Learning together about how innovation happens in smallholder farming in Africa


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Learning together about how innovation happens in smallholder farming in Africa

  1. 1. Ann Waters-Bayer, ETC Foundation, Netherlands for the JOLISAA and INSARD teams EC Lunchtime Conference on Research Serving Development Brussels, 26 November 2013
  2. 2. • CIRAD, France • ESAFF, Tanzania • ETC, Netherlands • ETC, Netherlands • ICRA, Netherlands • GRET, France • KARI, Kenya • PELUM RD, Zambia • U Abomey-Calavi, Benin • REPAOC, Senegal • U Pretoria, South Africa • and many smallholders and their partners in innovation • WUR, Netherlands • and many smallholders and their partners in innovation Learning from local innovation in Benin (Photo: Bernard Triomphe)
  3. 3. Objective of JOLISAA: To learn jointly about how innovation processes in African smallholder farming happened, so as to draw lessons for research, policy and practice to support continuing innovation processes that address the needs & demands of smallholders. Objective of INSARD: To ensure an informed participation of a broad range of European and African civil society organisations in the formulation and implementation of ARD policies that address the needs & demands of smallholders.
  4. 4.  Showing pathways to support food & nutrition security  Forging the kind of partnerships needed to achieve this  Informing agricultural research & development (ARD) policymaking  Heightening interest in Europe & Africa in ARD in smallholder family farming  Strengthening the voice of farmer organisations & other members of civil society in decision-making about ARD
  5. 5. 1) by farmers & other stakeholders jointly analysing innovation cases in Benin, Kenya & South Africa 2) by farmers & researchers jointly developing research questions in Senegal, Tanzania & Zambia 3) through cross-analysis of cases from different countries 4) in exchange with other groups studying innovation processes in African agriculture
  6. 6.  How can we better understand innovation processes in smallholder farming & the role of formal research in these processes? Trying to understand innovation process in South Africa (Photo: Laurens van Veldhuizen)  How can we generate a collective understanding of an innovation process in the “innovation system”, to stimulate collective action?  What lessons can we learn from this understanding for more effective support to multi-stakeholder innovation processes in smallholder family farming?
  7. 7.  Farmers in southern Benin dug hwedos in floodplains to trap fish as water recedes  Intensified system through better drainage & irrigation to grow off-season vegetables on raised hwedo banks to sell to coastal city markets  Rely on both fish & vegetables to secure income while adjusting to environmental & market fluctuations  Introduced “modern” aquaculture projects ignored this locally developed low-external-input system Maintaining canal to keep hwedo productive (Photo: Anne Floquet)
  8. 8. Harvesting aloe in Kenya (Photo: Bernard Triomphe)
  9. 9. ① Build on local dynamics: innovation “in the social wild” ② Combine local & external knowledge & ideas to enhance innovative capacity (1 + 1 = 3) ③ Encourage access to diverse value chains to lower the innovation risks ④ Support unpredictable innovation processes ⑤ Address the multiple dimensions of innovation
  10. 10. With little or no support from public research & development (R&D) institutions, many smallholders are actively innovating individually and collectively to solve problems, improve their farming and income, & grasp opportunities. Endogenous aquaculture development in Benin (Photo: Anne Floquet) Harvesting aloe for informal market chain in Kenya (Photo: B. Triomphe)
  11. 11. Linking multiple sources of knowledge enhances the capacity of all stakeholders to innovate, to adapt to changing conditions & to grasp opportunities. Innovation “in the social wild” can be strengthened, speeded up and made more sustainable through appropriate inputs of knowledge from different sources that respond to farmers’ demands, needs & actual possibilities. Farmers & scientists in Benin explore ways to improve the local innovation (Photo: Anne Floquet)
  12. 12. Markets and value chains, whether local or distant, can trigger & sustain dynamic innovation processes that benefit smallholders & consumers … but imply significant risks for resource-poor farmers and small-scale processors. Having access to diverse value chains is critical to increase local resilience to erratic & dysfunctional markets. Soy cheese in fried pieces on market in Benin (Photo: Anne Floquet)
  13. 13. Innovation cannot be planned from the onset. It evolves in unpredictable & often unexpected ways over a long time & specific to a changing context. In-field water-harvesting technique introduced for large-scale cropping in South Africa Farmers adapted technique to grow vegetables (Photos: Water Wheel) In supporting innovation, formal R&D actors should use highly flexible, open-ended & iterative approaches adapted to local conditions.
  14. 14. Beyond technology, innovation has important social & organisational dimensions that cannot be addressed in isolation from each other, if innovation is to be successful. e.g. to deal with invasive weed Prosopis juliflora in Kenya, technological innovation (charcoal making) had to be intertwined with institutional innovation (change in law) & organisational innovation (selfformed charcoal-maker groups) Making charcoal from prosopis in Baringo, Kenya (Photo: Ann Waters-Bayer)
  15. 15.  Changing the way governments and donors fund interventions in agricultural research & development  Supporting innovation platforms & other multi-stakeholder alliances at different levels  Developing innovation brokerage capacities  Strengthening pivotal role of agricultural advisors  Integrating innovation systems approaches into agricultural education and training Let’s act on these recommendations to achieve a dynamic, innovative & productive smallholder family farming sector!
  16. 16. www.jolisaa.net www.repaoc.org/insard This work forms part of the EU-funded projects “Joint Learning in Innovation Systems in African Agriculture” (JOLISAA) and “Including Smallholders in Agricultural Research for Development” (INSARD). The opinions expressed herein are the sole responsibility of the author. Thanks to all JOLISAA & INSARD consortium members and partners in Benin, France, Kenya, Netherlands, Senegal, South Africa, Tanzania and Zambia for their collaboration and providing data, insights and comments.
  17. 17. South African innovator in backyard poultry farming (Photo: Brigid Letty) Kenyan farmer developed feed supplements for goats (Photo: Laurens van Veldhuizen) International Farmer Innovation Day ! Ethiopian farmer developed water-lifting devices (Photo: Ann Waters-Bayer) Ethiopian farmer comparing modern beehive & her local improvement on it (Photo: Tesfahun Fenta)