Deliverable 2 Report on Stakeholder Engagement Case Study Development and Site Identification

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Water Research Commission
Submitted to:
Dr Gerhard Backeberg
Executive Manager: Water Utilisation in Agriculture
Water Research Commission
Pretoria
Prepared By:
Project team led by Mahlathini Development Foundation.
Project Number: K5/2719/4
Project Title: Collaborative knowledge creation and mediation strategies for the dissemination of
Water and Soil Conservationpractices and Climate Smart Agriculture in smallholder farming
systems.
Deliverable No.2:Report on stakeholder engagement, case study development and site
identification
Date: August 2017
Deliverable
2
2
Submitted to:
Executive Manager: Water Utilisation in Agriculture
Water Research Commission
Pretoria
Project team:
Mahlathini Development Centre
Erna Kruger
Sylvester Selala
Mazwi Dlamini
Khethiwe Mthethwa
Temakholo Mathebula
Bobbie Louton
Institute of Natural Resources NPC
Jon McCosh
Rural Integrated Engineering (Pty) Ltd
Christiaan Stymie
Rhodes University Environmental Learning Research Centre
Lawrence Sisitka
3
CONTENTS
FIGURES 5
TABLES 6
1OVERVIEW OF PROJECT AND DELIVERABLE 7
Contract Summary 7
Project objectives 7
Deliverables7
Overview of Deliverable 2 8
2Social and partcipatory methodologies and processes10
2.1Introduction 10
2.2Principles for social engagement 10
2.3Brief review of relevant participatory methodologies 11
2.4Communities of practices (CoPs) 12
2.5Participatory research and intervention methodologies 18
Participatory Action Research (PAR)19
Participatory Rural Appraisal (PRA) and Participatory Learning and Action (PLA22
Participatory Innovation Development28
2.6Reflective practice 30
2.7CSA frameworks, methodologies and processes 32
Frameworks which define criteria for assessing effect/impact of CSA interventions35
Decision Support Systems 41
Considerations for selecting sites and participants48
3technical methodologies 52
3.1Draft method for evaluating the effect of CSA practices on soil, water and yield 52
3.2Visual soil assessment indicators 52
3.4Field research and laboratory measurements / indicators 55
3.5Linking the parameters 56
3.6Way forward 58
4Case studies 59
4.1Climate Change Adaptation, Limpopo 59
Description of the programme59
Problem 59
Rationale 60
Implementation of practices 61
Methodology 65
Outcomes and learnings 67
Future planning71
Suitability of this community as an implementation site for the CSA project71
4.2‘Amanzi for Food’72
Outline of the project72
Pactices 73
Learnings, /outcomes/ results74
Summary of potential issues to include; including the potential contribution to a decision support
process 77
Analysis of a potential implementation site77
4.3Rainwater harvesting and conservation (RWH&C) in Muden and Ntshiqo Case study
(Implemented by Institute of Natural Resources) 78
Learnings, /outcomes/ results80
Summary of potential issues to include; including the potential contribution to a decision support
process 81
4
4.4No-till and agroforestry practices at Ixopo, Highflats case study (implemented by Institute
of Natural Resources) 81
Learnings/outcomes/results 82
Summary of potential issues to include; including the potential contribution to a decision support
process 82
Analysis of a potential implementation site82
4.5Conservation Agriculture in Bergville: A Case Study 83
Design of farmer level experiments84
Expansion or out scaling of the farmer innovation process85
Farmer centres87
Research in the farmer innovation process 88
Potential of the CA programme as an implementation site for this research process90
5Methodology of this project 92
5.1Stakeholder engagement and site selection; social considerations 92
Site selection and community level engagement92
5.2CSA framework and processes 94
5.3Reflective processes 95
5.4Social and technical considerations for site selection 96
Proposed Farmer level experiments with CSA practices98
Potential sites for CoPs101
6References 104
5
FIGURES
Figure 1: The relationships and interplay between research, theory and practice ..............................13
Figure 2: The interplay between researchers, facilitators and farmers, indicating associated
methodologies ......................................................................................................................................28
Figure 3: Reflective Practice (Tripp, 2005) ............................................................................................31
Figure 4: Action Research (Tripp 2005) ................................................................................................. 31
Figure 5: Results based framework (FAO,2013) ...................................................................................40
Figure 6: Conceptual model for DSS development (Nay et al 2014) ....................................................43
Figure 7: The 5 dimensions of vulnerability (CGIAR/CCAFS, 2015) .......................................................45
Figure 8:Decision making process (adapted from Heineman, 1988) ....................................................47
Figure 9: Map showing the location of the project site villages along the lower Olifants River ..........61
Figure 10 Ranges of household income and streams of income reported by participants. .................62
Figure 11 Number of participants with one or more type of produce for different types of farming
enterprises ............................................................................................................................................62
Figure 12: Percentage of participants who reported growing different vegetables ............................63
Figure 13: Percentage of participants who reported growing different fruit and field crops ..............63
Figure 14: Percentage of participants who reported growing different herbs or multifunctional plants
or raising livestock ................................................................................................................................63
Figure 15: Soil fertility practices reported by participants ...................................................................64
Figure 16:Local good practice in farming activities ..............................................................................65
Figure 17: Left: A group of participants from the Oaks and Lepelle construct a tunnel together. Right:
A working tunnel in Sedawa, where the drip kits havealso been installed and crops are planted in
trench beds. Mulching is in evidence. ..................................................................................................67
Figure 18: Introduction of facilitators (left) and discussion of practices (right) at implementation review
..............................................................................................................................................................67
Figure 19: Demonstration stations at the implementation review workshops. Left: Tunnel and drip kit.
Centre A well mulched trench bed with mixed cropping (okra, brinjal, onion and swiss chard) and close
spacing. Right: A diversion ditch mulched with the ridge planted to sweet potatoes .........................69
Figure 20: Implementation of new innovations by a selection of participants in the learning groups
(n=34) ....................................................................................................................................................70
Figure 21: PAR methods used during the rainwater harvesting study .................................................78
Figure 22: Shows the RWH&C treatment on the left and a control on the right ................................. 79
Figure 23: Stone contour bunds in Muden...........................................................................................80
Figure 24: Sediment deposition behind stone contour bunds .............................................................80
Figure 25: An example of a variation on the basic maize and legume intercroppingdesign on Mrs
Smephi Hltashwayo’s pot in Eqeleni. She has planted a local variety of runner beans in between
tramlines of maize (2016) .....................................................................................................................84
Figure 26:An example of a summer cover crop (sunflower, millet and sunn hemp) experimental plot
planted by Phumelele Hlongwane in Ezibomvini..................................................................................84
Figure 27: Phumelele Hlongwane's soil health test results for different cropping practices within the
CA system for the 2015-2016 cropping season. Yields of maize are indicated in the square text boxes
for each practice...................................................................................................................................89
Figure 28:Schematic diagram for DICLAD modules, (AWARD, 2017) ...................................................94
Figure 29: Social learning attained in CoPs ...........................................................................................95
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TABLES
Table 1: Evolution of approaches to stakeholder participation (Reed cited in Strenger et al, 2009) ..19
Table 2: tools used in Action Research (Loewenson et al, 2014) .........................................................21
Table 3:Example; timelineof seasonal characteristics, challenges and farmers' wishes for climate
change adaptation ................................................................................................................................25
Table 4: An Example of matrix 4; Identifying response options to vulnerabilities (RECOFTC , 2016) ..34
Table 5: Assessmnet, monitoring and evaluation from a project cylce management perspective (FAO,
2013) .....................................................................................................................................................36
Table 6: Conceptual frameworks, methodologies and methods for vulnerability assessments (Pearson
and Langridge ,2008) ............................................................................................................................38
Table 7: examples of planning and M&E frameworks used development initiatives (FAO,2013) .......39
Table 8: A comparison of soil indicators across different VSA methodologies ....................................53
Table 9: Description of the relevance of each indicator and how management affects the indicator 53
Table 10: Keyproduction parameters to be measured through instrumentation and laboratory analysis
..............................................................................................................................................................56
Table 11: Matrix of linkages between VSA and measured parameters ................................................57
Table 12: Summary of monitoring assessments for CSA and good practice implementation by learning
group members.....................................................................................................................................68
Table 13: Summary of farmer involvement in farmer level experimentation in Bergville, KZN; 2013-
2017 ......................................................................................................................................................85
Table 14: Yield averages in Bergville, 2016-2107 for the CA control and trial plots ............................90
15: Social practices which can support CoPs ........................................................................................96
Table 16:Criteria for site selection ........................................................................................................97
Table 17:Proposed quantitative measurements across sites .............................................................100
Table 18: A proposed budget for equipment to conduct quantitative measurements proposed .....101
Table 19: Practices and organisations involved ..................................................................................101
Table 20: CoPs to be established in year 1 of the research process and their thematic focus areas103
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Reportonstakeholderengagement,case
studydevelopmentand siteidentification
1OVERVIEW OF PROJECT AND DELIVERABLE
Contract Summary
Project objectives
1.To evaluate and identify best practice options for CSA and Soil and Water Conservation
(SWC) in smallholder farming systems, in two bioclimatic regions in South Africa. (Output 1)
2.To amplify collaborative knowledge creation of CSA practices with smallholder farmers in
South Africa (Output 2)
3.To test and adapt existing CSA decision support systems (DSS) for the South African smallholder
context (Outputs 2,3)
4.To evaluate the impact of CSA interventions identifiedthrough the DSS by piloting interventions
in smallholder farmer systems, considering water productivity, social acceptability and farm-scale
resilience (Outputs 3,4)
5.Visual and proxy indicators appropriate for a Paymentfor Ecosystems based model aretested at
community level for local assessment of progress and tested against field and laboratory analysis
of soil physical and chemical properties, and water productivity (Output 5)
Deliverables
No
Deliverable
Description
Target date
1
Report: Desktop review of
CSA and WSC
Desktop review of current science, indigenous and traditional
knowledge, and best practice in relation to CSA and WSC in the
South African context
1 June 2017
2
Report on stakeholder
engagement and case
study development and
site identification
Identifying and engaging with projects and stakeholders
implementing CSA and WSC processes and capturing case studies
applicable to prioritized bioclimatic regions
Identification of pilot research sites
1 September
2017
3
Decision support system
for CSA in smallholder
farming developed (Report
Decision support system for prioritization of best bet CSA options in
a particular locality; initial database and models. Review existing
models, in conjunction with stakeholder discussions for initial
criteria
15 January
2018
4
CoPs and demonstration
sites established (report)
Establish communities of practice (CoP)s including stakeholders and
smallholder farmers in each bioclimatic region.5. With each CoP,
identify and select demonstration sites in each bioclimatic region
and pilot chosen collaborative strategies for introduction of a range
of CSA and WSC strategies in homestead farming systems (gardens
and fields)
1 May 2018
5
Interim report: Refined
decision support system
for CSA in smallholder
farming (report)
Refinement of criteria and practices, introduction of new ideas and
innovations, updating of decision support system
1 October
2018
6
Interim report: Results of
pilots, season 1
Pilot chosen collaborative strategies for introduction of a range of
CSA and WSC strategies , working with the CoPs in each site and the
decisions support system. Create knowledge mediation productions,
31 January
2019
8
manuals, handouts and other resources necessary for learning and
implementation.
7
Report: Appropriate
quantitative measurement
procedures for verification
of the visual indicators.
Set up farmer and researcher level experimentation
1 May 2019
8
Interim report:
Development of indicators,
proxies and benchmarks
and knowledge mediation
processes
Document and record appropriate visual indicators and proxies for
community level assessment, work with CoPs to implement and
refine indicators. Link proxies and benchmarks to quantitative
research to verify and formalise. Explore potential incentive
schemes and financing mechanisms.
Analysis of contemporary approaches to collaborative knowledge
creation within the agricultural sector. Conduct survey of present
knowledge mediation processes in community and smallholder
settings. Develop appropriate knowledge mediation processes for
each CoP. Develop CoP decision support systems
1 August
2019
9
Interim report: results of
pilots, season 2
Pilot chosen collaborative strategies for introduction of a range of
CSA and WSC strategies, working with the CoPs in each site and the
decisions support system. Create knowledge mediation productions,
manuals, handouts and other resources necessary for learning and
implementation.
31 January
2020
10
Final report: Results of
pilots, season
Pilot chosen collaborative strategies for introduction of a range of
CSA and WSC strategies , working with the CoPs in each site and the
decisions support system. Create knowledge mediation productions,
manuals, handouts and other resources necessary for learning and
implementation.
1 May 2020
11
Final Report: Consolidation
and finalisation of decision
support system
Finalisation of criteria and practices, introduction of new ideas and
innovations, updating of decision support system
3 July 2020
12
Final report - Summarise
and disseminate
recommendations for best
practice options.
Summarise and disseminate recommendations for best practice
options for knowledge mediation and CSA and SWC techniques for
prioritized bioclimatic regions
7 August
2020
Overview of Deliverable 2
The desktop review process for this brief has been divided into three distinct sections:
1.A review of Climate Smart Agriculture (CSA)practices potentially relevant to this brief
including agroecology, soil and water conservation(SWC), conservation agriculture (CA) and
landscape management approaches.Included here are the policies,strategies and present
best practice internationally, regionally and nationally. These aspects were covered in
Deliverable 1.
2.A review of participatory, livelihoods and socio-ecological approaches relevant to this brief,
including an overview of present methodological and participatory frameworks being used in
vulnerability assessments and climate change adaptation. These aspects are to be covered in
Deliverable 2 along with stakeholder engagement, case study development and site
identification; thus, the present document
3.A review of decision support systems that have been developed to date for CSA assessingtheir
viability and potential for adaptationin our context. These aspects are to be explored, along
with the initial development of the broad outlines of a decision support system (DSS) to be
used in this brief. These aspects will be reported under Deliverable 3.
The reason for this is twofold; the first being the sheer volume and complexity of published material
on these topics and the second is to accommodate for the team writing process being employed. All
team members, including the students and field staff are involved in writing sections of these reports.
The students are mentored by other members of the research team and joint writing sessions and
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review processes have been set up. This is an inherent part of the capacity development process for
this research brief. It is also the reason why inthis deliverable the author/s of each section will be
noted.
The layout of the report follows the logic of introducingprocesses and methodologies as a desktop
review and then applying this information into the context of our research brief.
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2SOCIAL AND PARTCIPATORY METHODOLOGIES AND PROCESSES
Introduction
By Bobbie Louton
This document builds on the Desktop review of Climate Smart Agriculture and Water and Soil
Conservation (Deliverable 1 for this project) and lays the foundation for the social and technical
methodologies that will be used in this project. In chapters 2 and 3, existing social and technical
methodologies described in the literature are explored for their usefulness to this study. Chapter 4
will look at the selection of sites and participants for the study, with detailed exploration of four
prospective sites in the form of case studies. In Chapter 5, the learnings gleaned from the
methodologies and examples presented in the previous chapters are applied to develop the
methodology that will be used in this study. Based on this methodology, the team will prepare for
implementing the project in the selected communities
Principles for social engagement
By Bobbie Louton
Key principles of engagement can be summarised as follows:
COLLABORATION: Researchers and community members co-create the intervention
Assessment of need, design of intervention, and evaluation are done together, with community inputs
carrying weight. Collective self-determination should be the basis for needs assessment. This requires
flexibility as the intervention may take new directions not initially envisioned by researchers.
INCLUSION: Everyone who has a stake in the intervention has a right to participate in processes and
decisions
Efforts will be made to ensure no one who has stake is excluded from participation or decision making
on the basis of any demographic or socio-political factor. Work for diversity. The research team will
not default to working with visible or influential players. The vulnerable, marginalised, least vocal will
be actively included. Be aware of how power is recognised, structured and shared in a community.
SAFETY: The process and intervention is conducted in a way that is safe for all participants
This includes the spaces chosen for meetings, the design of processes and interactions (eg. how small
groups are set up), the design of learning tasks (begin with simple, clear tasks). Allow small groups to
find their voices. Establishing competence and experience contributes to safety. Make space for
informal interactions where views or needs can be expressed in safety.
RESPECT AND BUILD ON LOCAL AND TRADITIONAL KNOWLEDGE
People are experts in their own context and what they know is the foundational for new engagement.
The research team must become thoroughly acquainted with the community: culture, social networks,
economic conditions, demographics, history with other interventions and respond to the realities
and dynamics that exist.
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MUTUALITY AND EQUALITY IN LEARNING: Everyone already has knowledge and experience,
everyone will learn
Prior knowledge of everyone is taken into account; life experience is used as the basis for relating to
new knowledge, attitudes or skills. Researchers and participants are equals; all are learners. Peers
challenge and mentor each other. Aim for both individual and collective learning and growth.
PRAXIS: Learning is structured through active doing and reflecting
Learners consider new content (skills, knowledge, attitudes) and re-create them to fit their context,
then try it and reflect on how it works. Learning happens with the mind, emotions and muscles. Passive
learning teaches passivity. The process, not only the outcomes, are important.
BUILD A CULTURE OF OPEN DIALOGUE
Encourage expression of different opinions and value minority views and individual insights. Talk
transparently about power dynamics.
FLEXIBILITY
The research, programmes, projects and interventions must serve the wellbeing of the community
and the environment; not the other way around. They should be structured with reflective processes
that allow them to be reshaped as needed as a clearer perspective unfolds.
TRANSPARENCY AND ACCOUNTABILITY
Work for a culture where researchers and communitymembers operate with transparency and are
accountable for their roles and actions. Work for a culture of accountability to oneself for realising
one’s aims in the process.
BUILD FOR THE LONG TERM
Build into the interventionmechanisms to sustain collaborations over the long term and work to
mobilise community assets to this end; as collaborations mature and grow, their ability to address
complex and long-range issues also grows.
Brief review of relevant participatory methodologies
By Erna Kruger, Bobbie Louton
This section focuses on summarisingparticipatory methodologies in assessment, analysis and action
that support the community of Practice (CoP) in contextualisation, understandingand learning and
involves the broader community in a meaningful way.
The international development communityis giving increased attention to agricultural innovation
processes and systems that lead to outcomes at scale. Inclusive multi-dimensional and multi-
stakeholder learning processes are seen as important. Smallholder family farmers become more
central in the design and implementation of research processes as partners in planning and
implementation processes (Kruger & Gilles, 2014).
Key trends or changes in Participatory Agricultural development thinking are moving from:
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Increases in production to improvement in local livelihoods
Technology transfer to local innovation development
Beneficiaries of projects to influential stakeholders within programmes
Technology transfer to co-development of innovation systems
Functional participation to empowerment and
Applied and adaptive research to strategic and pre-adaptive research.
Global experience shows that new ways of thinking about and doing agricultural research and
development are required. The basic paradigm shift is one of moving away from the idea that research
and development is a process of generatingand transferring modern technology to ‘farmers’. And
then moving towards seeing the idea as an inclusive multi dimensional learning process that:
Works from a holistic perspective that includes biophysical, socio-political and economic
perspectives in agriculture AND natural resource management;
Draws upon diverse source of knowledge from local to global
Provides for meaningful participation of user groups in the process of investigating
improvements in local situation;
And builds synergy between local capacities, resources and innovations by
oProviding decision support tools and information that enables various types of
users to make strategic choices and actions and
Which results in a wide range of knowledge products (technologicalthrough to socio-
political) for generating, sharing, exchanging and utilizing knowledge.
Now, concepts such as strategic and pre-adaptive participatory research become important as does
the idea of best practise scenarios and options and the mainstreaming of cross cutting issues and
themes. In many ways, these concepts are still in a developmental phase and are not as yet integral
in existing institutional and research cultures.
The development of methodological frameworks and processes to encompass the above themes and
goals has followed two broad tracks/lines depending to an extent, on the type of institution at work
and their overall aims: researcher and innovation; namely Participatory Action research (PAR) and
Participatory Innovation Development (PID. (Brock & Pettit, 2007). These processes are discussed in
more detail in the sections below.
Communities of practices (CoPs)
By Temakholo Mathebula, Erna Kruger
Communities of Practice (CoPs) are a progressive theory of knowledge management, knowledge
creation and learning. It is a type of contextualised learning within the theory of Situated Learning
as proposed by Jean Lave and Etienne Wenger (Lave & Wenger, 1991). Situated Learning proposes
that the learning process of an individual is much more than the cognitive process of acquisition of
skills and knowledge but situated in a social context, and it is through participation in the social
context that the learning process occurs.
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CoPs are both a theory of learning and a part of the field of knowledge management. It thus
depends on a group of people, contextually defined, who share a common interest and a desire to
learn from and contribute to the community with their variety of experiences. Stated more simply,
the primary purpose of a CoP is to provide a way for practitioners to share tips and best practices,
ask questions of their colleagues, and provide support for each other.
Research, theory and practices are interrelated design aspects in a programme. This integration is
supported through CoPs.
There is a need for collaboration. Work on large, complex projects goes beyond the knowledge of
one person to require the knowledge and skills of people from different disciplines. They need to
coordinate their activities and synthesize their knowledge. Cross-disciplinary team participation
requires an ability to negotiate team process and participate in decision-making (Helmer
Poggenpohl, 2015).
For example, both research and practice can develop theory, theory needs to be proven through
practice, practice can flag needs for research, research can overthrow theory, and research can
improve the performance of practice. Research, theory, and practice are not isolated activities, but
are tightly interrelated.
Figure 1: The relationships and interplay between research, theory and practice
©S Poggenpohl,2015
It approaches knowledge in terms of an organism that adapts and interacts with its environment; uses ideas as
instruments or plans of action; and retains ideas that practically work, discarding those that do not. It moves
from primary experience through refined reflection to explanation; moving from the tacit to the explicit.
