations can sometimes address production challenges and that farmer mobilisation is often a key element of effective rural development. The cases also reflected that multistakeholder innovation processes that recognise local knowledge and encourage active farmer participation have intangible benefits related to building smallholders¿ confidence and capacities, which foster agricultural development. (Résumé d'auteur)

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