What does an inventory of recent innovation experiences tell us about agricultural innovation in Africa?

B. Triomphe, A. Floquet, G. Kamau, B. Letty, S.D. Vodouche, T. Ng’ang’a, J. Stevens, J. van den Berg, N. Selemna, B. Bridier, T.A. Crane, C.J.M. Almekinders, A. Waters-Bayer, H. Hocdé

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Purpose: Within the context of the European-funded JOLISAA project (JOint Learning in and about Innovation Systems in African Agriculture), an inventory of agricultural innovation experiences was made in Benin, Kenya and South Africa. The objective was to assess multi-stakeholder agricultural innovation processes involving smallholders. Approach: Country-based teams used bibliographic searches, interviews with resource persons and field visits to identify cases. The inventory was developed iteratively according to a common analytical framework and guidelines inspired by the innovation system perspective. Findings and practical implications: The completed inventory includes 57 documented cases, covering a wide diversity of experiences, in terms of types, domains, scales and timelines of innovation. The inventory confirms the diversity of stakeholders involved in innovation, the diversity of innovation triggers and drivers, and the frequent occurrence of market-driven innovation. It also illustrates more original features: the typically long timeframes of innovation processes; the common occurrence of ‘innovation bundles’; and an often tight yet ambivalent relationship between innovation initiatives and externally funded projects. National teams faced several challenges during the inventory process, for example, in gaining a common understanding and making consistent use of key innovation-related concepts, and in accessing relevant information, as some case holders were reluctant to share their experience freely. Originality/value: The JOLISAA inventory contributes to illustrating that African agriculture is responding actively to the many challenges it faces. Documenting and sharing such a palpable dynamism may help to counter some of the pessimism and negative publicity that African agriculture usually attracts and to increase the motivation of many for making innovation happen across Africa
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)311-324
JournalJournal of Agricultural Education and Extension
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2013

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    Triomphe, B., Floquet, A., Kamau, G., Letty, B., Vodouche, S. D., Ng’ang’a, T., Stevens, J., van den Berg, J., Selemna, N., Bridier, B., Crane, T. A., Almekinders, C. J. M., Waters-Bayer, A., & Hocdé, H. (2013). What does an inventory of recent innovation experiences tell us about agricultural innovation in Africa? Journal of Agricultural Education and Extension, 19(3), 311-324. https://doi.org/10.1080/1389224X.2013.782181