Communities of practice are important because they:
Connect people who might not otherwise have the opportunity to interact, either as frequently or at
all.
Provide a shared context for people to communicate and share information, stories, and personal
experiences in a way that builds understanding and insight.
Enable dialogue between people who come together to explore new possibilities, solve challenging
problems, and create new, mutually beneficial opportunities.
Stimulate learning by serving as a vehicle for authentic communication, mentoring, coaching, and self-
reflection.
Capture and diffuse existing knowledge to help people improve their practice by providing a forum to
identify solutions to common problems and a process to collect and evaluate best practices.
Introduce collaborative processes to groups and organizations as well as between organizations to
encourage the free flow of ideas and exchange of information.
Help people organize around purposeful actions that deliver tangible results.
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Generate new knowledge to help people transform their practice to accommodate changes in needs
and technologies.
To design or set up a CoP the following steps of processes are important. Successful and sustainable
communities have focused, well-defined purposes that are
directly tied to the sponsoring organization’s mission.
Purposes should be defined in terms of the benefits to the
community’s stakeholders and the specific needs that the
community will be organized to meet.
Purposes can be categorized into the following four areas of
activity; developing relationships, learn and develop
practice, carry out tasks and projects, create new knowledge
1.Developing relationships: Interaction with and
developing of a wider network of peers working
with a process of building trust, reciprocity, mutual respect and commitment.
2.Developing practice: Practice evolves with the community as a collective product, becomes
integrated into members’ work, and organizes knowledge in a way that reflects
practitioners’ perspectives. Successful practice development depends on a balance between
“the production of ‘things’ like documents or tools and deep learning experiences for
community members.
3.Carrying out tasks and projects: Small group projects, sponsored by the community, help
members create personal relationships and also provide a way to produce the resources for
developing the practice: cases, effective practices, tools, methods, articles, lessons learned,
databases, heuristics, models, Web sites.
4.Creating new knowledge: Members go beyond current practice to explore the cutting edge
of the domain, to innovate. Community may redefine its boundaries and membership and
foster boundary-crossing, possibly working with people from other communities to explore
emerging technologies, practices, and ideas.
Actions for the CoP are based on the premises of inquiry, design, activities, communication,
interaction ,learning, knowledge sharing, collaboration, roles and social structures and piloting and
roll out of the processes, as set out below.
1.Inquire: Identify the audience, purpose, goals, and vision for the community. Who is the
community for? What are the key issues and the nature of the learning, knowledge, and
tasks? What is this community’s primary purpose? What are the benefits to the
stakeholders? What specific needs will the community be organized to meet?
2.Design: Define the activities, technologies, group processes, and roles that will support the
community’s goals.
3.Activities: What kinds of activities will generate energy and support the emergence of
community presence? What will the community’s rhythm be?
4.Communication: How will members communicate on an ongoing basis to accomplish the
community’s primary purpose?
Essential elements of a CoP:
-Share experiences and know-how
-Discuss common issues and interests
-Collaborate in solving problems - Analyse
causes and contributing factors
-Experiment with new ideas and novel
approaches
-Capture/codify new know-how
- Evaluate actions and effects
- Learning
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5. Interaction: What kinds of interactions (with each other and with the content of the
community) will generate energy and engagement?
6.Learning: What are the learning goals of the community, and how can collaborative learning
be supported?
7.Knowledge Sharing: What are the external resources (people, publications, reports, etc.)
that will support the community during its initial development? How will members share
these resources and gain access to them?
8.Collaboration: How will community members collaborate with each other to achieve shared
goals?
9.Roles and Social Structures: How will community roles be defined (individuals, groups, group
leaders, community administrators, etc.) and who will take them on?
10.Prototype: Pilot the community with a select group of key stakeholders to gain commitment,
test assumptions, refine the strategy, and establish a success stories
11.Launch: Roll out the community to a broader audience over a period of time in ways that
engage new members and deliver immediate benefits.
12.Grow: Engage members in collaborative learning and knowledge sharing activities, group
projects, and networking events that meet individual, group, and organizational goals while
creating an increasing cycle of participation and contribution.
13.Sustain: Cultivate and assess the learning, knowledge, and products created by the
community to inform new strategies, goals, activities, roles, technologies, and business
models for the future (National Learning Infrastructure Initiative, 2002)
Nurturing CoPs
A CoP is not immune to constraints and unforeseen circumstances that may hinder or prolong the
production of practice. These factors are often external and beyond the control of the participants.
In the context of agricultural production, these may include unpredictable weather patterns and lack
of access to resources and information, amongst other challenges. There may also be subconscious
forces that may undermine the best intentions, i.e. a CoP can become dysfunctional and
counterproductive even if practitioners follow the recommended procedures. In reality, the
development of a practice reflects the meaning arrived at by those engaged in it. Therefore, no
matter how much external effort is made to shape or dictate practice, if it does not make meaningful
sense to those engaged in it, it may not materialise. A practice cannot be controlled by external
forces, institutions or research, as it is not merely an implementation output but it is a response to it
based on active negotiation of meaning (Oreszczyn, Lane, & Carr, 2010)
Cross-disciplinary team participation requires an ability to negotiate team process and participate in
decision-making (Helmer Poggenpohl, 2015). Power dynamics are a challenge to nurturing a CoP,
particularly when the CoP is facilitated (Cundill et al, 2009). The learning environment can often
mask power dynamics that may exists between experts and non-experts in a transdisciplinary setting
(ibid). In the case of this study, this would relate particularly to the power which the research team
will have within the CoP to prioritize its needs and agendas over those of other members. Power
dynamics can prevent some actors from playing an active role as well as banish others to the side-
lines with no prospect of joining the core group. It is thus important to create an environment that
enables movement in and out of the core group over time (Cundill et al, 2009). Wenger notes that
successful CoPs create opportunities for those in the periphery and build “benches” for those on the
16
side lines (cited in Cundill et al, 2009). Building benches for outsiders means opening opportunities
for participants in the periphery to observe the activities of the core group. The CoP should enable
movement back and forth between the periphery and the core, with some members taking more
active roles at certain times or on certain topics (Cundill et al, 2009).
The establishment of a CoP could also create a platform where previously disempowered members
of the community are empowered through the group to address issues they have not been able to
individually. This could result in challenges to local authority structures, with possibilities for conflict
and also for resolution of previously unresolved issues. One issue where members of the CoPs in this
project may find they have common cause is described by one of the authors of this report as
follows:
Normally in late October, when the planting period starts, all farmers keeping livestock in
the community are required to take their livestock to the mountains where the communal
grazing is, and shepherd their livestock there. Farmers who cannot shepherd their livestock
on their own due to other commitments are required to hire a shepherd to take care of their
livestock (the fee may be based on the number of animals, or a straight fee such as
R200/mo). People who wanted to plant at that time are waiting for those who have livestock
to remove their livestock, so that their seedlings will be safe. Farmers who keep livestock
wait for people who are planning to start planting so that they can start collecting their
livestock. This causes tension between livestock and crop farmers because they are both
waiting for each other.
In late May to early June, farmers with crops await instructions to start harvesting from the
community traditional leadership (isiqongo). No one is allowed to harvest until they are
instructed to do so. Once the fields are harvested, livestock are allowed to return and graze
locally in the community and household fields. Some farmers finish harvesting earlier than
others and allow their livestock to return to the community and their livestock eat the crops
of farmers who have not yet finished harvesting.
A farmer who has had their crops eaten by another farmer’s livestock is supposed to report
that farmer to the local leader so that they can pay fine. But normally farmers say it is not
easy to report cases since they are trying to maintain a good relationship with their
neighbours, and they are afraid that they might be killed by the owners of the livestock
which ate the crops in the fields. Sometimes it happens that crops are eaten by livestock of
the farmer who is also a member of a learning group, which also has an impact on the
learning group’s dynamics.
The only real way to be protected against this problem is for a farmer to fence their fields.
Not all farmers can afford to buy fencing, so this creates an inequality between the farmers.
CoP and Learning Networks:
Community learning networks are connections formed and maintained by local people with the aim
to share information and support each other’s learning. They are generally called learning groups or
social support groups. These networks are important in bringing together local people, development
practitioners, researchers and other role players to access and share resources and information that
can encourage communities to take up improved practices. Most importantly, community learning
networks are an effective way for local people to share experiences and assist each other in
17
understanding and implementing new practices (Steeples & Jones, 2002). Community learning
networks have similar features to CoPs, but may include wider platforms of learning and sharing
such as community engagement forums, information days and farmer to farmer learning through
cross visits. These networks are connected through shared practice and are capable of sharing
knowledge and identity. In the context of climate smart agriculture practices, these platforms
provide farmers the opportunity to share their experiences on the practices implemented to
mitigate the effects of climate change.
CoP and Farmer Field Schools:
Farmer Field Schools (FFS) are hands-on practical learning schools based on adult education
principles and experiential learning. FFS provide a platform for farmers to convene, make field
observations, relate those observations to the ecosystems and apply previous and new information
to make informed decisions. FFS is implemented through groups with a common interest to
investigate a certain topic. Topics can include IPM, organic agriculture, crop production and animal
husbandry amongst others. In FFS, what is meaningful is decided by the farmers through exploration
and discovery, learning is a result of experience, learning is an evolutionary process and each person
has a unique experience of reality. Group managed trials are at the heart of FFS as the learning space
is in the field where the trial is conducted (Duveskog, 2013).
CoP and Participatory Innovation Development (PID):
Local innovation is the process by which people find new and improved ways of doing things and
take initiative to try out these new practices using their own resources. They may be doing this as a
way of exploring new possibilities and discovering alternatives to coping with changes in their
natural resource base, asset availability or other socio-economic contexts which may be a result of
changes in policy, natural disasters or other external factors. Through these processes of exploring,
experimenting and adopting new practices, people come up with local innovations that were
developed and are understood by them. Local innovation can take place at an individual level,
through groups or may include the community at large (PROLINNOVA, 2009). The emphasis is on
people being actively involved in discovering and exploring new ways of doing things. Participatory
Innovation Development which can also be referred to as farmer led joint research is a process
whereby local people work together with researchers and development practitioners to investigate
possible ways to improve their livelihoods. Research in this context entails going beyond on field
trials but also looking at the value chain, community relationships and ways to manage communal
resources. With the current global issue of climate change, PID is of significant importance in helping
farmers explore ways of adapting and improve the resilience of their farming systems through
improved climate smart practices such as those encompassed in conservation agriculture
(Wettasinha, Wongtschowski, & Waters-Bayer, 2009).
CoP and Community Savings Groups:
Community savings groups have been around for a long time and are prevalent in villages is in Africa,
Asia and Latin America where banking services are absent. Savings are also called rotating savings
and credit association (ROSCAs’), savings and credit groups (SCG’s), village savings and loans
associations (VSLAs)and “merry go round” and they all have similar objectives. Community managed
savings and credit groups are a convenient way to save money, gain access to small loans, obtain
emergency insurance and ultimately gain a means of livelihood in order to build economic
18
empowerment. Savings groups are self-managed and respond directly to unmet financial services of
the rural poor residing in remote areas (Seifert, 2016). In South Africa, savings groups have gained
popularity in over the years, due to their convenience, financial security and ease of access. Financial
exclusion from the mainstream economy has led to the development of community based solutions
for the black population through savings groups where women make up the bulk of the members
(Mathebula, 2014). Community savings groups provide a platform for farmers to learn skills on
financial management, create networks for future business opportunities and improve/expand their
existing enterprises. In this way, they can form an essential component of a community learning
network.
Community of Practice in Stakeholder Engagement:
Communities of practice can play a significant role in linking practitioners, knowledge producers and
policy processes to analyse, address and explore solutions to problems. There are three ways in
which CoPs can link knowledge, policy and practice:
Firstly, they can encourage collaboration between researchers, and practitioners.
Researchers can capitalise on knowledge by practitioners to ensure that the problems they
are working on are relevant. CoPs create an environment for reflection, interpretation and
feedback.
Secondly, CoPs can be useful in creating an environment where researchers can work
together to influence policy.
Lastly, CoPs can play a role in involving policy makers in knowledge generation, seeing that
the domains of research and policy are interlinked by complex social networks.
Other ways in which CoPs can be useful to development practitioners, policy makers and researchers
are when emphasis is placed on fostering learning, rather than trying to control CoP’s. Organisations
can focus on facilitation not technology, understand members’ needs and capacities, recognise the
two faces of communities as some communities can reject new ideas and practices and finally they
need to be sensitive to the different stages of CoP development (Hearn & White, 2009)
The real challenge of communities of practice is to develop the community and the practice
simultaneously. Community development refers to the development of skills of the people involved
in coordination, facilitation and knowledge management of the community. Development of the
practice entails that resources, information and knowledge are captured and enhanced over time. A
community of practice has flexible boundaries, meaning that membership involves whoever is
interested in the practice, members participate in different ways and to varying degrees (Wenger,
1998).
Participatory research and intervention methodologies
As discussed at the beginning of this chapter, the paradigm used for community-based research and
interventions has moved increasingly towards a prioritising of participation of programme
beneficiaries or research subjects, with stakeholders playing a more central and powerful role.
Strenger et al (2009) note that participation has been motivated by both normative arguments
(equity, democracy, citizenship) and pragmatic arguments (better and more sustainable decisions
are made with stakeholder engagement). The table below illustrates how this shift, since the 1960s
19
has incorporated new ideas as participation has been used in different ways, with criticism of and
disillusionment with participation eventually arising and incorporating lessons that have been learnt.
Table 1: Evolution of approaches to stakeholder participation (Reed cited in Strenger et al, 2009)
Decade
Phase
Late 1960s
Awareness raising (the anti-modernisation critique of the transfer of technology paradigm
1970s
Incorporation of local perspectives into data collection and planning
1980s
Development of techniques that recognised local knowledge and ‘put the last first’ such as farming
systems research and rapid and participatory rural appraisal
1990s
Increasing normative use of participation in the post-Rio sustainable development agenda
2000s
Subsequent critiques of participation and disillusionment over its limitations and failings: an emerging
‘post-participation’ consensus on beast practice, learning form the mistakes and successes of the past.
The challenges that have been identified in using participatory approaches include the following
(Stringer et al, 2009):
They do not take place in a power vacuum: when previously marginalised groups are
empowered, conflict may arise with existing power structures which has not been
anticipated or planned for and may not be managed successfully
Insistence on consensus can discourage minority perspectives from being expressed,
creating - ‘dysfunctional consensus’
The perception of co-ownership in the project may raise participants’ expectations; if the
project team does not fulfil this suspicion, cynicism and distrust may take root
Participants may lack the technical knowledge to participate at some levels, if required to
make decisions or engage in debates they could feel forced into areas where they aren’t
competent
These challenges should be taken into consideration in the planning and implementation of this
project to optimise the possibility for meaningful participation.
Stringer et al, (2009) notes that a continuum of typologies have been developed to understand the
differences between different participatory methodologies which provide a basis for selecting
methods and levels of stakeholder engagement appropriate for the intervention. They provide an
extensive list of sources for these typologies, which could be useful should the project team need to
grapple further with how to design different aspects of the intervention in ways that optimise the
participation of stakeholders given the objectives and their capacities.
This section reviews participatory methodologies for assessment, planning and action that can be
used by both research teams and CoPs. Building on these methodologies, international agencies
such as USAID, World Vision, Care International, Red Cross, Practical Action and Oxfam have
developed participatory processes for risk and vulnerability assessments, community based analysis
of these risks and participatory action planning which could be of use in this project.
Participatory Action Research (PAR)
Action research is exactly what the word implies; it combines action and research by learning and
thus coming up with new information and improving a particular practice (Brydon-Miller,
20
Greenwood, & Maguire, 2003). It is a continuous process where learning is done through
researching certain things so that action is made more efficient and this is done at the same time. As
described by Fisher, action research is “A process in which a group of people with a shared issue of
concern collaboratively, systematically and deliberately plan, implement and evaluate actions.
Action research combines action and investigation. The investigation informs action and the
researchers learn from critical reflection on the action.” (Fisher, 2006)
Discovery learning and empowerment are the two outcomes desired. Research is done at farm level
and farmers have control over the actual research process and this is crucial for community
development. This process is iterative and works effectively when done in a group as it is also
participatory where everyone’s opinion is taken into consideration. In the context of research with
smallholder farmers, this takes the form of a cyclical process where farmers plan, act on the plan,
evaluate action and make necessary adjustments and replan and the process starts all over again.
With specific reference to agriculture, traditional forms of research have favoured the approach of
researchers identifying solutions to problems and these are than “transferred” to the farmer to try
out. Research the process of generating new knowledge and understanding is done ‘on’, but not
‘with’, farmers (Lowenson, Laurell, C, & Shroff, 2014). However, adoption levels of technologies
transferred have been rather dismal; often due to lack of consideration for contextual differences.
While the potential benefits of researched technologies should not be overlooked, continuous
testing and evaluation of technologies with the farmers is needed to ensure it meets their own
needs.
There are important things to consider when employing action research. This form of research is
often time consuming. Action research takes time where farmers try out actions, observe and
improve continuously. The tested solutions may not be as responsive as desired and this translates
to more time trying out other possibilities. Action research is collaborative; it involves stakeholders
and implies a culture of sharing, giving and taking where everyone’s say matters and should be
considered. The change which results might even challenge local practice and the knowledge people
have believed for years. Consideration is important in this regard: how people do things needs to be
reflected upon continuously and in context. Action research generally aims to find out information
and answer question to problems, empower community people and strengthen mutual respect and
participation in the process, close the existing chasm between knowledge and practices as well as
validate information collected and disseminated (Loewenson et al, 2014).
Researchers understand that people know their situation so listening and being taught is key in
understanding acting up against issues which is why stakeholder engagement is key (Brydon-Miller,
Greenwood, & Maguire, 2003). Research is located within the community where people are affected
making use of lived experiences people have gone through. People are the main subjects of the
study and have to be self-represented where sampling is omitted and a purposive group of people
faced with an issue are included. However, “community” does not rule out variations on experience
and perceptions based for instance on age, gender, power dynamics and so forth. Therefore
listening to experiences, observations and perceptions will allow rich information where, for
example, people with less power may see things differently from those enjoying more power in the
community. This should be done before a bigger group discussion where information is validated by
21
consensus; registering observations and experiences the whole group sees as valid. The shift from
individual to group insights seeks to triangulate information; information is then transferred from
words to images or drawings where observations and experiences are analysed for things to be
measured in identifying bad from good, trends in time and any other changes (Lowenson, Laurell, C,
& Shroff, 2014). Some tools used in this process are:
Table 2: tools used in Action Research (Loewenson et al, 2014)
TOOL
Function in the research process
Spider-grams: Visual representations used to analyze
existing relationships. The ‘body’ of the ‘spider’ represents
the issue facing the community while the ‘legs’ reflect
relevant factors
Used to draw evidence on outcomes from a particular
situation, identify problems and link influencing factors to
outcomes.
Participatory mapping: Create a map collectively which
notes physical conditions related to the targeted problem.
Used to draw and validate information on experience and
current conditions. From this, problem sites are identified,
proposals for changes can also be identified. This tool can
be used at different level of the problem solving process
to track changes.
Social mapping: Collective mapping of social
characteristics such as population, social groups
Identify key social groups and processes, needs and
preferences.
Transect walk: Systematic walks across the community to
identify resources and conditions in the area.
Can validate information supplied by the community or
generate similar information.
Wellbeing ranking, preference ranking, matrix ranking:
Different forms of scoring and ranking issues or
representing scales of issues.
These are used for valuing or scoring parameters.
Seasonal calendar: participants draw these to show
seasons or changes annually.
Relates information collected to time periods in the year
and also for the identification of relationships between
factors and outcomes.
Other tools that can be used include questionnaires, problem trees, life histories and narratives, as
well as photographs and videos. However data collected can be problematic to generalize as
research is often area specific.
Akponikpe, Bayala and Zougmore (2015) discuss experiences with community-based CSA
implemented through participatory action research across 5 countries in West Africa. They found
that the most significant challenge faced across the programmes was that while the farmers were
well aware of the impacts in their areas caused by climate change, they attributed these to simple
environmental degradation and so thelinks between proposed actions and climate change often did
not ring true to them. The researchers found that they needed to facilitate an understanding of the
links between meteorology, climate and human activities or else the CSA interventions would not be
perceived as qualitatively different from previous initiatives aimed at addressing environmental
degradation. One of the techniques they used to achieve this was to use a paradigm the farmers
were familiar with the cause, symptoms, interventions and outcomes of the HIV/AIDs epidemic to
model climate change and CSA. This paradigm would be familiar to most South Africans as well, and
this or other examples, could be useful in communicating the cause and effects of climate change to
smallholder farmers in this study. They found that the most successful CSA activities in the project
were those that were implemented on an individual basis, were carefully planned with enough lead
time with farmers, were inexpensive and were grounded in local values and practices (Sereme,
Macauley, & (Eds), 2012)
22
Diobass, an NGO in Burkina Faso, has combined the principles of action research with elements of
participatory innovation development in its farmer innovation development. The programme:
Works with farmers to collect and describe farmers’ initiatives and innovations in the domains of
plant and animal production. These are reviewed by a committee with equal representation of
farmers and advisers, and a selection is made on the basis of criteria they predefined together. Men
and women farmers can then enrol in groups for the innovations of their choice with a view to
testing them in field trials. In this case, the farmer-innovators are called upon to formulate open
questions and factors to be considered, which are then translated into an experimental setup and
methodology. All this is documented in a research protocol. The field trials are carried out by the
men and women farmers in conjunction with the research scientists, the state agricultural advisers
and the advisers from Diobass. This multi-stakeholder strategy makes it easier to disseminate farmer
innovations after successful conclusion of the series of trials (Mongbo & Dorlöchter-Sulser, 2016).
