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Wageningen University (2010)

Effectiveness of technology transfer in mitigating food insecurity amongst resource poor maize farmers : a case study of two agricultural research council‟s projects in Limpopo, South Africa

Ngotho, G.P.T.

Titre : Effectiveness of technology transfer in mitigating food insecurity amongst resource poor maize farmers : a case study of two agricultural research council‟s projects in Limpopo, South Africa

Auteur : Ngotho, G.P.T.

Université de soutenance  : Wageningen University

Grade  : Master of Science (MS) 2010

Résumé
Like in many countries in the Sub Saharan Africa, poverty is one of the major challenges South Africa faces. Agricultural research is looked upon for innovative solutions to alleviate poverty, especially food insecurity. Measures to ensure that technologies developed through research are more appropriate for complex farming conditions of resource poor farmers (RPFs) have been taken by the Agricultural Research Council (ARC). The expected contribution to the socioeconomic improvement of the poor is facilitated through Technology transfer (TT), however felt impact is yet to be made as per the SETI review. The study reported on here, aimed to evaluate ARC‟s TT programme to determine its effectiveness towards improving the food security status of resource poor maize farmers and to identify communication strategies used in TT and how the strategies influence success in meeting the organizational mandate. It was a qualitative study based on a literature review and a case study on two projects of ARC‟s Grain Crops Institute (GCI) which promotes improved seed maize varieties. The projects under the case study were the Community Based Seed Production and LIMPAST. Data collection was through semi-structured interviews (SSIs) focus group discussions (FGD) and key informant interviews with project stakeholders including farmers, government extension officers researchers and management. The study targeted 67 respondents altogether spread across the categories mentioned above. The study established that efforts towards technology transfer in ARC were constrained by internal and external factors. Internally, the organization had put in place policy instruments as well as structural mechanisms to achieve TT. These included the development of a Strategic Framework and establishment of a TT Division. However, the framework is yet to be mainstreamed to facilitate common understanding on what TT entails and use of the office to support TT activities at institute level is sub-optimal. The organization also suffered from human resource limitation with only a handful of researchers doing TT with RPFs. Similarly, funding constrained the potential impact TT could have. Externally, weak linkages between ARC and LDA‟s extension officers hampered efforts since much on the project depends on optimal relations and synergy between the two key players in research and development. It was emphasized that LDA officials carry the day-to-day responsibility of technical support to the farmers with ARC‟s guidance. Additionally, the ill-affordability of production inputs limited utilization of the knowledge and skills farmers gained from the TT efforts accorded by the projects. The projects only marginally affected food security and this was attributed to the production constraints mentioned above. The farmers were nevertheless very enthusiastic about gaining valuable skills and knowledge on crop management, and particularly on seed maize husbandry and this was attributed to the communication strategies used. Technology Transfer should be better mainstreamed in the organization to ensure common understanding about what the organization seeks to achieve. This could be realized through a process (or campaign) to streamline the strategic framework and TT functions across the organization. This would have far reaching potential benefit to the society. This type of institutionalization is important in order to curb food insecurity and other social challenges. Furthermore, there is a need to build capacity of researchers for facilitation of effective TT. A system wide intervention with clear mechanism to allow for transfer is required and should consist of removal of production constraints as a key stumbling block. Efforts should also be made to create more synergistic linkages between ARC and LDA.

Mots clés : agriculture / agricultural research / agricultural extension / farms / technology transfer / communication / maize / south africa

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Page publiée le 15 février 2015, mise à jour le 17 octobre 2018