One of Africa's major untapped resources is the creativity of its farmers. This book presents a series of clear and detailed studies that demonstrate how small-scale farmers, both men and women, experiment and innovate in order to improve their livelihoods, despite the adverse conditions and lack of appropriate external support with which they have to contend. The studies are based on fieldwork in a wide variety of farming systems throughout Africa, and have been written primarily by African researchers and extension specialists. Numerous lively examples show how a participatory approach to agricultural research and development that builds on local knowledge and innovation can stimulate the creativity of all involved - not only the farmers. This approach, which recognizes the farmers' capacity to innovate as the crucial component of success, provides a much-needed alternative to the conventional 'transfer of technology' paradigm. This book is a rich source of case studies and analyses of how agricultural research and development policy can be changed. It presents evidence of the resilience and resolution of rural communities in Africa and will be an inspiration for development workers, researchers and policy-makers, as well as for students and teachers of agriculture, environment and sustainable development.
Table of Contents
Part 1: Introducing the Farmer Innovation Approach and Some Remarkable Innovators - Entering Research and Development in Land Husbandry through Farmer Innovation * The Career and Influence of Barthelemy Kameni Djambou in Cameroon * Ayelech Fikre: an Outstanding Woman Farmer in Amhara Region, Ethiopia * Pits for Trees: How Farmers in Semi-arid Burkina Faso Increase and Diversify Plant Biomass * Part 2: Building Partnerships for Innovation in Land Husbandry - Forging Partnerships Between Farmers, Extension and Research in Tanzania * Joining Forces to Discover and Celebrate Local innovation in Land Husbandry in Tigray, Ethiopia * Part 3: Farmer Innovation: Process, Evidence and Analysis - An Initial Analysis of Farmer Innovators and their Innovations * Why do Farmers Innovate and why don't they Innovate More? Insights from a Study in East Africa * Chain of Innovations by Farmers in Cameroon * Women and Innovation: Experiences from Promoting Farmer Innovation in East Africa * Innovators in Land Husbandry in Arid Areas of Tunisia * Women's Innovations in Rural Livelihood Systems in Arid Areas of Tunisia * Namwaya Sawadogo: the Ecologist of Touroum, Burkina Faso * Outwitters of Water: Outstanding Irob Innovation in Northern Ethiopia * A Challenge and an Opportunity: Innovation by Women Farmers in Tigray * Part 4: Farmers' Evaluation and Extension of Local Innovations - Community Assessment of Local Innovators in Northern Ethiopia * Stimulating Creativity Among East Africa Farmers: from Isolated Individuals to Interactive Groups * Facilitating Farmer-to-farmer Communication about Innovation in Tigray * Innovation and Impact: a Preliminary Assessment in Kabale, Uganda * Part 5: Stimulating and Supporting Joint Experimentation - Participatory Technology Development on Soil Fertility Improvement in Cameroon * Farmer-led Experimentation in the Dryland of Central Tigray * Farmer Innovation and Plant Breeding; the Case of Maize K525 Created by Emmanuek Kamgoue of Bandjous, West Cameroon * Joint Analysis of the Sustainability of a Local SWC Technique in Burkina Faso * Sowing Maize in Pits: Farmer Innovation in Southern Tanzania * Part 6: Raising Awareness, Policy Lobbying and Mainstream - Understanding and Influencing Policy Progress For SWC.* A Bridge Between Local Innovation, Development and Research: the Regional Radio of Gafsa * Mainstream Participatory Approaches to SWC in Zimbabwe * Liberating Local Creativity: Building on the 'Best Farming Practices' Extension Approach from Tigray's Struggle for Liberation * Impact of the Farmer Innovation Approach on the Attitude of Stakeholders in Agriculture Development in Tunisia * An Encouraging Beginning * Index
Chris Reij is a Fellow of the International Cooperation Centre of the Vrje Universiteit Amsterdam and co-editor of Sustaining Soils (Earthscan, 1996). Ann Waters-Bayer is an agricultural sociologist with the development agency ETC Ecoculture Netherlands.