Participatory Rural Appraisal (PRA) and Participatory Learning and
Action (PLA
By Khethiwe Mthethwa, Bobbie Louton, Erna Kruger
PRA is ‘a growing family of approaches and methods to enable local people to share, enhance and
analyse their knowledge of life and conditions, to plan and to act’ (Chambers, 1993). It is primarily a
process of understanding contextualised situations and analysing issues for action. Participatory
rural appraisal (PRA) uses methods that facilitate understanding of the problems and perspectives of
local communities. PRA can focus on an entire community or on specific sections of the community
such as women or self-help groups. PRA methods are used to analyse and understand different
aspects of target communities or groups.
A key feature of PRA is its holistic approach, in which the interaction between different elements in
complex people-environment relationships is an important focus. A common thread in all these
methodologies is their recognition of important inter-linkages between different elements of rural
livelihood and production systems. Unlike earlier methodologies, PRA recognizes that indigenous
people are capable of identifying and expressing their needs and aspirations themselves and in their
own way, such that the role of the researcher is changed to that of a listener, learner, catalyst and
facilitator.
Participatory Learning Action (PLA) evolved from Rapid Rural Appraisal (RRA), an approach which was
popular with development agencies in the late 1970s and 1980s. PLA uses many of the same tools, but
the underlying philosophy and purpose is different: the emphasis is on interactive mutual learning for
development agencies and local people
Examples of how PRA tools can be used in an assessment of climate change adaptation in a
community (Jain, 2011) are shown below as a way of introducing some of the techniques and also
indicating some of the tools that will be useful in this study.
Significant changes in resources and livelihoods over a 10 to 20-year period were discussed
through a Community Historical Timeline. Changes and events contributing to these
changes, were discussed collectively drawing from individual knowledge and experiences.
23
Using a Seasonal Calendar, the major weather events (precipitation and so forth) were
discussed and noted. Community members were asked to rate the past as well as present
intensity of each weather event on a scale of 1 to 5 (from lowest to highest intensity).
A Seasonal Dependency Matrix was prepared to identify the dependency of communities on
various resources or occupations during the course of the year at present and 10-20 years’
ago. This facilitated a comparison of changes over time.
Subsequently, the impacts of changes in weather (mapped through the Seasonal Calendar)
on community livelihoods were assessed through a tool called ‘Community Ranking of
Hazards’. Major weather events impacting livelihoods were ranked on a scale of 1 to 5 using
a radar chart. The results indicated that the impacts of weather variations on local
communities are increasing.
The dependency of villagers on institutions within the village and outside was ascertained
with a Venn diagram on institutions. Community perceptions about the external help they
needed to overcome the impacts of climate change were identified and documented.
Another example that could be very useful in our present process is one where PRA and PID have
been combined, using some elements of appreciative enquiry (Saha, 2012).
Below is an outline and description of the tools used:
Tool 1: Time Line Seasonal Characteristics: Challenges & Farmers’ Wishes to Climate Change
Adaptation.
The specific objective of this tool is to facilitate farmer’s participatory dialogue on:
• What kinds of seasonal characteristic changes farmers areexperiencing?
• How are those changes of seasonal characters affecting agriculture and livelihoods?
• What challengesare farmers facing in relation to generated effects of seasonal characteristic
changes?
• What are farmers’ wishes to overcome those challenges (leading to determine affirmative topics)
Tool 2: Village Agriculture Innovators Mapping
The specific objective of this tool is to facilitate farmers in identification of:
• Individual actors and groups/organizations in and outside the village who have either created
innovations or who are perceived as potential innovators by the community
• Perceived effectiveness, influence and relationships of those actors
Formation of Farmers’ Group
The main purpose of the group is to planand implement actions to learnfrom each other and practice
adaptation. There areno fixed and pre -determined rules for the formation of farmer’s groups outside
of how itemerges through dialogue and discussions among farmers. Depending on the local situation
and needs a farmer’s organization can be formed. Thefacilitatorhas to allow the natural process of
interactions among farmers and emergence of their organisations in the village.
Tool 3: Discovery Story Telling-Listening toFarmer’s Innovations towards Adaptation
This tool is applied in relation to farmer level analysis of experimentation. The specific objectives of
this tool are to facilitate farmers:
• To listen to the local innovators about how they could do better.
24
• Listening to the story of success.
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Table 3:Example; timeline of seasonal characteristics, challenges and farmers' wishes for climate change adaptation
Season
Timing
Characteristics at the past
Emerging characteristics
Crops
Effects on agriculture and
Past
Present
Livelihoods
Summer
(February-
• High temperature but
Extreme/intolerable hit
1. Jute
1. Jute
Excessive hit/ temperature
May)
Tolerable
Irregular storm during
2. Aus paddy
2. IRRI paddy
makes us tired.
Bengali
• Regular storm during the
the period of last part
3. Aman Paddy
3. Sugar cane
• Increase of hit stroke
Month
period last part of March or
of March or first part of
4. Sugar cane
4. Chili
Increase of farming
Falgun-
first part of April ( Kal
April ( Kal Boishakhi)
5. Chili
5.Til (oil
expenditure due to increased
Joishto
Boishakhi)
Irregular rain during
6. China
seeds)
demand irrigation , chemical
• Regular rain during the
the period last part of
7. Vuro
fertilizer and pesticide
period of last part of March
March and first part of
8. Kaun
• Nutrition value of food crops
and first part of April ( Bain
April ( Bain er bristi))
9. Cantaloupe
has reduced
er bristi))
• No hailstone rain (shila
10. Water
Due to excessive rain, drought
• Time to time there were
bristi)
Melon
and rain water flooding
hailstone rain. I Shila bristi)
excessive rain while
11. Til (oil
cannot harvest crops in time
• Farmers used to sow seeds
some times drought
seeds)
• Yield of seasonal fruit has
of aus & aman paddy and
• In the month of April
reduced; increased new
Jute
storm occurs in a small
types of pest attack in fruits
• Plenty of Mango, black berry
place
• Farmers becoming more and
, jack fruit and Banana used
Period of summer
more indebted by taking
to grow
season has extended
Loans
• Wind used to flow from the
• No cropping of Aus and Aman
south resulting rain
Paddy
• Less fall of thunder
• Production of mango, back
• Large area coverage by the
berry, jackfruit and banana
Kal Baishakhi storm
has reduced
Sometimes formation of
toxicity in fog resulting
destruction of flowers of
Mango flowers drop off
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Discussions & Lessons
Changes in climate:
There are no longer 6 seasons but 3 , there are no more early Autumns , Autumn and Spring seasons have been absorbed in three seasons which are summer, rainy and winter.
Period of summer season has extended
Extreme heat in the summer season
Extreme rain and extreme drought in the summer season
Changes in rain period particularly Kal Baishaki and Amaboti do not happen regularly
Effects on life and livelihoods:
In all seasons crops diversity has reduced
Fish resources have reduced
Fruits have reduced
Amaon and aush paddy replaced by IRRI
Jeopardy of nutrition value and taste of fruits, vegetable and rice
Loss of soil fertility
Increase of pests and pest attack
Reduction of organic fertilizer use
Incremental use of chemical fertilizer and pesticides
Increase of agricultural production costs
Less crop production and increased family level food insecurity
Increase in indebtedness of farmers’ family due to incremental borrowing of money
Farmer’s challenges
What do we want?
In this climate circumstance to be able to do
• Cultivate and grow vegetable without use of chemical fertilizers
Agriculture
For other crop cultivation and production reduce the use of chemical fertilizer but increase use
of biological fertilizer
• Reduce expenditure of agriculture and agri-products
• Prevent and cure pest attack of crops though collective efforts in the village
• Want to get seeds form the plant prepared without application of pesticides
• Cultivate and grow climate change adaptive crops
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Large international support agencies, both government supported such as USAID and NGOs such as
World Vision, Care International, Red Cross, practical Action and Oxfam have spent time developing
participatory processes in risk and vulnerability assessments, community based analysis of these
risks and designing of participatory action plans.
World Vision for example have focussed on PLA
(participatory learningand action)
methodologies and toolsto combine work
across conflict management, disaster risk
reduction and climate change adaptation.
Participatory Learning andAction (PLA) is an
approach for learning about and engaging with
communities. It combines an ever-growing
toolkit of participatory and visual methods, for
use with interviewingtechniques, and is
intended to facilitate a process of collective
analysis and learning. PLA evolved from Rapid
Rural Appraisal (RRA), popular with
development agencies in the late 1970s and
1980s. PLA uses many of the same tools, but the underlying philosophy and purpose is different: the
emphasis is on interactive mutual learning for development agencies and local people. PLA tools are
intended to help development agencies tap into the unique perspectives of community members, to
help them unlock their ideas concerning the issues they face, and to find realistic solutions. PLA tools
combine sharing insights with analysis, and
provide a catalyst for the community to act on
what is uncovered. PLAs commonly used
include focus group discussions, key informant
interviews, historicalanalysis tools (e.g.
timelines), geographicalmapping (e.g.
community maps), livelihood analysis tools,
and root cause analysis tools (e.g. problem
trees). CCA methodologies often include
seasonal calendars. Two further tools -
systems mapping and scenario planning -
which are not yet commonly used in
vulnerability and capacity assessments and
planning but can add significant value to the
programme design, implementation, and monitoring and evaluation processes have been introduced
(Ibrahim & Midgley, 2013).
SYSTEMS MAPPING:
Draws upon systems thinking to help participants and
facilitators understand how a range of different factors
interact with each other to form a system. Systems thinking is
a way to understand a context that emphasises the
relationships between a system’s parts rather than simply the
parts themselves.
To create a systems map, participants are asked to identify a
number of key characteristics or vulnerability factors in their
community. They then identify those factors that contribute to
these characteristics or vulnerabilities. They discuss these, and
draw links between the different factors.
It can be used to identify particular areas of intervention, or
leverage points, that can have botha direct and indirect impact
upon vulnerability in the community.
SCENARIO PLANNING:
Enables communities to explore potential future changes, their
associated impacts and develop locally relevant action plans,
looking at both opportunities, risks and potential impacts of
change.
Participants work together to identify a number of plausible
scenarios utilising local and scientific information and evidence.
The impacts of the developed scenarios are assessed and the
community’s vulnerability is analysed highlighting impacts on
specific socio-economic groups, geographical areas and
livelihoods.
The output of these discussions is the production of a coordinated
action plan agreed by all stakeholders which is relevant to local
priorities.
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Participatory Innovation Development
By Mazwi Dlamini, Erna Kruger
Participatory Innovation Development (PID);is an approach to learning and innovation that is used
in international development as part of projects and programmes relating to sustainable agriculture.
The approach involves collaboration between researchers and farmers in the analysis of agricultural
problems and testing of alternative farming practices.
It has developed out of methodologies such as Farming Systems Research and Extension, PRA and
PLA (participatory learning and action) and Indigenous Technical Knowledge Systems and
incorporates further methodologies such as Farmer Field Schools.
This approach enables the research and development community to respond to locally defined
problems and to find solutions that build upon local knowledge andare consistent with local
resources and contexts. Moreover, by involving farmers as the users of the research process, it is
more likely that farmers would share and use (new) knowledge.
Local innovation in agriculture and natural resource management goes beyond technologies to
socio-organizational arrangements such as new ways of regulating the use of resources, new ways of
community organization, or new ways of stakeholder interaction. The term Participatory Innovation
Development (PID) embraces this broader understanding of joint research and development and is
now being used alongside, or in place of PTD (Participatory Technology Development). It is a process
in which farmers and other stakeholders engage in joint exploration and experimentation leading to
new technologies or socio-institutional arrangements for more sustainable livelihoods. This action-
oriented approach promotes engagement in a process that strengthens the capacities of agricultural
services to support community-led initiatives (Hartmann, 2009 ) (Wettasinha, Wongtschowski, &
Waters-Bayer, 2009).
Figure 2: The interplay between researchers, facilitators and farmers, indicating associated methodologies
PRA/PLA
Farmer to Farmer
PTD/ PID
PAR
PRA/PLA
Farming systems
Research
Farmer Participatory
Research
PTD/PID
FFS
PID (Agro-
ecosystems)
FFS
PRA/PLA
researcher
development facilitator/
extension/ innovator
farmer
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The following statement in a recent publication in the agricultural development and extension field,
sums up the imperative for working with these approaches:
Scientists are being challenged to re-consider that their role in technology development is
through innovation and a complex process involving a reorganization of social relationships,
not just technical practice. In this context, technology shifts from something to be applied to
something leveraged for networking and organizing. To ensure the future, the idea of
sustainability as a dynamic process rather than an endpoint offers a route for understanding
and engagement between research, policy and personal spheres. For both research and
extension agendas; in considering traditional agriculture in the context of economic
development we have to create the capacity to co-operate in a way that opens up the
possibility of social change; a way of interacting that preserves and creates new forms of
social cohesion. Researchers will come to understand that attitude, environment and
relevant issues, not specific tools, achieves participation. (Caister, Green, & Worth, 2012).
One of the leading authorities on this process is the Centre for learning on sustainable agriculture -
ILEIA based in the Netherlands. ILEIA has described PID as “a process between local communities
and outside facilitators which involves:
Gaining a joint understanding of the main characteristics and changes of that particular agro-
ecological system;
Defining priority problems;
Experimenting locally with a variety of options derived both from indigenous knowledge …
and from formal science, and
Enhancing farmer’s experimental capacities and farmer-to-farmer communication”
(Reijntjes, Haverkort, & Waters-Bayer, 1992)
PID offers opportunities to place smallholder farmers centre stage in the research and development
field, recognising that over time, smallholder farmers have adapted and developed innovations to
allow them to be productive under their own difficult environments. Development practitioners
have realized the need to, not only take this knowledge into consideration but to build upon it
Implementation of a PID process includes the following steps:
1.Preparation phase: The PID group (including researchers/teachers, facilitators and key
farmers) collects primary information and analyses issues and opportunities in village; from
where the topics of PID are identified. This stage includes 2 steps: 1) situation analysis and 2)
selection of the PID topic. At the same time, they also prepare the organizational aspects,
making agreements with the local authorities, clarifying reasons, purposes, meanings, as
well as benefits and responsibilities of local people, and making a plan to involve the local
farmers in PID initiation.
2.Initiation phase: This is an important phase of the process, new ideas are discovered,
appraised and selected for experimentation. The PID group in collaboration with farmer
groups design new selected experiments. Farmer interest groups are formed and start
designing their expected experiments. There are 5 steps in this stage: 1) Generation of new
ideas, 2) Clarification of ideas through idea sheets, 3) selecting prioritized ideas for
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experiments; 4) Selecting households to conduct the experiments; and 5) designing the
experiments with specific reasons, indicators and technologies in experiment sheets.
3.Implementation phase: The stakeholders develop action plans, visiting schedules and
collaboratively implement the experiments. The farmers are implementers; the extensions
are facilitators and supporters; the researchers provide consultancy during the
experimentation process. This stage includes 2 steps: 1) planning and 2) collaborative
implementation.
4.Monitoring and documentation phase: This stage is implemented throughout the
implementation phase. The indicators identified in the experiment sheets are recorded in
the experiment diary by farmers with support of the extensionists and researchers.
Comments of outsiders and other farmers will be
fully recorded in the diary. Documents, regular
reports are produced by the extensionists and
provided to related management staff and other
interested people in and outside the village. One
key step in this stage is participatory monitoring
and documentation of the process.
5.Finalisation phase: The objective of this phase is to
evaluate and identify whether the experiments
were successful or not? A field evaluation is
conducted where farmers who conducted the
experiments prepare and explain to other
stakeholders and farmers their experiences and
results. This stage includes 2 steps: 1) organization
of participatory evaluation in the field, and 2)
documentation, report writing.
6.Dissemination phase: Experiences and innovations should be disseminated. Tools, extension
materials are compiled. "Farmer to farmer" extension techniques are useful for
dissemination and experience sharing with other farmers and villages. This stage includes 2
main steps: 1) develop extension materials and 2) organize different ways to disseminate the
experiment results.
Reflective practice
Reflective practice is an intentional approach to learning from one’s practice/experience by routinely
going through a conscious process of thinking about what you have done or what has happened and
gleaning insights which are used to improve future practice. Reflection needs to be a central element
of the practices of CoPs, research studies and programmes/interventions.
To summarise the PID steps
1.Getting started (getting to know
each other);
2.Joint analysis of the situation the
problems and opportunities;
3.Looking for things to try to improve
the local situation;
4.Trying them out in community-led
participatory experimentation;
5.Jointly analysis and sharing the
results; and
6.Strengthening the process, often
through improving local
organization and linkages with
other actors in R&D, so that the
PTD process will continue.
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Tripp (Tripp, 2005) contrasts reflective practice and action research as follows:
Finlay (Finlay, Reflecting on 'Refelctive Practice", 2008) proposes that reflective practice involves:
examining ones assumptions
becoming aware of one’s implicit knowledge
critically evaluating one’s own responses to practice situations
This could be a valuable tool in a Community of Practice, where smallholder farmers, researchers
and other stakeholders could come into the community with very different assumptions, implicit
knowledge and responses; as the project unfolds new levels or areas of assumptions and knowledge
could come into play, making it valuable to habitually and cyclically examine these, how they differ
between the members of the CoP, and the impact of this.
The basic model to capture the reflective process is a cycle of four steps:
PLAN ACT DESCRIBE EVALUATE PLAN and so on.
Different theorists have developed this basic idea with different models. Various theorists have
proposed different ‘stations’ for reflection within a perpetual cycle (or spiral) of reflective practice.
In the context of this project, where reflective practice will be needed within the research team, the
CoP, project interventions and could be used beneficially by individual participants and researchers,
a number of different models for reflective practice could prove useful across these contexts.
Rolfe et al (Rolfe, Freshwater, & Jasper, 2001) provides a simple, flexible model for using reflective
practice that is easy to remember:
1.What? - What happened?
2.So what? - What does it mean?
3.Now what? - What needs to happen next?
This could be a useful model to build into the practice of a community of practice due to its
simplicity, perhaps linking it to words or representations that are easy to remember (eg 3 fingers).
This could then be used in a group discussion or by an individual looking at a plant in her field.
Figure 3: Reflective Practice (Tripp, 2005)
Figure 4: Action Research (Tripp 2005)
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Later work has added the ideas of critical reflection and reflexivity to reflective practice.Critical
reflection adds the dimensions of looking at social and political elements with an aim to facilitate
transformation as part of the reflective practice, actively questioning assumptions and analysing
power relationships (Finlay, 2008); this can aid members of a Community of Practice and the
community as a whole in becoming conscious of their power and that of their networks, and how
they are exercising it. Reflexivity involves practitioners reflecting critically on both the impact of their
own behaviour, assumptions, positioning, feelings and background and the impact of the broader
organisational, ideological and political context (Finlay, 2008). Reynolds and Gough see reflection
(simply thinking about something after it has happened) critical reflection and reflexivity
(immediate and dynamic self-awareness) as a continuum.
Tools
Numerous tools and techniques have been developed for using reflective practice, including simple
ideas such as journaling, drawing, mapping, or taking quick audio or video reflections from
participants during or after an activity.
Lynn ( (Lynn, 2012) describes two more structured tools that can be used in tandem for reflective
practice: theories of change and strategic learning debriefs. A Theory of Change (TOC) is a “living”
document which provide the structure for ongoing learning during planning, implementation, and
evaluation, ensuring that “what matters” remains in focus and is not eclipsed by the “measurable”.
Working from a theoretical strategy, key stakeholders work together using backward and forward
mapping to create a visual map of practical strategies which links activities to outcomes in spiralling
cycles leading to the ultimate impact. Strategic Learning Debriefs are sessions held with staff and
stakeholders where the Theory of Change is used as a framework to facilitate reflective practice,
resulting potentially in the evolution of the Theory of Change itself.
CSA frameworks, methodologies and processes
By Erna Kruger, Jon McCosh, Lawrence Sisitka
Processes for the assessments of communities’ capacities and vulnerabilities related to both disaster
risk reduction and climate change adaptation have been developed by the larger international and
national development agencies; most of them based on combinations of methodologies described
above. Elements of Livelihoods analysis have been incorporate into most of these frameworks to
include an analysis of stresses, shocks, vulnerabilities and capacities within communities and outline
potential livelihoods impacts and develop planning frameworks for increased resilience and
adaptation capacity.
Broadly, these tools can be classified by the type of approach they use. There are two types of
approaches: a top down approach focuses on potential changes in the water cycle as a result of
climate change, and designs response options to anticipate and prevent the negative impacts of
these changes. By nature, this approach favours long-term responses. The other approach consists in
assessing the vulnerability of rural populations, and designing solutions that helps increasing their
resilience to external shocks. This bottom-up approach is more generic, not specific to climate
change (but to any shock or crisis) and usually considers short- to medium-term responses. Both
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approaches are necessary when designing management responses in relation to climate change. An
impact-based approach is needed to ensure that long-term investments take into account expected
changes (FAO, Climate Smart Agriculture Source Book, 2013).
More recently, systemic approaches have been developed primarily to also include some empirical
data on climate change into the community based analysis of changes specific to climate change and
weather variability. This has been spearheaded by USAID programmes in Asia and the Pacific
(RECOFTC , 2016), but is also now being incorporated in the Resilience in the Limpopo basin (Resilim)
programme (AWARD, 2017). These tools are interesting and significant for the present research
process, albeit that they are somewhat complicated to facilitate at community level.
The Nepal process for example focusses the vulnerability and capacity assessments trough the five
livelihoods categories, to be able to fully assess adaptive capacity at community level.
