Stakeholder Workshop 2004

Prolinnova South Africa

PROmoting Local INNOVAtion Ecologically-Oriented Agriculture 
and Natural Resource Management


Prolinnova South Africa is an initiative to enhance networks, build capacity, and actively engage civil society and government in promoting farmer innovation

A Core Team is formed comprising the Farmer Support Group (lead agency), MIDNET (secretariat), ARC, and PELUM South Africa. The initiative is part of an international endeavour involving various countries in Africa and Asia. The programme is funded by DGIS, CTA and IFAD, and facilitated by ETC Ecoculture, IIRR and Swiss Centre for Agricultural Extension.

farmer innovator is a farmer or land user who innovates at his/her own initiative. Who tries out and tests new methods of resource conservation for production, often using ideas from various sources, often curious, proud, and willing to take risks. Not ‘model farmers’ groomed by projects


The Core Team is operational. They give strategic direction to the programme. They communicate mainly through e-mail, and bi-monthly tele-conferences. Special face-to-face meetings will be held when feasible, and linked to field activities to enhance networking and joint learning.

Hannes de Villiers (Farming Systems Research Unit KZN Department of Agriculture) and Vusumuzi Sithole (Farmer Support Group) successfully attended a two-week Training of Trainers in Participatory Innovation Development held at IIRR in the Philippines, and will report back on their experiences.

A training of three days is scheduled for early Sept, followed by site studies, and feedback workshop in late Oct. Due to the limited resources for the first year it is agreed to take KwaZulu-Natal as first pilot area. Pilot studies will focus on identifying, describing and recording farmer innovation.

An open invitation will be circulated among relevant stakeholders to attend the training and undertake pilot studies. Basic costs of the training for stakeholders in PID are covered by Prolinnova. Travel and accommodation will be participants’ own contribution.

The Core Team will select trainees based on motivations submitted. Broad representation is ensured by specifying the number of trainees per stakeholder Department Agriculture’s extension and research staff (10), NGO’s in agriculture and natural resources management (10). Of these trainees, two thirds would come from KZN (7) and one third from outside the province (3). 5 seats are reserved for ‘special cases’ who don’t fall in above categories such as Universities, private sector etc. (3 from KZN and 2 from outside)

Time Frames6 JulyFeedback workshop by trainers in PIDEarly SeptemberTraining of stakeholders in PIDSeptember-OctoberPilot studies in KZNLate OctoberFeedback workshop by traineesNovemberNational stakeholder workshopDecemberCountry report for year 1

The above processes will result in a National stakeholders workshop to share information on work to date, identify issues and challenges, and develop a three-year action plan for Prolinnova-SA. The second year will carry this process into two other provinces, with stakeholders in KZN expected to continue their efforts.

Prolinnova International requires that all Country Platforms contribute 40% of the total budget towards the programme. This can be done in cash and in kind, for instance through use of facilities, time spent, and additional fundraising. There is funding to continue in year 2 provided our progress meets Prolinnova International’s requirementsy. However, we will need to look at own contributions and fundraising.

All interested organisations are invited to engage in and give feedback on where they have seen farmer innovation that can inform pilot studies. Pilot studies could also focus on specific themes, such as:

  • How AIDS-affected households are adapting to farming challenges
  • How farmers are innovating in enterprise development
  • Local innovation refers to the process by which people in a given social group develop new and better ways of doing things – using their own resources and on their own initiative, without pressure or direct support from formal research or development agents.
  • The outcome of this process are local innovations, e.g. new farming techniques or new ways of organising work.
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