About the South Africa Country Platform

The Institute of Natural Resources (INR) is the facilitating NGO for Prolinnova-South Africa, which aims to build and strengthen partnerships between the various stakeholders involved in agricultural research and development in South Africa.

A National Steering Committee (NSC) is responsible for overall strategic direction of the South African programme, with provincial task teams (PTTs) driving activities at a provincial level. The NSC and PTT members come from the Farmer Support Group (FSG) at the University of KwaZulu-Natal; Centre for Rural Community Empowerment (CRCE) at the University of Limpopo; KwaZulu-Natal Department of Agriculture, Environmental Affairs and Rural Development; Limpopo Department of Agriculture; Mpumalanga Department of Agriculture, Rural Development and Land Administration; the NGOs Ecolink and CAP; and PELUM (Participatory Ecological Land Use Management)–South Africa.

The platform in South Africa was launched in 2004. Projects include:

  • Farmer Access to Innovation Resources (FAIR), which has involved the establishment of a local innovation support facility to promote local innovation (LI) and participatory innovation development (PID)
  • The HIV/AIDS and PID (HAPID) initiative that is investigating the role that that LI and PID can play in terms of either preventing infection or overcoming the challenges associated with HIV/AIDS.
  • Farmer-led documentation (FLD) pilot, taking place in KwaZulu-Natal Province, which is looking at the advantages of FLD as a tool for facilitating sharing and communication.

The current focus is on implementing joint investigations in the three provinces where P rolinnova-SA is most active. Apart from the ongoing pilot cases that are testing various indigenous methods of controlling pests on crops as well as investigating local feed resources for dairy goats, a number of new cases have been initiated. These involve testing local practices for brooding and feeding guineafowls, developing a drip irrigation system for vegetables and testing another bio-pesticide made from beetles. The PID pilots are all partnerships between farmers and other organisations, including NGOs, provincial departments of agriculture and agricultural research scientists.

Other activities that have been taking place include:

  • Documenting cases of local innovation in Mpumalanga Province
  • A workshop in 2010 to build capacity in how to influence policy
  • Capacity building of development practitioners and scientists in the concepts of local innovation and farmer-led joint experimentation
  • Farmer mobilisation, especially creating for a for sharing between farmer innovators
  • Integration of the concepts of LI and PID into curricula at a number of tertiary educational institutions in an effort to mainstream these development approaches.

A key concern of the programme is how to protect farmers' intellectual property rights and maintain their competitive advantage, while encouraging them to share innovations so as to stimulate dynamic innovation processes that bring together different knowledge systems.