Adaptive Capacity: According to the IPCC, adaptive capacity is the ability of a system to adjust to
climate change (including climate variability and extremes) to moderate potential damage, to take
advantage of opportunities, or to cope with the consequences. CARE International (Care
International, 2009) argued that one of the most important factors shaping the adaptive capacity of
individuals, households and communities is their access to and control over natural, human, social,
physical, and financial resources. Examples of resources that may be important to adaptive capacity
are as follows:
• Human - Knowledge of climate risks, conservation agriculture skills, good health to enable labour;
• Social - Women’s savings and loans groups, farmer-based organizations;
• Physical – Irrigation infrastructure, seed and grain storage facilities;
• Natural – Reliable water source, productive land; and
• Financial – Micro-insurance, diversified income source.
All information is analysed into 4 consecutive matrices that include both community based and
empirical data:
1.Matrix 1 - Identifying Climatic Threats and Impacts: Analysis of empirical and community
based perceptions related to weather and climate
2.Matrix 2 - Assessing Threats and Impacts through an Asset Lens: It lists which sectors (e,g
forestry, agriculture, livestock and water) have been identified by the community as key
sectors of climate vulnerability. Then, for each sector, this matrix assesses both community-
based and empirical information on impacts through the lens of the different asset types
(namely the assets under the sustainable livelihoods approach: social, financial, physical,
human and natural)
3.Matrix 3 Identifying Vulnerabilities: based on standard vulnerability assessment tools with
a view to listing impacts and adaptive capacities
4.Matrix 4 - Identifying Response Options to Vulnerabilities: This final matrix serves two
purposes. First, it provides a structure through which to arrive at a vulnerability rating,
necessary for later prioritization and selection of adaptation options. Second, it tries to fill a
gap in existing VA frameworks which do not explicitly link vulnerabilities to possible
adaptation responses. This final column is aimed at generating general adaptation option
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‘topics’ in response to identified vulnerabilities (which will be direct responses to climate
threats, but may cut across both threats as well as sectors).
Below is an extract from a synthesis table/matrix produced for the Nepal pilot programme.
Table 4: An Example of matrix 4; Identifying response options to vulnerabilities (RECOFTC , 2016)
CLIMATE
CHANGE
THREATS
(from Matrix
1, Column E &
Matrix 2 and
3, Column A)
FREQUENCY OF
THREAT
VULNERABILITIES
(synthesized from
Matrix3, Column E
SERIOUSNESS
OF IMPACTS
(evidence
according to
indicators)
VULNER
ABILITY
RATING
(by the
commu
nity)
POSSIBLE BROAD
OPTION RESPONSES
result of other tools)*
Temperature
increase ,
more intense
dry season
Prolonged drought,
typically every 2-3
years Temperature
rise is continuous,
but extreme peaks
periodically every 5-
6 years
Fire in sugarcane
fields occurs
periodically every 2-
3 years
Declining
productivity of
agricultural crops
due to decreasing
quality of soil (a
function of
extended periods
of dryness, current
cropping practices
and chemical
fertilizers)Reliance
on a single
monocrop(sugarca
ne)More labour
intensive and
increasing labour
costs associated
with sugarcane
More than 40%
handpumps are
now dry for 4
months of the
year Reduced
cropping cycle
of sugarcane to
2 years from 3
High
Medium
Development of
agroforestry plots on
private land Planting of
fast growing fodder and
multipurpose tree
species Introduction of
no or low till agriculture
practices to reduce soil
evaporation Water
retention pond
construction
Agroforestry within
community forests,
within home gardens
Shift in agriculture crops
to incorporating
integrated farming
systems which include
agroforestry
Changing
seasonality
(agriculture)
Continuously
decreasing
agricultural
productivity Erratic
rainfall Rainy
season being
pushed back several
weeks
Decreasing
agricultural
productivity and
income due to
changing rainfall
patterns
Decreasing income
from sugarcane
due to loss of
productivity(result
of multiple factors
including pests,
weeds, soil fertility
and also capped
prices by the sugar
mill)
Invasive weeds
and
grasshoppers
damaged more
than 50 ha
Declining price
paid per kg of
sugarcane as
result of high
weed
composition
Medium
High
Diversification of
agriculture crops Natural
buffers and pest breaks
by interspersing crops
and/or agroforestry
Natural pest predators
Conventional pest
management Usage of
compost manure as pest
management strategy
Capacity building of local
people in integrated pest
management Enterprise
development to diversify
income Delay of planting
timing by 20to 25 days
* Based on consultations withcommunity members, technical experts, desk research, experiences of project staff and
comparable practices employed elsewhere
Basically, what this process does, is provide a decision support framework for CSA. It This is a very appropriate methodology
and set of tools to use as a starting point to design the decision support system for this research process.
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Frameworks which define criteria for assessing effect/impact of CSA
interventions
Climate-smart interventions are highly location-specific and knowledge-intensive, requiring
considerable effort to make CSA a reality. In the context of assessing impact, this means that impact
assessments cannot focus on specific practices, but rather the positive (and negative) impacts of
chosen CSA practices (FAO, Climate Smart Agriculture Source Book, 2013). Furthermore, CSA
technologies and practices are evolving rapidly. These factors mean that assessing the effect of CSA
interventions needs to be well thought out. This section considers frameworks that define criteria
for assessing the effect of CSA interventions.
Impact and effects of interventions
It is helpful to define a number of concepts when considering impact assessments to allow for a
common understanding of terms (FAO, Climate Smart Agriculture Source Book, 2013):
Impact this refers to effect of climate change on natural and anthropogenic systems
Vulnerability this is a function of two factors:
oFirstly, impact (exposure and sensitivity of exposure to climate change in turn)
Exposure refers to the extent to which a system is impacted by climate change
Sensitivity refers to how affected the system is affected after the exposure
oSecondly, adaptive capacity the ability of the system to avoid potential damages, take
advantage of opportunities and cope with the consequences of damages. It can also be
framed as the capacity of people in a given system to influence resilience
Resilience the ability of a system to anticipate, absorb, accommodate or recover from the
effects of an extreme climate event in a timely and efficient manner.
Assessments are closely related to monitoring and evaluation (M&E) activities and are found within
most prevailing policies and programmes. The figure below outlines an assessment framework for a
full project cycle, based on the FAO’s CSA sourcebook. Assessments are occurring at a number of
levels (policies and programme impacts; climate impacts; project impacts) and at different project
stages (project preparation; project planning; project implementation).
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Table 5: Assessmnet, monitoring and evaluation from a project cylce management perspective (FAO, 2013)
This diagram provides a broad overview of the assessment process, but for the purposes of this
work, we are interested primarily in the local impacts of the CSA interventions from a resilience
perspective and secondarily any mitigation effects that may result from the interventions, supported
by evidence (qualitative and quantitative). Furthermore, the focus of this framework is largely a top
down approach. From a community perspective, bottom up approaches are more appropriate as
they are locally relevant and consider the local socio-economic context often referred to as
contextual vulnerability.
Contextual vulnerability is locally focussed and considers the present as the departure point and
considers socio-economic dimensions of vulnerability as a basis for assessing future vulnerability.
This is largely a participatory process as opposed to modelling approaches that are applied at
programme and policy scales. Vulnerability and adaptation needs are contextualised with the local
context and will include factors that aren’t necessarily directly linked to climate change or CSA.
Vulnerability and resilience frameworks are different in key aspects (FAO, Climate Smart Agriculture
Source Book, 2013)
The vulnerability approach tends to:
Be oriented towards research on hazards and risks.
Be centred on people and more translatable to application and policy outcomes.
Conduct assessments for single spatial scale and ‘snapshots’ in time.
Be less focused on ecological and environmental aspects.
Assess present and future vulnerability from past information.
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The resilience approach, on the other hand, tends to:
Be oriented towards ecological sciences.
Be more focused on complex interactions, feedbacks and processes of social-ecological systems.
Be conceptual and not easily translatable into practice.
Assess one particular system and can often not be generalised for wider application.
Produce more dynamic assessments (but with present methodological difficulties in measuring
and characterising).
Be less focused on the social aspects of social-ecological systems.
Assess more positively future needs by building on present assets.
However, more recently, resilience frameworks are placing more emphasis on social systems
(moving towards a social-ecological-system framework), while vulnerability frameworks are
including more environmental factors and thus becoming more alike. Nevertheless, both
frameworks are connected through adaptive capacity assessments (FAO, Climate Smart Agriculture
Source Book, 2013). Ultimately, the effect of any CSA intervention should contribute simultaneously
to reduced vulnerability and increased resilience.
Vulnerability assessments
Vulnerability of livelihoods is determined by the capacity of communities to replace a negatively
affected production system with one which would prevent losses in income, sustain subsistence
production or supply food to markets. Vulnerability assessments characterise areas that have low
livelihood resilience, allow for the identification of vulnerable subsectors in the community (e.g.
elderly, women, youth) and provide the basis for developing strategies to increase the resilience of
livelihoods to climate change (FAO, Climate Smart Agriculture Source Book, 2013).
Considering a bottom-up approach, a vulnerability assessment would collect indicators that
represent changes in vulnerability of communities to risks. Such indicators could include socio-
economic, technology, infrastructure, information and skills, biophysical conditions and equity (Desai
& Hulme, 2004). Considering the figure below (Pearson & Langridge, 2008), survey and ethnographic
methodologies are best suited for assessing contextual vulnerability.
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Table 6: Conceptual frameworks, methodologies and methods for vulnerability assessments (Pearson and Langridge
,2008)
Within this survey context, three basic approaches are available
Full scope social assessments (key informant interviews, focus group discussions, community
surveys).
Rapid social assessments (checklists of key vulnerabilities, current coping strategies and limiting
factors).
Applying models and project management tools.
Monitoring and evaluation frameworks
There exists a variety of frameworks and manuals for monitoring and evaluation of impacts of CSA
interventions. However, all monitoring and evaluation systems should include the following (FAO,
Climate Smart Agriculture Source Book, 2013):
Conceptualisation conceptualising the intervention, based on available information and
engagements with stakeholders
Preparation and appraisal of the project, which should include:
oHow the project or intervention will contribute to adaptation / mitigation
oDeveloping an adaptation hypothesis or theory of change what are the expected
changes and result chains between activities, changes in behaviour, outcomes and
impacts. The theory of change should help to define:
Inputs and activities description of the interventions
Outputs direct results of the interventions (e.g. increased yield, access to
finance)
Project outcomes the expected effects of the interventions (e.g. higher food
security, access to credit to purchase inputs)
High level outcomes the expected effects of the interventions at household
and community scales (e.g. healthier children due to higher food security,
increased income as a result of purchasing inputs for production).
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oDeveloping indicators in relation to the theory of change.
oDeveloping results based management encourage stakeholders to consider outputs
and outcomes, rather than inputs and activities.
oAppraisals review the design in relation to risks.
Implementing adaptation actions, with the collection of data on identified indicators.
Evaluation at regular intervals for the design, implementation, outputs, outcomes, impact and
sustainability of the intervention.
The objective of M&E is for continuous learning during the project. Given uncertainties associated
with any intervention, the learning process allows for adaptive management, learning from the
process and builds local capacity. It is critical to include participatory and socially sensitive (e.g.
gender, age, wealth) processes in the monitoring of interventions.
There are many M&E frameworks that can be sued, some of which are outlined the table below.
Table 7: examples of planning and M&E frameworks used development initiatives (FAO,2013)
Framework / Tool
Focus
Logical frameworks
Projects and programmes specific to interventions being considered
Results framework
Links interventions to results
Project and programme
frameworks
Delineating expected outputs and outcomes from stakeholder participation
Driving forces Pressure
State Impact Response
(DPSIR)
Captures causal chain from the driving force (the environmental issue) through to
the impact and required responses. Usually applied in the environmental
management context
Outcome mapping (IDRC)
Focussed on institutional change. Delineates outcomes among different
stakeholders and monitors institutional changes, changes in capacity and the
resulting change in the delivery of services.
Sustainable Livelihood
Framework
Multifaceted assessment of livelihood assets and by implication, resilience to
climate change.
Participatory poverty
assessment
Aims to assess who are the most vulnerable in the community as defined by
community members’ own criteria. This helps to identify key intervention target
groups.
Project and programme
baseline assessments
Done through surveys of intervention and control areas, measuring food security,
incomes, basic household assets and services, as well as environmental
parameters.
Regular project monitoring
Gathering of activity and output progress data, financial management
information, and signalling emerging issues or good practices.
Management information
Systems
web-based support systems increasingly managed through remote devices, linked
to financial management and GIS systems.
Agriculture and natural
resource management
monitoring
Measured at frequencies and scales significant enough to provide meaningful
information. The measurements can be done by a range of methods from
structured crop to participatory transect walks.
Process monitoring
Often done in support of regular monitoring to assess project process and
institutional changes and relationships to rapidly identify management
responses.
Participatory monitoring and
evaluation methods
A wide range of methods engaging communities, not just enhancing information
gathering but also increasing ownership and project adaptation.
Impact evaluation
methodology
Impact evaluation assesses the impact of an intervention using counterfactual
analysis. The estimated impact of the intervention is calculated as the difference
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in mean outcomes between a ‘treatment group’ (those receiving the intervention)
and a ‘control group’ (those who don’t).
Stakeholder, Institutional and
legal assessments
To assess changes in capacity, human resources, organizational
systems, coordination, as well as laws and policies.
Economic and Financial
analysis (EFA):
Using mainly agricultural, environmental and socio-economic data,
as well as detailed market, labour and trade information, analyses are made of
the economic and financial returns at household, farm and system levels.
An example of a results-based framework is provided below. This framework gives a sense of the
kinds of measurable indicators that can be used to indicate impact or effect of adaptation practices.
Figure 5: Results based framework (FAO,2013)
Indicators
For indicators to be relevant, baseline conditions are necessary to provide a benchmark and it is
therefore necessary to ensure that the indicators used can be compared against a benchmark.
Indicators should be Simple, Measurable, Attributable, Realistic and Time-bound (SMART), which is
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well understood by the project team. In addition to the SMART requirements for indicators,
additional guidance for choosing indicators includes (FAO, Climate Smart Agriculture Source Book,
2013)
1.Validity: Does the indicator measure a change in climate risk or vulnerability?
2.Precise and specific meaning: Do stakeholders agree on exactly what the indicator measures in
this context?
3.Practical, affordable, and simple: Are climate- and adaptation-relevant data actually available at
reasonable cost and effort? Will it be realistic to collect and analyse information?
4.Reliability: Can the indicator be consistently measured against the adaptation baseline over the
short, medium and long term? With regard to mitigation, are the indicators robust enough for
formal auditing under measurement, reporting and verification (MRV)?
5.Sensitivity: When the respective climatic effects or adaptive behaviours change, is the indicator
susceptible to those changes?
6.Clear direction: Is it certain that an increase in value is good or bad and for which particular
aspect of adaptation? Is it ultimately attributable to intervention?
7.Utility: Will the information collected be useful and relevant for adaptive management, results
accountability, and learning? Does it measure achievable results?
8.Owned: Do stakeholders agree that this indicator makes
sense for testing the adaptation hypothesis?
Indicators can be (FAO, Climate Smart Agriculture Source
Book, 2013):
Quantitative (e.g. tonnes per hectare of incremental
crop production, number of days a year a household has
adequate meals, or number of men and women with
increased income).
Qualitative (e.g. beneficiary perception of satisfactory
service delivery by intervention agency).
Proxy indicators, which give an approximation of a
desired measure, where a direct indicator is difficult to
assess.
Indices, which are composed from other indicators to
provide a more simplified aggregate measure of change.
Indicators should relate to the project or intervention
objectives.
Decision Support Systems
Decision Support Systems (DSS) have been developed and used in a variety of contexts, including
business and commerce, and agriculture. Conventionally, they are understood as in the following
definition from www.technopedia (Technopedia, 2017): …a computer-based application that
collects, organizes and analyses business data to facilitate quality business decision-making for
management, operations and planning. A well-designed DSS aids decision makers in compiling a
variety of data from many sources: raw data, documents, personal knowledge from employees,
The question of attribution
A particular methodological issue for M&E is
the question of attribution. This is the
particular challenge faced when attempting
to ascribe observed change and results
specifically to a project while it could also be
due to other external changes and
interventions taking place. This is a very big
concern for climate change programmes
since they are potentially affected by long
term and large scale climate and economic
processes. In thecontext of projects theissue
is dealt with through the design of rigorous
project baselines and impactevaluation
surveys, which take intoaccount external
effects. They do so principally by including
‘control’ areas and households in the survey
samples, against which changes in project
beneficiaries’ livelihoods and land use can be
compared (FAO, Climate Smart Agriculture
Source Book, 2013).
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management, executives and business models. DSS analysis helps companies to identify and solve
problems, and make decisions.
From this it is clear that a DSS is currently seen as a computer, or perhaps more saliently, internet-
based system, which enables large amounts of diverse information to be analysed in order for
managers to reach rational decisions. The dominance of computer-based models is reinforced by the
1999 UNFCCC publication: Compendium of Decision Tools to Evaluate Strategies for Adaptation to
Climate Change (UNFCCC, 1999). All the decision support tools evaluated here are computer based,
in fact based on now archaic software and operating systems such as Linux and Windows 95. This,
certainly at the time of the evaluation, rendered them inaccessible to smaller-scale farmers, and
many of them, given their complexity require mediation by software specialists. A further factor in
their inappropriateness for such farmers was the focus in the agricultural sector on large-scale cereal
and other field-crop practices. However, this was relatively early days in the development of DSS
related to climate change.
A more recent (2014) publication, developed to provide guidance for the disbursement of the
Adaptation Fund of the Kyoto Protocol: A review of decision-support models for adaptation to
climate change in the context of development(Nay, Chu, Gallagher, & Wright, 2014)provides some
very useful pointers in terms of the different models being employed in developing DSS. These
incorporate both technical, mostly computer/internet-based, approaches and social, participatory
approaches, an orientation which it describes as
‘…balancing community input and technical
tools’
. (ibid.) One of the most telling statements, however, in the document is: ‘The Fourth
Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC, 2007) concluded that
planned adaptations to climate risks are most likely to be implemented when they are developed as
components of (or as modications to) existing resource management programs or as part of
national or regional strategies for sustainable development.Many general development activities,
such as creating more effective and equitable agricultural markets or diversifying livelihood options
beyond rain-fed cultivation, can simultaneously improve the lives of the poor and reduce climatic
risks.’(ibid.) In other words CSA is best seen as integral to broader development processes, an
approach which is entirely compatible with the idea that CSA practices are essentially good
developmental agricultural practices, applicable in and suitable for a wide range of contexts.
The publication, which looks at different types of simulation to develop scenarios relevant to
different contexts, draws on a conceptual model, shown in the figure below, from which different
technical models can be derived.
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Figure 6: Conceptual model for DSS development (Nay et al 2014)
The technical models included in the review include:
Equation-based models (EBM) essentially the mathematical/statistical approach to vulnerability to
climate-change impacts
Agent-based models (ABM) where Agents are described rather confusingly, as follows: ‘Agentsin
computational ABMs are autonomous decision algorithms that interact with other agents and their
environment.’ Further reading however reveals that they are essentially talking about people in their
communities, and the interactions between them and between them and their environment.
Geographic-based models (GBM) self-explanatory, based on extensive GIS mapping of geo-climatic
regions
Participation-based models (PBM) again self-explanatory, where the simulations and resulting
scenarios are developed through intensive participatory processes with farming communities. This
includes what is described as Role-play Games (RPG), a specific participatory technique enabling
farmers to express what they understand might be the impacts of climate change and their possible
responses to these.
The reviews conclusion is that it is advisable to adopt approaches incorporating both technical and
social components:Community-based adaptation seeks to incorporate current and future climatic
risks into the design of interventions that are key for local economies and overall well-being
(Dumaru, 2010).
While communities have extensive knowledge of local environmental changes, they often have
limited knowledge of the causes and effects of exogenous change. Building and utilizing integrative
models may, in some circumstances, help evaluate and manage trade-offs inherent in local
adaptation options…It is crucial that tools selected for use are appropriate to the situation,
remaining cognizant of the resources available for conducting the effort. Under some circumstances,
a stakeholder- focused approach to costbenefit analysis has been deployed, which enables
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stakeholders to reach an informed consensus based on analyses that take account of both monetary
and non-monetary benefits(Blanco, 2006)
Whether qualitative or quantitative in nature, however, model and costbenefit analyses outputs
should be seen as decision-support tools rather than as definitive justifications for particular
interventions (or for any intervention). (Lunduka, Bezabih, & Chaudhury, 2013)
Broad-scale DSS
While the CSA project is particularly concerned with local-level DSS, some of the more complex DSS
have been developed to support national and regional level policy development. This is very much
the case with the TargetCSA project as described in: How to target climate-smart agriculture?
Concept and application of the consensus-driven decision support framework targetCSA (Brandt,
Kvakić, K, & Rufino, 2017)
This is aimed specifically at planners and
decision makers that aim to implement CSA at the
regional or national level.The approach taken by TargetCSA includes 3 stages:
Stage 1: structuring the decision-making problem
Stage 2: eliciting stakeholder preferences and consensus building
Stage 3: spatial aggregation and coupling of vulnerability and CSA indices
And identifies critical indicators:
Biophysical indicators: Precipitation; soil organic matter
Social indicators: % households with secure access to safe water; literacy rate
Economic indicators: female participation in economic activities; connectivity through
transport infrastructure
The report identifies broad-brush CSA practices: Improvement of soil fertility and soil
management; identification and distribution of drought resistant cereal crops; reduction of GHS
from livestock; improvement of water harvesting and water management; establishment of
agroforestry; implementation of livestock insurances (ibid.).
