This paper presents insights gained from a cross-analysis of 13 agricultural innovation experiences in three African countries (Benin, Kenya and South Africa). The participatory assessment was conducted with a common analytical framework and inspired by the agricultural innovation system (AIS) perspective and focused on understanding how innovation unfolded over time as a result of diverse triggers and drivers under the influence of a diversity of stakeholders. Conducted by teams involving researchers, students and local stakeholders, the assessment involved semi-structured interviews, focus-group discussions and multi-stakeholder workshops. The cases cover a wide diversity of experiences in terms of types and domains, scales, timelines, initiators of innovation and stakeholders involved. Findings show the diversity of stakeholders engaged in innovation, and the nature of the innovation triggers and drivers. They also show the importance of taking into account a longer-term perspective (one or several decades) to truly understand innovation processes. Finally, they show that the influence of external interventions on innovation can be both positive and problematic. In particular, questions arise about the capacity to institutionalize innovation beyond the time frame of projects or the capacity to interact with local innovation dynamics. The paper proposes different avenues for improving approaches to assess and support innovation. This includes revisiting the modalities used to conceive and fund external interventions, and developing the necessary skills and capacities to implement open-ended, flexible approaches over the long-term, building as much as possible on initiatives undertaken by the local stakeholders themselves.
|Translated title of the contribution||Better assessing and supporting agricultural innovation in Africa. Lessons from a cross-analysis of 13 case studies|
|Number of pages||11|
|Publication status||Published - 23 Dec 2016|