The critical process is linking vulnerability in terms of the three kinds of indicators, with selected CSA
practices, suitable for the specific kinds and levels of vulnerability in specific geo-climatic areas. This
process was conducted across the whole of Kenya and informed the agricultural component of the
Kenya National Climate Change Action Plan.
A further broader-scale DSS is the CSA Prioritization Framework, developed by CIAT (International
Centre for Tropical Agriculture) under the CGIAR umbrella, and linked to its Climate Change,
Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS) research programme. This is described as: A set of filters for
evaluating CSA options & establishing CSA investment portfolios…For National and sub-national
decision makers Donors, NGOs, implementers (Ulrichs, Cannon, Newsham, Naess, & Marshall, 2015)
As yet no CSA specific policies or plans have been developed in South Africa at provincial or national
level in relation to CSA. A scoping study conducted by the University of Fort Hare (Mkeneni &
Mutengwa, 2014) proposes that the National Climate Change Response Policy (NCCRP) (DEA, 2011)
can, together with the Climate Change Sector Plan for Agriculture Forestry and Fisheries (CCSP)
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(Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, 2013) provide something of a framework for
CSA. However, criticism of the CCSP by some civil society organisations (CSO) suggests that the
CSA policy is framed in very general and wide terms that can accommodate almost any ‘new’
technology and institutional structure and that it is too biased towards commercial agriculture and
agribusiness and does not question the basic structural imbalances and development paradigm that
created this problem in the first place.
A further tool developed in South Africa with a national focus, is the South African Risk and
Vulnerability Atlas (SARVA, 2013), originally developed as a hard-copy publication and since evolved
as a web-based information portal in the form of an electronic spatial database. This provides the
most up-to-date information available on the climate change predictions for the country, thus
helping with decisions as to which CSA practices may be most needed and most suitable in different
regions.
Local-scale DSS
The scale at which the CSA is working is essentially local, and perhaps one of the most useful local-
scale approaches developed in recent years is the CGIAR/CCAFS Working Paper 108: Climate Change
& Food Security Vulnerability Assessment Toolkit for assessing community-level potential for
adaptation to climate change (Ulrichs, Cannon, Newsham, Naess, & Marshall, 2015)
While this does not have a specifically CSA focus, vulnerability assessment is critical to an
understanding of climate change impacts and is an essential component of a CSA DSS. The paper
described its purpose aspresenting a toolkit tobe used tounderstand the interrelations between
climateimpacts, foodsystems and livelihood strategies atthe local level.Itapplies a
multidimensionalview of vulnerability of livelihood strategies toclimate change, with a focuson
differentiated accessand entitlementsto livelihood resourcesand food for different groups within
the community (often determined according to gender, ethnicity and socio
-
economicclass). It is
based on a concept of five (5) Dimensions of Vulnerability (DoV), illustrated in the following figure:
Figure 7: The 5 dimensions of vulnerability (CGIAR/CCAFS, 2015)
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For each of these vulnerability dimensions, the paper provides details on what information is
required. There is alsolong section on participatory approaches, techniques and practices, most of
which are fully familiar to the CSA project team, with the activities including:
Transect Walk
Village Map
Historical Timeline and Climate Trends
Well-being Ranking
Livelihood Strategies and Seasonal Calendar
Changing Farming Practices and Crop Ranking
Climate Risk and Coping Mechanisms Matrix
Food System Analysis Causal Flow Diagram
Institutional Mapping and Venn Diagram
This Working Paper clearly provides a very useful approach to the social component of any DSS, and
is eminently adaptable to specific local contexts, and to a CSA focus.
DSS in this research process
A key decision will be whether to develop an internet or computer-based DSS or one which may be
more readily accessible to the emerging farmers with whom the project is working. It is, however,
worth noting here that experience across the world, as detailed in 2 FAO publications: Success
Stories on Information and Communication Technology for Agriculture and Rural Development (FAO,
2015), and E-Agriculture in Action (FAO, Bangkok, 2017), suggest that emerging farmers, certainly in
the Asia-Pacific countries are using internet technology more than might be supposed. More locally,
the Amanzi for Food (www.Amanziforfood.co.za) project in the Eastern Cape has also found that
internet usage among small-scale farmers is higher than might have been expected, and not only
among the younger farmers (WRC project K5/2277, Grahamstown, 2016).
As discussed above the SARVA is now a web-based platform and is quite essential in terms of the
climate predictions it makes for all regions in South Africa. This critical element of any functional DSS
is therefore already web-based, and mediating access to this is essential to support farmers in their
decision-making in relation to CSA practices.
It would seem inevitable that some components of a contemporary DSS will be internet/computer
based, with the challenge being to identify the most appropriate way in which farmers can access
this. However, other components such as local vulnerability assessments, and local solutions, are
almost certainly best designed for and conducted in the traditional form of face-to-face interactions.
Any effective DSS will therefore be a mix of different processes, media and information sources.
Decision-making Process
Whatever the medium (internet or otherwise) employed for a DSS, the fundamental decision-making
process is the same and is presented in the figure below.
It is clear from this model that information and access to information is central to any DSS, and that
the kind of information required is dependent on the type of decision to be made. Although this is
self-evident it does suggest that the starting point for any DSS to support farmers in relation to CSA
is an understanding of the type of decision they will need to make. The support system must
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therefore include a range of options available in terms of the decisions which can be made, and
making accessible the information needed to support the decision-making
Decisions
The key decisions in relation to CSA will almost inevitably focus on the kinds of agricultural practice
which farmers can adopt in order to mitigate the impacts of climate change, and in particular
address issues such as changes in rainfall frequencies and quantities, increases in extreme weather
events and long-term shifts in climatic and seasonal patterns. Many of these practice options are
described in considerable detail in Deliverable 1 of this project, and in a wealth of supporting
materials, access to which is essential for farmers to engage with the DSS meaningfully. The CSA
project can therefore provide farmers with a range of options from which, based on understanding
of these options, on the local situation andthe farmers’ needs and aspirations, they can make
decisions regarding which practice(s), if any, they wish to implement.
Information
The available literature on agricultural DSS generally suggests that qualitative information (also
known as ‘expert’ information) is often held by the decision-maker, in this case the farmer, through
their own lived and learned experience. They understand their own context: their soils; the crops
they can and wish to grow; the livestock they can and wish to raise. They also have a good
understanding of the resources (financial and human) they have available, and the skills and
Yes
No
Implement decision
Select best alternative
Assess/analyse information
Identify options
Begin DSS process
Collect qualitative information
Decision needs to be made
Quantitative
approach/information
needed?
Collect quantitative information
Figure 8:Decision making process (adapted from Heineman, 1988)
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technologies to which they have access. They may not, however, have had direct experience of CSA
practices, and the DSS will need to include a component enabling farmers to learn about these, as
they will need to decide which practices suit their context, and are appropriate for their crops their
resources and skills. In addition, farmers may also need advice in terms of the suitability of practices
in relation to soil types, slope, exposure, rainfall, and crop types. This will be provided through
external qualitative information.
In the Amanzi for Food project (WRC K5/2277) a ‘Navigation Tool’ was developed to assist farmers to
access information in 2 key sets of WRC materials: Water Harvesting and Conservation (Denison
et al., 2011); Agricultural Water Use in Homestead Gardening Systems(Stimie et al., 2010),
and 6 supplementary materials. The Tool provides basic information on the main practices
detailed in these publications, including:
The scale(s) of farming for which the practice is suitable
The main purpose of the practice, with a short description
The levels of resources, skills, technologies and maintenance requirements associated with
each practice
Where and in what form information is provided on each practice, and in which materials
This supports farmers to select which practices might be most appropriate for their situations, and
enables them to access easily detailed information on the practices. In essence it can be seen as a
decision support tool. The CSA DSS can either include the Navigation Tool as it stands, or adapt it, or
develop a similar tool specific to the CSA practices the project is promoting, although these are
almost entirely compatible with the Rainwater Harvesting and Conservation practices promoted in
the Amanzi for Food project (see the Amanzi for Food case study in this report).
Analysis
The process of analysing the available (qualitative) information in order to reach a decision is
inevitably, to some degree, subjective, depending on the farmers’ needs and aspirations. However,
it is possible to reduce the subjectivity to some degree by prioritising the variable factors in terms of
their importance in any given situation. This will require further work, but, for example, the
prioritisation could be to place the variables in the following order:
Effectiveness of the practice in any particular context this will probably require external
input in terms of analysis of the soils, slope, exposure, average rainfall, crop type etc.
Financial cost to the farmer of implementing the practice
Level of technology required for the practice
Maintenance implications
Level of skill required
Considerations for selecting sites and participants
By Khethiwe Mthetwa, Mazwi Dlamini, Bobbie Louton
Participant selection
In qualitative research, Sargeant ( (Sargeant, 2012) explains that -
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Qualitative research is purposeful; participants are selected who can best inform the
research questionsand enhance understanding of the phenomenon under study.
Decisions regarding selection are based on the research questions, theoretical
perspectives, and evidence informing the study. The subjects sampled must be able
to inform important facets and perspectives related to the phenomenon being
studied.
If quantitative research is conducted, however, it requires standardization of procedures and
random selection of participants in order to minimize the potential influence of external variables
and maximise the generalizability of results (ibid). In qualitative research, however, the sample size
is not generally predetermined. The number of participants depends upon the number required to
inform fully all the important elements of the phenomenon being studied. That is, the sample size is
sufficient when additional interviews or focus groups do not result in identification of new concepts,
an end point called data saturation. To determine when data saturation occurs, analysis ideally occurs
concurrently with data collection in an iterative cycle.
Sargeant continues to give a good description of how the rigour of qualitative data can be ensured.
Within qualitative research, two main strategies promote the rigor and quality of the research:
ensuring the quality or ‘‘authenticity’’ of the data and the quality or ‘‘trustworthiness’’ of the analysis.
Authenticity of the data refers to the quality of the data and data collection procedures. Elements to
consider include:
-Sampling approach and participant selection to enable the research question to be
addressed appropriately and reduce the potential of having a biased sample.
-Data triangulation refers to using multiple data sources to produce a more comprehensive
view of the phenomenon being studied e.g using multiple sites and/or disciplines.
-Using the appropriate method to answer the research questions, considering the nature of
the topic being explored, eg, individual interviews rather than focus groups are generally
more appropriate for topics of a sensitive nature.
-Using interview and other guides that are not biased or leading, ie, that do not ask questions
in a way that may lead the participant to answer in a particular manner.
-The researcher’s and research team’s relationships to the study setting and participants
need to be explicit,
-The researcher’s and team members’ own biases and beliefs relative to the phenomenon
understudy must be made explicit, and, when necessary, appropriate steps must be taken to
reduce their impact on the quality of data collected, eg, by selecting a neutral ‘‘third party’’
interviewer.
Trustworthiness of the analysis refers to the quality of data analysis. Elements to consider when
assessing the quality of analysis include:
-Analysis process: is this clearly described, eg, the roles of the team members, what was
done, timing, and sequencing? Is it clear how the data codes or categories were developed?
Does the process reflect best practices, eg, comparison of findings within and among
transcripts, and use of memos to record decision points?
-Procedure for resolving differences in findings and among team members: this needs to be
clearly described.
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-Process for addressing the potential influence the researchers’ views and beliefs may have
upon the analysis.
-Use of a qualitative software program: if used, how was this used? (Sargeant, 2012)
Given the team’s decision to work in sites where the organisation and it’s partners are already
active, field staff of Mahlathini Development Foundation did an analysis of pros and cons of this
approach in terms of good community engagement practice. These are outlined below.
PROS:
Already know the peopleand their preferences
Have gained trust
Know what they’re likely to do
Know the dynamics
Better able to work for equal power dynamics, as we know the players
Already have a profile
Already connected to structures in the area, can connect with other players in the area
Especially with the Departments who are not financially limited and can take things forward
An overlap of participants between projects helps with disseminating, embedding ideas
Already have some technical information and know conditions and problems with soils for
example and know the pitfalls
Better sense of what’s realistic to try because we know the area
We have an understanding of cultural aspects, what is allowed, who does what in terms of
labour
Some people will not try until they see the new ideas you know the people who will be your
‘bait’ -No one wants to be left out which creates a high rate of acceptance/interest
CONS:
Researcher bias about who they like to work with
Bring in baggage from previous experiences which can excludesomeparticipants and which
skews results
Community members who had a bad experience with the research team in the past will not
be willing to try new ideas
If your powerhouse person doesn’t show the results you wanted, others lose confidence
Can have too many takers how to do it without leaving people behind
Competition over participants (Pers comm M Dlamini, K Mthethwa, T Mathebula 2017)
It may be easier to work with new groups in existing project areas, than in new communities, as
people would have heard about the interventions in neighbouring villages. This may be a natural
extension of working in existing communities. Starting in new communities have a number of
drawbacks including
It takes a lot of time and money to mobilize people and try to communicate the ideas
It can be hard to convince people to try new ideas and
There are lots of protocols working with traditional authorities and while one is busy with
these issues, not much can be done on the ground.
Criteria for selecting participants have been suggested by the field work team as:
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Household level- rather than group based projects such as community gardens or
cooperatives
Participants should already be producing
Participants should be selected in geographical clusters so that they are reasonably close
to each other to facilitate their interaction
Choices for participants should be gender inclusive
The gardens/fields should be fenced: With regard to this criterium, they felt it is a good
idea for the experimentation side of thins but can cause issues of giving preference to
better resourced individuals in the community. Sometimes these individuals are also not
that keen to used their fenced land for the implementation.
It would be an idea to set up a CoP that is open to all smallholders/ producers, but have
central group or person such as a local facilitator, who liaises and organises, to divert
power from the research team. CoPs need to become strong enough to help members
address issues. These CoPs are also engaged in slef monitoring a collecting and analysing
data; according to the principles of Participatory Action Research
Community members self- select to be part of a CoP using a list of criteria that they have
been involved in setting up.
There should be a selected number for inputs/data collection per site. It does not have
to be everyone involved as long as the criteria for receiving inputs and doing data
collection are clearly set out and are acceptable to the broader CoP.
It is a good idea to map all the stakeholders involved with the CoP and to recognise the
contribution of other organisations in the community so that different organisations
do not work at cross purposes in one area.
It would also be an idea to create a participatory landscape map (with photos) such as
a transect walk, that represents the system, the issues, the adaptation and the successes
of the CoP (pers comm M Dlamini, T Mathebula 2017).
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3TECHNICAL METHODOLOGIES
By Jon McCosh
Draft method for evaluating the effect of CSA practices on soil, water and yield
This chapter provides an overview of the proposed research approach to evaluate the effect of CSA
practices on soil quality, plant water and crop yield. Firstly, visual soil assessment indicators are
discussed these are qualitative indicators of soil health. Secondly, crop growth indicators are
outlined. Thirdly, an overview of laboratory and instrument measurements that will be required are
shown. Finally, we seek to link the visual soil indicators to the results from instrument and
laboratory measurements to determine how qualitative indicators compare with the measured
results to evaluate their suitability as indicators of key production and soil health parameters.
Visual soil assessment indicators
This section describes the approach to evaluating the effect of CSA practices on soil health and
quality, soil water and yield. We start by considering various Visual Soil Assessment (VSA)
methodologies. VSAs are used as indicators of soil health (also known as soil quality and soil
condition), which can be defined as:
“… the capacity of a specific kind of soil to function within natural or managed ecosystem boundaries
to sustain plant and animal productivity; maintain or enhance water and air quality; and support
human health and habitation.” (USDA, 2001)
Soil physical properties (e.g texture, minerology) are largely dependent on the parent material from
which the soil is derived as well as climate, topography and time. These properties are inherent soil
properties and are. unlikely to change in the short term. Soil quality on the other hand refers to the
dynamic properties of the soil that can be affected by management practices, which should aim to
improve soil quality. Consequently, the evaluation of soil quality attributes are most suited to
comparing the quality of a given field or area over time, rather than comparing different fields, as
soils have different inherent physical properties.
Various VSA methodologies are available for assessing soil quality. Three methodologies were
reviewed:
Visual soil assessment guide: field crops (FAO, 2008)
Willammette valley soil quality guide by Oregon State University (Oregon State University,
2009)
Guidelines for soil quality assessment in conservation planning (USDA, 2001)
Of the three reports reviewed, all had a similar set of components, namely (1) a set of indicators and
descriptions of their relevance or importance, (2) a set tools and methodologies for assessment of
indicators and (3) a scorecard.
The indicators are very similar across all methodologies as shown in Error! Reference source not
found..Based on a review of the methodologies, the Oregon State University approach was chosen
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as it was considered simplest to apply in the field, was co-developed with farmers, while still
addressing the most important indicators. The single exception is that workability, which refers to
ease of ploughing has been excluded as regular tillage operations are not indicated as a CSA practice.
Table 8: A comparison of soil indicators across different VSA methodologies
FAO (2008)
Oregon State University (2009)
USDA (2001)
Soil texture
Soil structure and tilth
Earthworms
Soil structure
Compacted layers
Soil organisms
Soil Porosity
Workability
Smell
Soil colour
Soil organisms
Surface organic material
Number and colour of soil mottles
Earthworm abundance
Residue composition
Earthworms
Plant residue
Compaction
Potential rooting depth
Plant vigour
Workability
Surface ponding
Root growth
Soil tilth / structure
Surface crusting and surface cover
Water infiltration
Porosity
Soil erosion
Water availability
Crusting
Soil management of annual crops
Water infiltration
Drainage
Water holding capacity
Erosion
Crop vigour / appearance
Plant roots
Root mass
Salts
Sodium
A brief description of each indicator, their relevance to soil health and how management affects the
indicator is provided in 10.
Table 9: Description of the relevance of each indicator and how management affects the indicator
Indicator
Relevance
Management
Soil structure
and tilth
Soil structure and tilth refers to how the soil
particles are arranged. Ideally soils should have
a good ‘crumb’ structure which means that
there are sufficient spaces between the
particles to allow the movement of water and
air.
Increasing plant residue and soil organic matter
improves soil tilth.
Machinery operations that allow compaction and
leaving bare soils over winter result in poor tilth
and structure
Compacted
layers
Compaction limits air and water movement,
which in turn limits root growth. The lack of air
also limits the number of soil organisms.
Compaction can be caused by machinery
operations that compact the top layers of soil. In
addition, plough pans from the action of the
plough on the lower soils can compact the lower
soil. Cover crops and organic matter addition can
reduce soil compaction.
Soil organisms
A healthy soil food web has a high diversity of
soil organisms. The different organisms all have
a rolet to play in nutrient cycling in the soil as
well as soil structure. A diversity of soil
Tillage and the use of pesticides disrupts and
suppresses soil organism populations, while
maintaining organic covers and organic residue
promotes healthy and diverse organism
populations.
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organisms also helps to suppress pests and
diseases.
Earthworms
Earthworms are recognised as important
indictors of good agricultural soils. Earthworms
increase the cycling of organic matter, mix up
the soil and break up raw plant material. Their
movements in the soil create passageways that
improve aeration and water infiltration.
As with soil organisms above, tillage and
pesticides suppress earthworm populations, while
organic residues and cover crops promote
earthworm populations
Plant residue
Residue of crops or added organic matter is
critical for maintaining many of the soil health
indicators described in this table.
Cover crops and addition of organic residues
promotes organic matter formation and soil
health.
Healthy soils should have organic matter at
different stages of decomposition, from whole
plant parts, through to plant fibres and dark
humus.
Plant vigour
Refers to the health of plants in the field,
including uniform height, uniform healthy
colour and reaching maturity at the same time.
While vigour can be difficult to assess because of
management practices like fertiliser inputs and
pests that may affect growth, health soils should
show healthy plant growth of both crops and
weeds.
Root growth
Roots provide anchorage for the plant and
exchange nutrients from the soil. Good root
growth indicates a diverse soil organism
population, adequate soil aeration (porosity)
and nutrient cycling. Good root growth also
means that there are no compacted or
impeding layers in the soil.
Practices that encourage good root growth
include good tillage practices that don’t result in
compaction, promoting higher soil organic matter
factors that promote good plant vigour also
promote healthy roots.
Water
infiltration
Good infiltration means less runoff and erosion,
while more water is available in the soil for the
crop. Good infiltration also means that the soil
drains quicker and that air can enter the soil.
Note: soils inherent texture properties can limit
infiltration, but this can be ameliorated with
management practices.
Tillage should preserve soil structure. Cover crops
and the addition of soil residues should improve
soil aggregate stability and consequently
infiltration.
Water
availability
This refers to the water that is available in the
soil for plant use (i.e. can be extracted from the
soil by the plant). Good water availability also
indicates that soil structure and organic matter
are in a desirable state.
Practices that reduce compaction and lower bulk
density improve water availability.
Crop development indicators
Building from the visual soil indicators, we have also included a set of plant indicators that have been
derived through recent work with small growers through a GrainSA funded project (Kruger E. ,
Conservation Agriculture Farmer Innovation Programme: Final Report, 2016) .These are:
% soil cover at planting (From 0% - no cover to 100% full cover; Cover of the soil looking
from above- can be crop residue, weeds, mulch, grass etc)
% crop cover at 6-8 weeks (From 0% - no cover to 100% full cover; Cover of the soil looking
from above- crop cover/ canopy)
% Weed infestation (0%- very high weed incidence, complete yield loss; to 100%- no weeds
zero yield loss)
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% Pest occurrence (0%- very high infestation, complete yield loss, to 100%- no insect pests
and zero yield loss)
% growth (germination, colour, height, health)
The intention of these indicators is to find a way in which field observations can be used to assess
the level of implementation, and change for each participant testing CSA practices. These criteria
have been chosen to have a management element within them, although they would of course be
sensitive also to environmental changes and conditions.
The criteria/indicators need to be robust enough to:
- Be easily observed or measured by;
- A number of different enumerators and
-Across different areas and sites;
But also, sensitive enough to show the effects of changes in management practices by participant
smallholders. In this report, the indicators used thus far are assessed and discussed and
recommendations are made for adaptations into the future.
Field research and laboratory measurements / indicators
In addition to the VSA and crop development indicators, a number of instrument-and laboratory
based measurements will be required. These include soil physical and chemical properties, weather,
soil water and yield, which are described in more detail in Table 11. Included in the table is an
indication of how important the measurement is (necessary, preferred or optional) and the intervals
at which measurements should be taken.
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Table 10: Key production parameters to be measured through instrumentation and laboratory analysis
Linking the parameters
A matrix is provided in Table 12 of how the VSA indicators link to the soil physical and chemical
properties and ultimately to yield. Important observations from the matrix are that:
Bulk density is an important measurement across all VSA indicators. Compaction increases bulk
density, which reduces soil aeration and consequently soil organisms. Higher bulk density
equates to lower water infiltration and lower water availability. Conversely, high levels of plant
residue and soil organisms should improve soil structure and consequently bulk density.
Hydraulic conductivity is affected by soil structure a good structure will improve hydraulic
conductivity; compacted layers will reduce hydraulic conductivity, while a healthy soil organism
population will increase hydraulic conductivity and in the A horizon.
Carbon in the soil can provide information on soil fertility, available nutrients and soil organisms
this is an important measure for soil health.
Exhangeable bases are an indication of the soil’s ability to hold and exchange base nutreients.
While this is largely dependent on clay content and soil pH (higher pH means more bases
Soil Physical Properties
Importance
(Necessary,
Preferred,
Optional)
Intervals
TextureNecessaryOnce off
Bulk DensityNecessaryAt beginning and after each harvest
Saturated Hydraulic Conductivity - surfacePreferredOnce off
Saturated Hydraulic Conductivity - below surfacePreferredOnce off
Structure - Mean Weight DiameterOptionalAt beginning and after each harvest
Retentivity CurvesPreferredOnce off
Soil Chemical Properties
CarbonNecessaryAt beginning and after each harvest
N,P,KNecessaryAt beginning and after each harvest
pH NecessaryAt beginning and after each harvest
Electrical ConductivityOptionalAt beginning and after each harvest
Exchangeable Bases / Cation Exchange CapacityPreferredAt beginning and after each harvest
Soil health indicators*NecessaryAt beginning and after each harvest
Weather
Automated Weather Station (AWS)NecessaryResearch duration - constant logging
Rain guagesNecessaryResearch duration - manual recording
Water
Watermark sensor (nests of 3at 300, 600 and 1200mm)
NecessaryResearch duration - constant logging
Soil temperature sensors to go with watermarksNecessaryResearch duration - constant logging
Loggers to go with watermarksNecessaryResearch duration - constant logging
Manual Gravimetric water samplingNecessaryDuring set phases of crop development
Hand moisture tests (numerical scale)NecessaryDuring set phases of crop development
Runoff plotsNecessaryResearch duration - regular manual recording
Yield
Biomass (non-edible) - Dry MatterNecessaryAt harvest
Grain / edible component - Dry MatterNecessaryAt harvest
Leaf Area IndexOptionalDuring set phases of crop development
Leaf nutrientsOptionalDuring set phases of crop development
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available to plants), higher organic and soil organism presence would increase nutrient cycling
and availability.
Measurable yield is linked to all indicators good soil health will result in higher relative yields,
all other factors being equal.
Table 11: Matrix of linkages between VSA and measured parameters
Soil Physical
Properties
Description
Soil
structure
and tilth
Compacted
layers
Soil
organisms
Earthworm
abundance
Plant
residue
Plant
vigour
Root
growth
Water
infiltration
Water
availability
Texture
Inherent soil property - relative proportions
of sand, silt and clay
Bulk Density
Lower bulk density means higher porosity
and good structure
Saturated Hydraulic
Conductivity - surface
Rate at which water moves into soil surface
under saturated conditions - the higher this
is, more water in the soil and less runoff
Saturated Hydraulic
Conductivity - below
surface
Rate at which water moves into below the
surface under saturated conditions - the
higher this is, more water in the soil and less
runoff
Structure - Mean
Weight Diameter
Indicates how well formed the soil peds are -
links to soil structure
Retentivity Curves
Gives and indication of plant available water -
largely an inherent soil property, but can be
improved with better structure and organic
content
Soil Chemical
Properties
CarbonIndicator of organic matter in the soil
N,P,KIndicator of soil fertility
pH pH affects the availability of plant nutrients
Electrical
Conductivity
EC indicates the concentration of dissolved
salts in the soil
Exchangeable Bases /
Cation Exchange
Capacity
This refers to the ability of the soil to hold
bases (e.g. Ca, Mg, Phosphates) and
exchange them with plant roots
Soil health indicators
Weather
Automated Weather
Station (AWS)
Provides rainfall, evapotranspiration
information
Rain guagesRainfall information
Water
Watermark sensor
(nests of 3 at 300, 600
and 1200mm)
Gives and indication of plant available water
by measuring the the matric potential of the
soil
Soil temperature
sensors to go with
watermarks
Used to calibrate watermark data
Loggers to go with
watermarks
Logs matric potential at regular intervals
Manual Gravimetric
water sampling
Manual sampling of gravimetric water
content can be used to calibrate watermarks
and will allow comparison against sites
where watermark sensors are not installed
Hand moisture tests
(numerical scale)
Durign the gravimetric water sampling,
participating farmers will be asked to give a
numerical indication of their perception of
soil moisture content (1 = dry, 5 = wet)
Runoff plots
Used to indicate soil infiltration and erosion
risk
Yield
Biomass (non-edible)
- Dry Matter
This is the oven dried mass of a sample of
biomass (i.e. stover)
Grain / edible
component - Dry
Matter
This is the oven dried mass of a sample of the
edible yield (i.e. grain, pulse)
Leaf Area Index
An indicator of crop growth and canopy used
to indicate crop growth rate
Leaf nutrients
Can be used as a proxy indicator for plant
available nutrients in the soil
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Way forward
The proposed methodology for linking CSA practices on soil, water and yield will be developed
further based on research team discussions to identify the critical parameters that the research
should focus on to inform the Decision Support System.
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4CASE STUDIES
Climate Change Adaptation, Limpopo
By Erna Kruger
Description of the programme
RESILIM-O is large multi-faceted, multi-stakeholder, cross-boundary programme to reduce
vulnerability to climate change through building improved transboundary water and biodiversity
governance and management of the Olifants Basin through the adoption of science-based strategies
that enhance the resilience of its people and ecosystems through systemic and social learning
approaches. The programme has been running for four years and is being implemented by AWARD
(The Association for Water and Rural Development) with funding from USAID.
The Agricultural Support Initiative (AgriSI) was initiated as a sub-grant process within the larger
programmed towards the end of 2016. This initiative works specifically with climate change
adaptation processes with smallholder communities in the lower Olifants River basin. It is being
implemented jointly by Mahlathini Development Foundation and AWARD.
The Agricultural Support Initiative (AgriSI) addresses two of the RESILIM-O programme objectives
directly:
i.To institutionalize systemic, collaborative planning and action for resilience of ecosystems and
associated livelihoods through enhancing the capacity of stakeholders to sustainably manage
natural resources of the Olifants River Basin under different scenarios
ii.To reduce vulnerability to climate change and other factors by supporting collective action,
informed adaptation strategies and practices and tenable institutional arrangements.
The overall aim of the Agricultural Support Initiative is to enhance the resilience of the people and
ecosystems in selected villages (5-6) in the Lower Olifants River basin, using a systemic social
learning approach, exploring the question: What are you learning about the socio-economic and
biophysical characteristics of your environment and how these are changing and how are you able to
respond to that?
The overarching objective of this work is to provide support for increased adaptive capacity and
resilience to the effects of climate change for households involved in agriculture in select
communities of the Olifants River Catchment through:
- Improved soil and water conservation and agro-ecological practices for increased food
security;
- Livelihood diversification and supplementation through alternative climate resistant
production; and
- Increased community empowerment as a result of self-organisation and collective action.
Problem
A key vulnerability which was identified during Phase I of this programme isthe potential for
increasing food insecurity under climate changing conditions, especially for the poor in former
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Apartheid bantustans into which many people were forcibly re-settled. Not only are poor land-use
practices impacting production and ecological health and integrity but these impacts are likely to be
greatly exacerbated under the hotter and more erratic rainfall conditions that are predicted for the
Lowveld as a result of climate change. For example, with a 2OC increase maize farming and livestock
production is likely to become marginal whilst with a 4OC increase both will be untenable (AWARD;
internal reports 2016).
Small-scale farming is widely evident throughout communal lands ranging in scale from small, so-
called ‘backyard’ gardens to larger plots of between 0.5 and 2 ha. All of these are individually
farmed. These form an important component of livelihood security and in particular, offer important
safety-nets in times of crises.
However, not only are current poor farming practices exposing farmers to unnecessary risks through
loss of ecological health but these are likely to be highly exacerbated with climate change. Current
practices typically do little to manage water movement and retention, soil health and loss and offer
little resilience in terms of crop choices, for example. From a social and institutional perspective
there is little evidence of farmers working together to learn from each other or others or to plan for
the future. Collective action and the ability to self-organise are regarded as critical components of
adaptive capacity. Furthermore, although some farmers have indicated that they have heard of
climate change, none expressed a sense of urgency and few voiced any ideas about how to respond.
This suggests that collectively they are not resilient in a way that the magnitude of the impacts of
climate change might demand. Building adaptive capacity for food security is thus a key priority of
the project.
Rationale
Sound agro-ecological practices for soil and water conservation (SWC) and the ability to self-organise
and act collectively are regarded as fundamental for building adaptive capacity and resilience. Not
only do agro-ecological farming approaches require minimum external inputs which may be
expensive and increase dependency if subsidised but they foster farmers sense that they can build
sustainable futures from local inputs and efforts. With knowledge about the potential impacts of
climate change included in the learning journey, farmers can make purposeful decisions around
practices such as seed and crop-type. This approach supports livelihood diversification also
fundamental for increased resilience through ‘value-added’ associated activities such as seedling
production, tree nurseries and bee-keeping.
The overarching objective of this work is to provide support for increased adaptive capacity and
resilience to the effects of climate change for households involved in agriculture in select
communities of the Olifants River Catchment through:
- Improved soil and water conservation and agro-ecological practices for increased food
security
- Livelihood diversification and supplementation through alternative climate resistant
production;
- Increased community empowerment as a result of self-organisation and collective action.
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Implementation of practices
Six villages were given priority due to their medium to high vulnerability status with respect to food
security under climate changing conditions and the existence of already active and interested
smallholders. These villages, shown in Error! Reference source not found., are Botshabelo (Mabins
A); Mametja (Mabins B); Lepelle; Willows, The Oaks and Finale.
Figure 9: Map showing the location of the project site villages along the lower Olifants River
In each of the villages a CCA baseline was constructed through group explorations and discussions
dealing with the present situation in the villages, past, present and future agricultural practices and
present and future adaptations that could improve resilience, productivity and diversification.
In addition, a baseline household survey was conducted with 34 (of around 108) participants with
the intention of using this baseline to track changes and livelihoods improvements. The majority of
participants were women between the ages of 18 to 84 years. The household sizes average around 5
members and for the majority of participants (68%) reporting their monthly household income to be
lower or equal to R3200/ month. This equates to around R20 per household member per day.
Around 30% of respondents suggested a household income of between R3200-R6400/ month. See
the figure below for the detailed breakdown.
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Figure 10 Ranges of household income and streams of income reported by participants.
Sources of income include social grants as the primary and most common source (62%. Wages from
day labour, selling of local produce, small businesses, support from family members and rentals
provide further sources of income in a descending order of contribution. It is interesting to note that
sale of local produce provides and income source for almost half (44%) of the respondents
indicating smallholder farming as a central livelihoods’ component in these villages.
Nearly all respondents reported that they grew vegetables (94%) and fruit (4%). The majority also
farmed field crops (91%), herbs and other multifunctional plants (86%) and livestock (68%). In terms
of their diversification of farming enterprises; looking at the number of different products within
these, there was far more diversification of vegetables and fruits than of field crops, livestock or
herbs and other vegetation. Most of the households grew only one type of field crop; none grew
more than 3. The same was true of livestock.
Figure 11 Number of participants with one or more type of produce for different types of farming enterprises
0%
6%
10%
26%
26%
29%
3%
R0
R50-R400
R400-R800
R800-R1600
R1600-R3200
R3200-R6400
R6400-R12800
Household income
6%
6%
18%
38%
38%
44%
50%
62%
Renting
Disability
Family
Business
Pension
Local produce
Wage
Social grant
Streams of income
1 2 3 4 5 6
Vegetables 7 9 4 5 1 2
Fruit 75 11 531
Herbs 17 4 20
Field crops18 6 2
Livestock 12 5 4
0
2
4
6
8
10
12
14
16
18
20
Axis Title
Diversification of types of farming
enterprises
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The diversity of types ofvegetables, fruits, field crops, livestock and herbs and other vegetation that
were reported are shown in Figures 6 to 8 below.
Figure 12: Percentage of participants who reported growing different vegetables
Figure 13: Percentage of participants who reported growing different fruit and field crops
Figure 14: Percentage of participants who reported growing different herbs or multifunctional plants or raising livestock
Only 79% of respondents reported using any soil fertility management practices meaning that 7 of
the 34 respondents just plant their crops without addition of any soil fertility amelioration; believing
that the soils can naturally provide fertility and that addition of manure can burn their crops. Of
those respondents that do practice soil fertility management strategies, the application of livestock
manure was by far the most common practice, reported by 75% of those using soil fertility
41%
31% 28%
22% 19% 19% 19% 16% 16% 13%
6% 6% 6% 3% 3% 3% 3% 3% 3% 3% 3%
Vegetables
77%
55% 48%
32% 26% 16% 13% 10% 6% 3% 3% 3%
Fruit
78%
16% 13% 6%
Field crops
36% 36%
20% 20% 16%
4% 4% 4% 4% 4%
Herbs/multifunctional plants
62% 62%
33%
5%
Livestock
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management practices. Other practices that were mentioned were the use of plant residues, use of
legumes, commercial fertilizer, compost and sawdust .
Figure 15: Soil fertility practices reported by participants
Present implementation of good farming practices was explored with the respondents. A number of
different themes were explored See Figure 10 below. These included for example:
The use of dedicated beds and specific bed design practices for soil and water management
such as the construction of furrows and ridges or planting basins (garden beds). Around
50% of respondents use these practices
Water management in the form of use of greywater and rainwater harvesting (RWH) are
being practiced by 85% and 35% of respondents respectively.
Propagation in the form of seed saving and nursery management is being practised by 62%
and 47% of respondents respectively
And Multipurpose plants such as propagation of medicinal plants and growing and use of
indigenous fruit trees (such as Marula and Makgogoba) are being practiced by 76% of
respondents.
85% of respondents manage to eat produce from their gardens on a weekly basis, on average 3
times per week and harvesting between 1-3 different crop types in this time. 56% of respondents
make a small income from their production practices- mostly from the sale of fruit and vegetables.
They make an average of around R150-R300/month from sale of vegetables and as much as R6400/
season for sale of mangoes and making of Marula beer, although the average is around R1 500 per
season.
7%
7%
7%
11%
15%
19%
78%
sawdust
LAN
compost
fertilizer
legumes
residue
livestock maure
Soil fertility management practices
WRC K4/2719 Deliverable 2: Report on stakeholder engagement, case study development and site identification
Mahlathini Development Foundation August 201765
Figure 16:Local good practice in farming activities
Another outcome of this survey was the ability to design methodologies and practices for
implementation that build on the local good practices and traditions and incorporate local
innovations into the learning processes.
Methodology
The methodology of this project involves working with groups of interested farmers (learning
groups) in selected villages by building a local picture of risk and resilience (socio-ecological) using a
systems approach (vision and principles), scenario planning (farm design processes) and a spiral
model of implementation (action and learning). Participants try out new ideas (farmer level
experimentation) individually and jointly and through a process of reflection and adaptation of these
ideas enhance their adaptive capacity.
Emphasis is being placed on methodologies and approaches for improved soil and water
conservation strategies, livelihood diversification (increased and diversified production of
vegetables, fruit and field crops and integration of small livestock) and value adds (such as
entrepreneurial opportunities and diversification of income options).
Monitoring is important and in addition to monitoring being conducted by the facilitators (both
trainers and local champions/facilitators) a local framework for self and peer assessment and
monitoring of progress is employed using the ‘five fingers’ principles (developed by AWARD) for on
farm practices, to enhance abilities for self-organisation and collective action. Local criteria for
assessment of each ‘finger’ (things we are doing and changing) are to be developed alongside an
easy scoring process to track implementation and progress. Each finger represents a principle as
follows:
- Water Management: Manage water movement so as to slow down the water speed so as to
reduce erosion and enhance infiltration
- Soil management:Manage soil movement so as to limit erosion and soil loss
- Soil health: Manage soil so as to maintain or improve soil health (nutrients and structure)
- Plant (Crop) Management: Manage plants and crops so as to ensure plants appropriate for
the area and to meet the vision
- Looking after indigenous plants: Enhance practices that maintain indigenous fauna and flora
and ecosystem health of the area
05 10 15 20 25 30 35
Garden beds
RWH
Nursery
Farming income
Garden
beds
Multipurp
ose plantsRWH Grey
water useNursery Seed
saving
Farming
income
Food
(x/wk)
Good practices17 26 29 12 16 21 19 29
Local good practise (n=34)
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A key component of building adaptive capacity
(resilience building) is strengthening peoples’ ability
to self-organise, to learn together and to act
collectively. Aspects included in the design process
are:
- The collaborative identification of
champions/local facilitators in each village
to act as local facilitators and motivators for
change;
- Working with learning groups within and
between villages;
- Networking and meeting with others
(within group and external);
- Building locally appropriate collaborative
activities (such as seedling production, small
nurseries, village level savings groups, joint
work parties, sharing resources and joint
input supply and marketing processes)
Learning and innovation workshops have been
held covering a range of themes within soil and
water conservation, greywater management,
intensive gardening techniques, micro climate
management (tunnels) and improved irrigation
practices.
The box alongside outlines a list of practices
introduced in the learning groups for farmer
experimentation and implementation.
Local facilitators were elected for each learning
group to support the group and undertake the
household-level garden monitoring for each
participant.
The feasibility of implementation of new
practices at a local level with available resources
has been an important consideration. Thus, kits
are provided for the tunnels, grey water
filtration and drip irrigation that are constructed
locally. For the underground storage tanks,
support has been provided in terms of technical
advice and materials, while the construction
itself is done by local teams and individuals.
Climate Smart Agriculture practices introduced in
the AgriSI learning groups in the lower Olifants
River basin.
Soil and Water Conservation
-Cut off drains ditches across a contour at top
of garden/catchment
-Contours - measured with line level
-Diversion ditches - carry water to the garden
-Stone lines/bunds - made on contour
-Banana pits
-Improved furrows and ridges - made on
contour with mulching and plantings
Gardening practices
-Dedicated paths and beds
-Mixed cropping; companion planting
-Mulching
-Trench beds
-Shallow trenches - an easier version of
trenches incorporating manure and OM in a
30cm ditch or line, covering and planting on
and next to that
-Eco-circles - combines double digging with
bottle irrigation
-Incorporation of manure - large quantities
-Making improved manure - composting
manure with grass and OM and inclusion of
urine fraction from kraaling
-Making compost
-Liquid manures
-Pest control brews: Chilli-soap derivatives,
onion-paraffin derivatives,
-Planting of herbs (mixed in veg beds, incl.
coriander, parsley, fennel, chives, lemon balm,
lavender, rosemary)
-Seed successions; seed beds with a range of
seed (diversification) planted in succession for
continual supply of seedlings, incl. okra,
brinjal, green peppers, Amaranthus, mustard
spinach, Chinese cabbage, kale, leeks, spring
onions, broccoli, cauliflower, among others)
Field cropping
-Conservation agriculture; clos spacing and
inclusion of lime and bone meal with manure
-Diversified crops; maize, millet sorghum, sugar
beans cowpeas
-Intercropping
Associated practices
-Greywater management and use; ash, tower
gardens
-Greywater bucket filter
-Drip kits
-Small nurseries; propagation of fruit and
indigenous crops and trees
-Tunnels
-RWH storage tanks (underground)
-Soil erosion control; check dams, stone packs…
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Figure 17: Left: A group of participants from the Oaks and Lepelle construct a tunnel together. Right: A working tunnel in
Sedawa, where the drip kits have also been installed and crops are planted in trench beds. Mulching is in evidence.
Outcomes and learnings
An implementation and learning review was conducted in April 2017 for all learning groups to
provide an opportunity for members from all 6 villages to visit a good working example of
innovations and good practices in agroecology and soil and water conservation and review their
practices. This also provided an opportunity to mentor the local facilitators and showcase the work
to stakeholders such as AWARD and other NGOs, the local municipality, and representatives from
government. The process and learnings from this review are presented below to illustrate the
potential benefit of both CSA practices and the community based systemic approach.
Figure 18: Introduction of facilitators (left) and discussion of practices (right) at implementation review
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The definition of the five fingers as broad principles in
good practice for climate change adaptation was reviewed
with the group. Participants named the five fingers
(easily!!) and gave a few brief examples of what they
meant. Good practices were elicited from the group and
then assessed using the traffic light method for how well
they are being implemented by the groups in each village.
We arranged the scale as shown in the box alongside. The
table below describes the outcomes of this exercise. Participants were fully engaged and really
enjoyed this process.
Table 12: Summary of monitoring assessments for CSA and good practice implementation by learning group members
Note 1: The percentages in the last column represent the number of participants who indicated they had implemented the practices. This
is indicative only as there were community members present who had not yet been involved as well as a number of visitors.
Note 2: Practices highlighted in light grey are those for which participants felt they needed more input and mentoring.
Principles
Practices
Assessments
(traffic light)
Percentage implementation in
the group
Water
Management
Cut off drains and swales
Not yet implemented by most
participants
Diversion ditches
~20% (10/52)
Greywater (filtration, use)
~8%
Small dams
~14%
Organic matter (incorporation in soil)- leaves,
bones, woodchips etc buried to increase
water holding and fertility
~60%
Drip irrigation
~6%
Saving water; Rainwater harvesting in drums,
management of leaks of communal stand
pipes, no longer letting irrigation water run
24/7 - Lepelle
All participants involved in some
way in saving water
Control soil
movement and
erosion
Stone bunds
~24%
Banana basins and circles
~22%
Strip cropping (aloes, sisal) and planting grass
to reduce run-off
~8%
Contours- water flow for collection
Not yet implemented
Ridges and furrows-planting of crops on
ridges; sweet potato, sunflowers…
~30%
Sacks with sand for rehabilitation of gulleys
~2%
Crop
management
Planting in basins, mulching and direct
watering of basins only
~60%
Close spacing in field crops and vegetables
~20% - Not everyone agreed
with this practice
Planting to provide afternoon shade and
planting windbreaks
~22% - Not everyone agreed
with this practice
Crop rotation and intercropping
~52%
Natural pest control
~18%
Conservation Agriculture
~36% - more ideas to be tried
Soil fertility
Trench beds
~60%
Mulch
~60%
Liquid manure
~20%
Compost
~46%
Application of manure (cattle, chickens)
~70%
Legumes; planting for food and soil fertility
~68%
Looking after
indigenous
plants
Stop burning veld
No one doing and not needed or
all areas
Don’t chop whole trees- just cut branches
Most participants
Plant indigenous trees in the yards to protect
and save them
Most participants
Scale usedfor assessment of practices
and their implementation
RED: We know about this but have not
done very much
YELLOW: We have started implementing
these practices, or a few individuals
already use these, but there is room for
expansion
GREEN: These practices are implemented
by most of the participants.
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Small group stations were set up for physical demonstration. The Local Facilitators ran the stations.
The following stations were set up, each with a board of illustrative photographs:
WATER MANAGEMENT:Diversion ditches, waterflow line levels and making furrows and ridges on
contour, planting on ridges and mulching were discussed.
TRENCH BEDS: The packing of trenches was discussed as was mixed cropping, mulching and a micro
drip kit irrigation system. The use of herbs as pest repellent plants and for nutritional and medicinal
purposes was also discussed and demonstrated.
TUNNELS: The Local Facilitators took participants through the construction process of the tunnel and
discussed advantages and potential disadvantages of crop production in tunnels. The larger drip kit
(210 L) was also demonstrated and discussed.
CONSERVATION AGRICULTURE AND LIQUID MANURE: the principles and practices of conservation
agriculture including the use of hand planters for no-till situations, close spacing and the importance
of soil cover and diverse crops. Liquid manure from animal and plant sources was explained.
A few other practices were also showcased during the review session including a selection of herbs
and indigenous trees for planting, (such as lemongrass, num-num, marigolds, aloes and fennel. Well-
tended banana circles (a local innovation) were also showcased.
A selection of the feedback collected from participants on the workshop is provided below.
General feedback on the day and process
- This whole process has given people purpose. We are no longer justgoing to wander in the streets and
gossip, but are going to be busy. We are going to see some health improvements in our communities.
- The way we taught ourselves was great - it opened our minds.
- I was a bit overwhelmed by gardening and the difficulties but from these examples shown today things
look doable.
- I liked the idea of waterflows and harvesting water off the road for your fields. I never knew this was
possible.
- I was afraid with this approach that I would be troubled by pests. I now realise I can use the resources I
have to counter pests.
- This has built more relationships between farmers - we can talk about our issues together.
Figure 19: Demonstration stations at the implementation review workshops. Left: Tunnel and drip kit. Centre A well
mulched trench bed with mixed cropping (okra, brinjal, onion and swiss chard) and close spacing. Right: A diversion ditch
mulched with the ridge planted to sweet potatoes
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- (Newcomer) We learnt a lot and I was struck by the idea that one can improve the soil you have and do
not have to rely on a bad soil.
Practices: Water
- I was bothered by my neighbour letting water run into my garden now I realise I can use that
water.
- I am impressed by the line level - that one can use simple methods like that to measure
complicated things.
- What used to be a burden (gardening) now is going to become gold.
- I used to sweep up the leaf litter mad throw it away. Now I will use it for mulch.
Practices: Trench bed
- Regarding the use of top soil versus sub soil in the trench bed I see now that the top soil is more
fertile and so it is good to use in the bed. I initially thought you just put the soil back as it came out.
- Trench beds are also a way of cleaning the yard.
- Combining the trench bed with the drip kit seems like a very good recipe for saving water.
- Now, with permanent beds, we will not be walking all over our beds and causing compaction.
Practices: Tunnel
- The relationship between the tunnel, the trench beds and the drip irrigation is now clear. Doing all
three things together works well and reduces evaporation.
Practices: Conservation Agriculture
- We learnt how to plant maize using the MBLI hand planter. It works really well and then you won’t
need to plough.
- I have seen the importance of intercropping for soil cover.
The figure below provides and initial assessment (5 months into a 13 month process) of
respondents’ implementation of the new innovations and practices being promoted. This is a work
in progress, but gives an initial indication of new practices introduced that respondents have already
implemented and also in which areas more mentoring would be required.
Figure 20: Implementation of new innovations by a selection of participants in the learning groups (n=34)
0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% 90%
Cut off drains
Diversion ditches
Stone bunds
trench beds
Diversified crops
Seed and seedlings
mulching
Contours, line levels
Liquid manure
Green manures, legumes
inter cropping
Nat P&D control
CA
Cut
off
drain
s
Diver
sion
ditche
s
Stone
bunds
trenc
h
beds
Diver
sified
crops
Seed
and
seedli
ngs
mulch
ing
Conto
urs,
line
levels
Liqui
d
manu
re
Green
manu
res,
legum
es
inter
cropp
ing
Nat
P&D
contr
ol
CA
% implmentation of new innovations12% 21% 29% 24% 82% 50% 44%3% 6%29% 32%3%50%
New innovations - April 2017 (n=34)
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Future planning
Activities that were discussed for the winter season included:
- Learning sessions would continue in the various villages and specific attention would be
given to topics participants had highlighted for more attention. A refresher mini-workshop
would be held to include the new participants and bring everyone up to speed. Local
facilitators would play an important role here.
- Local facilitators would begin to visit all participants to support and mentor them and also
monitor their progress with implementation of the innovative practices.
- The winter season when people are at home is a good time to start on the collaborative
erosion control efforts in and around the participants’ homesteads.
- The implementation of a process for participants to access tunnels and drip kits was
introduced. In both cases a limited number of kits can be provided by the implementation
team. Participants are required to show their commitment by digging and packing the
required trenches prior to receiving materials.
- For the piloting of underground RWH tanks it was suggested that participants who do not
have access to municipal water in any form be prioritized. Also volunteers are required to do
all the labour and demonstrate an active interest in gardening to be considered. These
criteria were ratified by the group present as reasonable and acceptable.
Suitability of this community as an implementation site for the CSA
project
The community level groundwork used in the AgriSi project serves as a good basis for working with a
decision support system with the smallholders and their supporting originations and stakeholders:
participants are already aware of many of the practices that can be included in a basket of options,
they have experience with trying out a selection of these practices and some ideas about the
potential benefit that each can offer and they are starting to appreciate the concept of synergies
between practices to create a resilient farming system for themselves.
There is good basis for establishing a successful and meaningful community of practice in terms of
organizational collaboration and synergies between programme outcomes.
Aspects of this process that could be useful in designing a decision support system include:
1.The villages are situated in a part of Limpopo that is feeling the effects of climate change;
with increased heat and reduced precipitation already necessitating some adaptations.
These can be recorded and analysed.
2.The traditional practices of the area are unique to these communities and the locality and
will provide interesting options and some good practices examples to work with.
3.The impacts of different CSA practices and combinations of practices can be carefully
compiled, as participants are already implementing some of the techniques and have shown
a willingness and motivation to continue.
4.Participatory analysis learning and monitoring methodologies employed in this programme
are innovative and unique and can be used to good effect in building an overall
methodology.
5.Opportunities for scaling out and scaling up are available and important to consider in the
decision support design process.
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6.The impacts of certain technologies and innovations can be measured and criteria developed
to be used in a decision support system.
7.Social organization and collective action and various methodologies and approaches to
support these can be explored.
8.A good opportunity exists for meaningful stakeholder collaboration for building a CoP.
9.Synergies exist also with the Amanzi for Food networking process and options for
embedding this learning into more formal learning processes at Agricultural training
Institutes.
‘Amanzi for Food’
By Lawrence Sisitka
This case study relates to Water Research Commission Project K5/2277: Action oriented strategy for
knowledge dissemination and training for skills development of water use in homestead food
gardening and rain water harvesting for cropland food production
Outline of the project
The Water Research Commission (WRC) contracted the Rhodes University Environmental Learning
Research Centre (ELRC) to assist with the dissemination of information on rainwater harvesting and
conservation (RWH&C) for food production, developed through a range of research projects funded
over a number of years by the Commission.
The main focus of the Amanzi for Food project was to develop an action-oriented strategy for
sharing the information on RWH&C contained in two (2) major WRC publications:
‘Development of a comprehensive learning package for education on the application of water
harvesting and conservation’ (WRC Report No. TT 493/11 from Project No. K5/1776) [WHC
materials]; and
’Participatory Development of Training Material for Agricultural Water Use in Homestead
Farming Systems for Improved Livelihoods’ (WRC Report No. TT 431/09 from Project No.
K5/1575/4) [AWUHGS materials]
While the emphasis was on developing educational and social processes and appropriate platforms
for sharing the information, the project inevitably became quite deeply involved in supporting others
to understand and share practices involved in RWH&C particularly as these related to small-scale
crop farming and homestead garden food production contexts.
The initial phase of the project extended for just over three (3) years; from March 2013 (although
this was delayed due to contractual issues until June of that year), to end of July 2016.
The project had four (4) main aims:
To review available knowledge products, with emphasis on agriculture water and food
production learning materials developed with WRC funding, leading to the design of a
possible training DVD and the design of related knowledge products.
To pilot and design knowledge mediation processes through intensive engagement with
selected Agricultural Colleges to inform a national strategy that will target a wider group
of learning and training organisations.
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To pilot and design a mass media strategy leading to a listing of contents of a radio / low
cost media content manual for the effective inclusion of available agriculture water
knowledge into existing low cost media channels.
To develop a national strategy for agricultural water knowledge dissemination for
smallholder farmers and food-growers using the tools and processes developed in the
project. This will enable a large scale roll out of the knowledge dissemination processes
of targeting food-growers, particularly women, directly and learning organisations who
are involved in the training of extension officers and rural-development workers in the
field of food-security and smallholder agricultural production.
In the process of achieving these aims the project embarked on a wide-ranging series of activities:
Conducting an in-depth review of the core WRC materials;
Conducting more superficial reviews of other associated WRC materials;
Conducting reviews of agricultural college curricula; in particular to identify any existing
coverage of RWH&C, and identifying elements of the curricula which could lend themselves to
the integration of RWH&C components;
Engagement with selected agricultural colleges and university agricultural faculties to gauge
their interest in the incorporation of RWH&C components into their curricula;
Identification of potential audiences for the WRC materials, other than the agricultural colleges,
and including: the agricultural extension services; farmers and homestead food producers;
agricultural high schools and universities with agricultural faculties; Non-governmental
Organisations (NGOs) and Community-based Organisations (CBOs) working with farmers; and
agricultural research institutes;
Development and facilitation of a Training of Trainers (ToT) Rhodes University certificated course
to support educators, trainers and farmers to use the WRC materials in training processes for
RWH&C practices in both formal and informal contexts;
Supporting the establishment of a Learning Network involving a wide range of agricultural
trainers and practitioners, working together to learn about and introduce RWH&C practices
(most of the original members of this network took part in the first ToT course);
Exploring and developing a range of media possibilities for the sharing of RWH&C information
from the WRC materials. This included: local and provincial radio; community newspapers;
developing a website - www.amanziforfood.co.za - with associated Facebook page, and a
WhatsApp group linking the Learning Network with the ELRC and others.
Supporting the development of ‘productive demonstration sites’ where specific practices were
implemented as an example for others to learn from
Adapting and enhancing the original WRC materials to ease access to the critical information
they contained. This involved the development of a ‘Navigation Tool’ to guide readers to
specific practices described in the materials, and the production of short summaries of key
practices in the form of info-cards. For a few practices, those implemented at one key
productive demonstration site, posters and videos were developed.
Pactices
The Amanzi for Food project drew strongly on theories of social learning and transformative change
in the design of the ToT course and in working with the course participants and other members of
the Learning Network. The course itself offered options to engage at either National Qualifications
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Framework (NQF) level 5 (mostly farmers and extension officers) or level 6 (mostly lecturers and
more senior extension personnel), or alternatively to simply participate in the course with no
expectation of certification (mostly farmers). This enabled participants with very different
educational and experiential backgrounds to work through the course and learn together and from
each other. The Learning Network brought together a range of agricultural trainers and practitioners
into a mutually supportive learning collaboration, which has continued to operate effectively even
after the end of the initial project. This experience suggests that the establishment and support of
such Learning Networks represents a real opportunity for sharing and collaboration in relation to all
agricultural approaches and practices, including those concerned with Climate Smart Agriculture
(CSA).
While the Amanzi for Food project was concerned primarily with the teaching and learning processes
involved in the sharing of knowledge on RWH&C, there was inevitable engagement with the
practices themselves, in particular the development of ‘productive demonstration sites’ as practical
learning centres. Sites were established in farmers’ own food gardens, in a collective vegetable
garden, and in the agricultural college farm and grounds, providing a wide range of different
circumstantial and practice-focussed demonstrations. Also while these practices were not
specifically articulated as being CSA-oriented, there is little doubt that the principles of low-input
practices, with careful and relatively sustainable use of rainwater for food production, and
adaptation to climate variability are entirely compatible with CSA approaches.
The RWH&C practices, involving collection and storage of rainwater through the use of simple
channels and ponds, and improving infiltration and retention of water in the ground through the use
of mulching and traditional practices such as ‘Gelesha’
1
are indeed central to many of the CSA
approaches. This suggests that the information provided in the WRC materials which formed the
focus for the Amanzi for Food activities can and should play a major role in developing
understanding of these approaches. There is indeed a place for every one of the RWH&C practices as
described in the various materials and shared on the Amanzi for Food website and elsewhere to
provide a strong knowledge foundation for the CSA project.
Learnings, /outcomes/ results
Key Learnings
The Amanzi for Food project adopted an empirical approach in that, although informed by a strong
and clear social learning and change orientation, it avoided being too pre-emptive in determining
the precise path the project would take. This path would be determined by the needs and
aspirations of the project partners, including the college lecturers, extension officers, and mostly the
farmers themselves. This was a deliberate formative intervention approach to expansive learning
that intended participatory learning related to farmers’ and colleges’ relational contexts to take
1
Gelesha is a traditional practice involving post-harvest ‘ripping’ orshallow cultivation of croplands in
preparation for receiving and infiltration of the first rains,prior to planting. This is in contrast to the more
conventional practice where the cultivation takes place following the first rains, when much of the water is lost
through both run-off from hard-packed soil, and through evaporation as the soil is turned.
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place rather than ‘top down’ intervention with pre-conceived solutions. While there was inevitably
some risk involved in taking such an approach, it did provide some guarantee that the project would
respond to and resonate with the requirements of the key beneficiaries. Indeed, the outcomes
suggest that it was this responsiveness to the realities of farmers’ contexts which enabled them to
connect so strongly with the project.
Similarly the project avoided making assumptions regarding the ways in which farmers acquired
information, rather undertaking research into learning processes with which the farmers were
involved, and the media platforms with and through which they made most connections. While the
outcomes of this research were generally fairly predictable, there was more use made of internet-
based social media such as Facebook and WhatsApp than might have been predicted in rural areas,
even among older farmers, and perhaps less use made of radio for sharing of information except for
fairly passive listening. However, when the opportunity was made available for famers and others to
share their experiences with others through a series of radio programmes, they found this a
stimulating and empowering exercise.
It became clear that a multimedia approach, linking live, interactive radio broadcasts to Facebook
and website visits, combined, where possible, with personal visits, proved the most effective means
of establishing positive and productive relationships between the farming community and others in
the sector. Of all the means of communication available, however, nothing came close to face-to-
face interaction for generating interest and stimulating collaboration, and it is unlikely that without
such personal engagement that real supportive relationships can be built, although these can be
maintained subsequently to a large degree through more ‘distant’ communication channels, such as
WhatsApp. In using the latter it was found important to always remember to connect differently
with those that are in danger of being excluded by electronic media because of the digital divide.
The establishment of the productive demonstration sites proved very central to the project in terms
of in bringing people together to develop the sites and providing physical evidence of practices in
use. Interest in the practices themselves was certainly stimulated considerably by such involvement
and the evidence of their contribution to improving water availability.
The experience of the Amanzi for Food project does however suggest that while such practices are
extremely valuable in relation to buffering the worst impacts of existing and climate change-related
water-stress situations, they cannot, on their own, provide any permanent solutions to the ongoing
issues of lack of adequate water for food production in all areas of the country. In other words, while
making a real contribution, they cannot on their own provide any guarantee of food security,
especially in highly water-stressed contexts. It is therefore essential that the potential benefits are
not overstated, and that the expectations of project partners, including most importantly the
farmers themselves, are not over-inflated.
Outcomes
Some substantial outcomes emerged from the project, laying a strong foundation for future work in
this field:
Establishment of the Imvotho Bubomi Learning Network, in the Amathole District of the Eastern
Cape, centred on the Fort Cox Agricultural and Forestry Training Institute (former College of
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Agriculture and Forestry). The network is now self-sustaining with members providing each
other with support in a variety of activities, including, most recently, coming together to repair a
network member’s plastic tunnel damaged by high winds. This action provided ATI students with
the opportunity for field-based learning around a farm structure the college did not have but
that a farmer possessed.
The establishment of the Amanzi for Food website; making much information generated around
RWH&C by the WRC readily accessible to many more farmers, providing a platform for sharing of
other related materials and information.
The development of the Training of Trainers course to support curriculum development and
change in the formal agricultural education sector, and strengthen information sharing in the
less formal extension sector and between farmers. The course also provided the opportunity for
participants to work with and learn with and from each other, developing strong supportive
relationships which previously had not existed.
The establishment of a number of productive demonstration sites supporting food production in
a variety of contexts, from the college, to individual farmers’ lands, and a vegetable gardening
collective. These demonstration sites have become catalytic in that marketing connections have
emerged out of them as they were used to mediate further expansive learning; and new
relations developed between experienced small-scale farmers and youths through working and
learning together at these sites.
Developing the use of local, community radio, as a medium for sharing information on a range of
agricultural issues and challenges. At the same time supporting farmers and others to develop
their skills for using this and other media for information sharing and self-reflection.
A strengthened understanding of the processes of information sharing and learning within the
small-scale farming sector, both between farmers and between them and their training and
support network. This understanding has considerable implications for sharing information
across the sector in relation to any and all agricultural practices, including those connected with
CSA.
Results
Almost certainly the main result of the project, in addition to the intended achieved outcomes, was
the recognition by the WRC itself that the fairly complex processes of social learning and change
followed by the project are almost essential for effective information sharing among and between
small-scale farming communities and their support networks. This recognition has lead to the WRC
funding a second phase, including additional materials and information, and with a more national
focus.
Linked to this is the clear recognition of learning in such situations as being both a social and an
individual process, where a few individual farmers have developed their own understanding and
skills to a large extent independently, while others developed these collectively. The individually
motivated and capacitated farmers subsequently become leaders within their farming communities,
willing to share their learnings and experiences with others. Understanding of the power of a
combination of individual and collective learning should help inform how information is shared
within the CSA project.
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Summary of potential issues to include; including the potential
contribution to a decision support process
As previously discussed, almost every aspect of the Amanzi for Food project, including the
information sharing processes and the agricultural practices, are entirely compatible with CSA
approaches. The CSA project can therefore draw on almost every aspect of the earlier project. In
addition, the Navigation Tool (on www.amanziforfood.co.za) provides a valuable model for helping
farmers and others find specific information in complex sets of materials. The Tool was in itself
developed as a decision support process, as it enables farmers to select practices which are
appropriate for their farming situation, their type and scale of operations, their access to financial
and technical resources and their levels of skills and understandings. It is intended to expand the
reach of the Navigation Tool to cover the additional materials to be included in phase 2 of the
Amanzi for Food project, and such an extension could be readily developed for the decision support
process within the CSA project. In addition the co-engagement process itself within a learning
network context was found essential as it brought different stakeholders in regular dialogue with
each other enabling relational thinking. For example the agricultural colleges were able to learn
more about and appreciate the small-scale crop farmer and homestead food producers’ contexts of
work by engaging with them closely, leading them to notice and seriously consider the climate-
adaptation absences regarding water in their own curricula. This way collaboration decision making
and empathetic decision support were possible.
The outcomes of the project show that on the ground farmers, agricultural colleges, extension
officers and LED farmer development facilitators are keen and able to work together in more
productive ways than are otherwise utilised according to mandates. This suggests that more support
is required through decisions at provincial extension offices level that can help extension workers to
integrate CSA in their daily work in supporting small-scale farmers.
Analysis of a potential implementation site
Although any of the productive demonstration sites developed under the Amanzi for Food project
could be considered potential sites for CSA practices, the most secure, in terms of long-term
management and maintenance, are almost certainly the site at Fort Cox Agricultural and Forestry
Training Institute, and those on the lands of the individual farmers (such as in Matole Basin and
Lloyd Village demonstration sites in Amathole District of the Eastern where rain-fed systems are
seriously endangered by increasing drought conditions). The farmers’ sites are working closely with
Fort Cox ATI. It can be expected that the Agricultural Training Institute (college) and the farmers
would welcome the opportunity to showcase CA practices.
In addition, as Phase 2 of Amanzi for Food takes off, with Training of Trainers courses and associated
Learning Networks planned for Mpumalanga and North-West Provinces, there will certainly be
further potential for synergies between the projects, and potential sites in these other provinces
where interest has already been shown.
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Rainwater harvesting and conservation (RWH&C) in Muden and Ntshiqo Case study
(Implemented by Institute of Natural Resources)
By Zinhle Ntombela and Jon McCosh
This was a Water Research Commission (WRC) funded project implemented over a period of five
years. The objectives of the project were to identify, test and evaluate rainwater harvesting and
conservation systems (RWH&C) in communal areas at two sites. The research approach was a
combination of participatory action research (PAR) and empirical physical sampling of yield, soil
water content to input into crop water use models. The PAR methods used included farmer
experimentation, stakeholder workshops, focused group discussions, farmer field days and learning
exchange visits. The focused group discussions were used to evaluate how farmers view the
technology, while farmers days were used to showcase results obtained from farmers
experimentations.
Figure 21: PAR methods used during the rainwater harvesting study
Ntshiqo, in the Eastern Cape and Muden, KwaZulu Natal were selected as the research sites. At the
Ntshiqo site, five individual farmers tested RWH&C in their homestead gardens. In Muden, RWH&C
was tested with the Mxheleni Women’s Group, a community garden arrangement. A participatory
process was conducted whereby a variety of micro-catchment (in-field) RWH&C options were
presented to farmers, who selected their preferred techniques for testing. In Ntshiqo in the Eastern
Cape, the six farmers who participated in the study selected contour as their preferred RWH&C
technique. Contour bunds were spaced at three metre intervals and maize crops were planted above
and below the contours. Each farmer had an RWH&C treatment and a control, which was current
practice (usually broadcasting seed and ploughing in).
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Figure 22: Shows the RWH&C treatment on the left and a control on the right
The yield results suggest that RWH&C is one of the cropping systems that can be adopted to improve
production in low yielding rainfed areas. The empirical research showed that in overall; the RWH&C
treatments in Ntshiqo had higher water productivity and generally higher yields compared with the
controls, suggesting that RWH&C is a viable option in dryland maize production areas. It was noted,
however that while farmers acknowledged the benefits from higher yields, particularly in drier years,
it was found that farmers were unlikely to adopt this practice. The main reasons for this were firstly
the high labour and machinery requirements associated with land preparation costs. Preparing the
contours had to be done on an annual basis, as contours were damaged by rainfall as well as
livestock trampling in the winter months. Secondly, because of the wide spacing between he maize
rows, manual weeding was an ongoing requirement. Farmers considered this to be an onerous task
compared to the their current practice of dense planting of maize and a single weeding when the
plants were at knee height, after which the canopy prevent further weed growth.
In Muden, stone contour bunds were the RWH&C technique selected. As with Ntshiqo, generally
higher yields and water productivity was observed in the RWH&C treatment compared with the
control. In addition, substantial amounts of soil, which would have been washed away, was found to
be contained by the stone bunds (Figure 24).
Massive Food Production Project (MFPP) in Ntshiqo
While conducting RWH&C experiments in Ntshiqo, the team recorded various government subsidised
massification (MFPP) projects that had been implementedin cropping fields. Over a period of
approximately ten years, MFPP projects under a variety of names were implemented.
During the time the research team was working in the area, 54ha of subsidised maize was planted in
two successive years, using glyphosate tolerant varieties. In the third year,the subsidised production
came to an end and only 2ha of maize was planted in these fields. When asked why there was such a
substantial reduction in production; farmers indicated that they considered it too risky from a cost
perspective, given the uncertainty regarding rainfall in the summer months.
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Figure 23: Stone contour bunds in Muden
The Mxheleni group acknowledged the benefits of
RWH&C, but during a post-project visit, it was
observed that planting was no longer taking place.
This was attributed to a lack of resources (inputs)
and problematic group dynamics.
While this research project demonstrated to farmers
that there were alternative ways of storing water in
the soil profile, with resultant yield benefits, the
addition cost and labour burdens in Ntshiqo prevent
wider uptake of the RWH&C technique selected,
while in Muden, access to inputs and group
dynamics limited ongoing use of the practice
introduced.
Figure 24: Sediment deposition behind stone contour bunds
Learnings, /outcomes/ results
Rainwater harvesting and conservation was found to be labour intensive especially in areas
where stone contours are not an option. Contours require to be rebuilt every planting
season. This factor limited the upscaling of RWH&C from home garden to crop fields;
farmers mentioned that they could manage to redo contours on their home garden but they
would not upscale to their fields due to amount of work required by this technology.
Although yield improvements were observed with RWH&C; labour requirements
outweighed the benefits.
Contours were associated with a lot of weed infestation due to wide spaces between them.
Recommendations made were to plant on the runoff collecting area to provide good cover
and eliminate the need for multiple weeding, while still maintaining soil and water
conservation in the homestead gardens.
In Ntshiqo a decline in the use of arable fields was noted, when farmers no longer received
subsidies for production in fields, there was a significant decline in production in the fields.
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Summary of potential issues to include; including the potential
contribution to a decision support process
Farmer experimentation is great way of demonstrating new farming technologies, however, farmers
can be careless in terms of handling the experiment. For the individual farmer experiments at
Ntshiqo, there was a lack of weeding on the experimental plots. The project team had to improvise a
plan and employed people to do the weeding. Muden was no different; some women in the
Mxheleni woman’s group were not fully committed and did not participate on weeding. Those who
did would eventually lose interest since this was a communal garden. This has a negative impact on
plant growth due to competition. Lesson learnt from this experience was that there needs to be a
backup plan when conducting farmer experimentation; risks of not obtaining results are very high
with this methodology.
No-till and agroforestry practices at Ixopo, Highflats case study (implemented by
Institute of Natural Resources)
By Zinhle Ntombela and Jon McCosh
The Institute of Natural Resources is implementing an Agroforestry project funded by the Water
Research Commission (WRC) over a period of five years. The project includes both controlled
scientific research experiments and PAR with farmer experimenters and farmers days to share
findings and learnings. The Agroforestry concept was introduced by the project team to the
Ubuhlebezwe livestock association in Highflats, KwaZulu-Natal where a number of farmers chose to
test agroforestry at a small scale at their homesteads. These farmers include the Chief Dlamini of
Amazizi K, Mam Joyce Dlamini, Mr TV Dlamini, Mr Mtshali and Mr MKhize. This case study focusses
on one farmer, Mrs Joyce Dlamini (Mam Joyce).
Mam Joyce is part of the Ubuhlebezwe livestock association. She is a subsistence farmer; farming
both livestock and crops for home consumption. In winter she grows vegetables such as spinach,
cabbage, carrots, and in summer she plants field crops including maize, potatoes, beans and
pumpkins for her family. When the team further engaged with Mam Joyce, it was learned that she
practices no-till farming on her bigger fields of maize. She is a proactive farmer and heard about the
no-till farming and its benefits from a farmers’ meeting she attended. She considers no-till to be
better because of the lower labour requirements. Before planting field crops she hires a tooth
harrow to open rows and plant by hand, which is much cheaper compared to ploughing. For weed
control, she uses glyphosate before planting and manual weeding once the crop is established. She
retains her own open pollinated varieties (OPVs) as a seed bank. Where certain parts of the field are
not inherently fertile and she uses chemical fertilisers to improve soil fertility. Her interest in
agroforestry lies in the fact that it could improve soil health and fertility in her no till cropping area
using legume species, while also providing livestock feed.
Mam Joyce is participating in a farmer experimentation investigating the impact agroforestry in soil
fertility. The experimentation has two components i.e. intercropping with agroforestry species
(pigeon pea and Sesbania sesban) and biomass transfer. Mam Joyce reports that she has recognised
that Sesbania trees drop their leaves and create a very rich, fertile environment in the soil. For
biomass transfer, tree branches are cut and laid on adjacent plots to decompose and improve the
soil fertility. This exercise has been performed twice at Mam Joyce’s experiment at different tree
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growth stages. She is enthusiastic about the process thus far, and wants to plant more trees in the
future and use them for fodder. She hopes to save money on fertilizer and fodder with agroforestry
species, and plans to sell any excess fodder.
This site can be considered as a potential implementation site because Mam Joyce is already taking
part in two CSA practices (Conservation Agriculture and Agroforestry). She is an enthusiastic farmer
and she is always eager to learn new things.
Learnings/outcomes/results
With respect to agroforestry, there have not been results yet; biomass transfer benefits are
expected to be observed in 2017 planting season.
Mam Joyce observed improved yields after adopting conservation agriculture. Her theory
with these improved yields is that due to the fact that nutrients are found in the top soil
profile. Conventional tillage turn the top soil upside down, while with CA there is limited soil
disturbance and nutrients are readily available to the plant.
Mam Joyce states that she recognised that conservation agriculture saves money in the
context of land preparation costs. Conventional ploughing costs R750/ha; she used to pay
R1500 for her 2 ha. With CA she buys Glyphosate chemical (±R200 per L) while the cost of
opening rows with a tooth harrow is R250/ha.
Spreading kraal manure into the fields in winter is a method that Mam Joyce uses to save
fertiliser costs; when the first rains come, the nutrients infiltrates the soil and when she is
planting, she does not have to apply a lot of fertiliser.
In terms of climate change Mam Joyce indicated that they are recognising the impacts of
climate change; however she has not figured out new techniques of dealing with it. She
indicated that in 2014 the drought beat them, they tried to change planting dates in 2015
plant season, but this also did not work.
She made an example of planting potatoes; at Ixopo they normally plant their potatoes in
August and they would be ready by December, and this is all rainfed. However, in the recent
years the rainfalls are late and temperatures are too high; the potatoes would lose their
leaves very early before bearing underneath the soil. People residing next to the rivers have
started investing on irrigating but that is because they have water access; whereas this is a
challenge for Mam Joyce since her fields are far from the river.
Summary of potential issues to include; including the potential
contribution to a decision support process
The decision support tool should consider the costs of implementing the technology being
presented. Rural farmers are poor and do not adapt to technologies requiring them to pop
extra money than their traditional methods.
Analysis of a potential implementation site
Ixopo is located approximately 85km south east of Pietermaritzburg and is strategically located at
the intersection of four major provincial routes leading to Pietermaritzburg, the Drakensberg, the
Eastern Cape and the South Coast. The area is under the leadership of Amazizi K and B, Emawusheni
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and Majikane Traditional Authorities. Ixopo is an area composed of a community of people who are
very keen on farming and learning new things.
Mam Joyce is an active member of the Ubuhlebezwe Livestock Association engaging in mixed
farming i.e. livestock, vegetable and field crop production such as maize and potatoes with land size
of approximately 2 ha. She relies heavily on rainfed agriculture which has been quite challenging for
her with recent weather variability. Mam Joyce is quite observant and proactive, she is always open
to learn from other people and also share what she has learned with other farmers. This site has
great potential in terms of CSA implementation; it is easily accessible and characterised by keen
farmers, who are already engaging in some forms of climate smart agriculture.
Conservation Agriculture in Bergville: A Case Study
By Mazwi Dlamin
Bergville; in the upper Drakensburg; is a strong maize growing area both commercially and in the
smallholder context. Maize is an important staple with a large amount of arable fields under dry land
maize production. The Grain SA Smallholder Farmer Innovation Program (SFIP) has been going for five
seasons now, started back in the year 2013 with the aim of sustainingmaize production in the area.
Conventional methods of production have seen a decline in yields resultant of the exploitative nature
of production.
The overall goal of the CA SFIP implementedthrough support from GrainSA andthe Maize Trust, is
promote the use of CA (conservation agriculture) to increase farming production and profitability, to
improve the natural resource status and quality allowing sustained crop production / intensification
and to promote systems for providing appropriate infrastructure.
Specific objectives of this research includes:
Promoting the implementation of CA in the smallholder field cropping systems
Increasing the sustainability and efficiency of CA in the study areas
Scaling out of sustainable farming system scenarios that include livelihood and environmental
criteria of assessment.
And building local innovation platforms
Farmer level experimentation is central to the process as is learning together in the village level
groups. Theselearning groups focus on a value chain approach that includes joint action in analysis
and planning of activities, local level savings groups, bulk buying, labour and equipment sharing, local
marketing and milling and integration of livestock (poultry and cattle) through fodder production.
Volunteer farmers have been participating in the CA approach through a Grain SA funded initiative.
The work involves trying out CA in each of the participant’s plots alongside control for direct
comparison. In the first year trials are designed and participants see them through, this is to allow
participating farmers to get used to CA as an approach. During the second year, farmers have additions
to the list of seeds, different type legumes including summer cover crops, early versus late plantings
and the use of specificfertilizer regimes as per the soil sample results. By the third year farmers are
designing their own experiments within the focusareas of early planting, intercropping versus crop
rotation among others. Below is a protocol from the 1st, 2nd and 3rd years.
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Design of farmer level experiments
Year 1(1st level) trial outlines
Experimental design is pre-defined by the research team (based
on previous implementation inthe area in an action research
process with smallholders). It includes a number of different
aspects:
Intercropping of maize, beans and cowpeas
Introduction of OPV and hybrid varieties for comparison (1 variety
of maize and beans respectively)
Close spacing (based on Argentinean model)
Mixture of basin and row planting models
Use of no till planters (hand held and animal drawn)
Use of micro-dosing of fertilizers based on a generic
recommendation from local soil samples
Herbicides sprayed before and/or at planting
Decis Forte used at planting and top dressing stage for cutworm
and stalk borer
Planting of cover crops; winter mix in Autumn
Experimental design includes 2 treatments; planter type (2) and
intercrop (2)
Year 2 (2nd level) trial outlines
Based on evaluation of experiment progress for year 1, this
includes the addition of options that farmers choose from.
Farmers also take on spraying and plot layout themselves:
A number of different OPV and hybrid varieties for maize
A number of different options for legumes (including summer
cover crops)
Planting method of choice
Comparison of single crop and inter cropping planting methods
Use of specific soil sample results for fertilizer recommendations
Early planting and
Own choices.
Year 3-7 (3rd level) trial outlines
Based on evaluation of the experimentation process to date this
protocol includes issues of cost benefit analysis, bulk buying for
input supply, joint actions aroundstorage,processing and
marketing. Farmers designtheir experiments for themselves to
include some of the following potential focus areas:
Early planting; with options to deal with more weeds and increased stalk borer pressure.
Herbicide mix to be used pre and at planting (Round up, Dual Gold ,Gramoxone)
A pest control programme to include dealing with CMR beetles
Figure 26:An example of a summer cover
crop (sunflower, millet and sunn hemp)
experimental plot planted by Phumelele
Hlongwane in Ezibomvini.
Figure 25: An example of a variation on the
basic maize and legume intercropping design
on Mrs Smephi Hltashwayo’s pot in Eqeleni.
She has planted a local variety of runner
beans in between tramlines of maize (2016)
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Intercropping vs crop rotation options
Spacing in single block plantings
Use of composted manure for mulching and soil improvement in combination with fertilizer, or singly.
Soil sample results and specific fertilizer recommendations
Planting of dolichos and other climbing beans
Summer and winter cover crops; crop mixes, planting dates, management systems, planting methods
(furrows vs scatter)
Seed varieties; conscious decisions around OPVs, hybrids and GM seeds
Cost benefit analysis of chosen options and
Farmer level monitoring of trials for selected individuals.
Expansion or out scaling of the farmer innovation process
The adaptive trials are also used as a focus point for the broader community to engage through local
learning events and farmers’ days. Stakeholders and the broader economic, agricultural and
environmental communities are drawn into these processes and events. Through these events,
Innovation Platforms (IPs) are developed for cooperation, synergy between programmes and
development of appropriate and farmer-led processes for economic inclusion. These IPs also provide
a good opportunity to focus scientific and academic research on the ‘needs’ of the process.
As learning groups mature they engage in a number of additional processes within the value chain
that build social capital and cohesion. VSLAs (Village savings and loan associations) are set up to
provide a mechanism for payment for inputs and for setting up bulk buying groups for production
inputs. Farmer centres are set up and managed locally (at village and nodal level) to provide for local
access to inputs through negotiated agreements with local suppliers and agribusiness, management
of shared tools and advice and mentoring in CA. Learning group members also negotiate joint
decisions around their crop production planning and marketing and engage with stakeholders and
support organisations. To support this process a social compact agreement has been designed to
outline roles and responsibilities of the various role players in these forums.
Table 13: Summary of farmer involvement in farmer level experimentation in Bergville, KZN; 2013-2017
BERGVILLE
Year started with CA
COMMENTS
Villages
2013
2014
2015
2016
Total
Emabunzini
10 (8)
10 (8)
Intercropping with hand hoes and
MBLI planters; Maize, beans,
cowpeas
Emangweni-
Engodini
12 (14)
7(2)
19 (16)
1stand 2ndlevel experimentation;
intercropping
Emangweni-
Emaqeleni
(5)
(5)
1stlevel experimentation;
intercropping
Eqeleni
9 (5)
13(3)
7(4)
(1)
29 (13)
1st, 2ndand 3rdlevel
experimentation; MBLI’s hand hoes
and animal drawn planters;
intercropping crop rotation summer
and winter cover crops, late season
beans
Ezimbovini
1 (6)
8 (4)
(10)
19 (20)
1st, 2ndand 3rdlevel
experimentation; MBLI’s hand hoes
and animal drawn planters;
intercropping crop rotation summer
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and winter cover crops, late season
beans
Magangangozi
10(7)
1
11(7)
1stand 2ndlevel experimentation;
intercropping
Mhlwazini
17(5)
12(13)
29(18)
1st, 2ndand 3rdlevel
experimentation; MBLI’s hand hoes,
intercropping crop rotation summer
and winter cover crops, late season
beans
Ngoba
6(6)
4(5)
10(11)
1st, 2ndand 3rdlevel
experimentation; MBLI’s hand hoes
and animal drawn planters;
intercropping crop rotation summer
and winter cover crops, late season
beans
Nsuka-Zwelisha
11(12)
11(12)
Intercropping with hand hoes and
MBLI planters; Maize, beans,
cowpeas
Okhombe
11
6(3)
17(3)
1stand 2ndlevel experimentation;
intercropping
Potshini
1(1)
3rd level experimentation
Stulwane
7(7)
14(4)
3(2)
(2)
24(15)
1st, 2ndand 3rdlevel
experimentation; MBLI’s hand hoes
and animal drawn planters;
intercropping crop rotation summer
and winter cover crops, late season
beans
Thamela
11(12)
11(12)
Intercropping with hand hoes and
MBLI planters; Maize, beans,
cowpeas
Thunzini
20(24)
20(24)
Intercropping with hand hoes and
MBLI planters; Maize, beans,
cowpeas
Vimbukhalo
(7)
7(5)
12(12)
19(23)
1stand 2ndlevel experimentation;
intercropping
Ndunwana
14(15)
9(0)
23(15)
1stand 2ndlevel experimentation;
intercropping
Emazimbeni
10(10)
10(10)
Intercropping with hand hoes and
MBLI planters; Maize, beans,
cowpeas
Grand Total
19(12)
59(27)
81(55)
106(115)
263(212)
~13-14 ha
Note 1: The numbers in brackets are the number of farmers who have managed to complete their trials and realise harvests
Note 2: Villages indicated in grey boxes, are new villages brought on board in this season; 2016-2107
Horizontal expansion from village nodes to surrounding farmers and villages in the area, working
with organised farmer groups in collaboration with stakeholders in the region, has shown great
promise for expansion of interest in and longer-term sustainability of the implementation of CA
practices among smallholders. Successes in the last four years include the following:
Implementation has expanded from 2 to 17 villages in the Bergville area,
Direct farmer participants in the CA experimentation process has expanded from 24
to 263 participants,
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12 Farmer participants have now implemented CA for 4 successive years 27 for 3
successive year and 55 for 2 successive years,
115 farmer participants have started CA in the last season,
Implements have been supplied for sharing within learning groups; 57 hand hoes, 55
MBLI hand planters, 8 Matraca jab planters, 2 spear planters, 1 Haraka wheel
planter, 8 oxen drawn planters and 38 knapsack sprayers,
Average maize yields have improved for farmer participants (from 1,24 tons/ha to
2,8 tons/ha (2016 season results), with yields of more than 11 tons/ha achieved by
some. Average sugar bean yields have improved by about 25%,
3 Bulk buying groups have been set up for purchasing of inputs (Eqeleni, Stulwane
and Ezibomvini),
8 Villages savings and loans associations have been established for production input
support,
Relationships have been strengthened with input suppliers, seed suppliers and
equipment providers to improve access and local transport arrangements and
Support has been garnered from a number of stakeholders including KZN DARD, the
FAO, The Siyazisiza Trust and ETC-Netherlands.
Awareness raising and exposure events have been held; over 1 000 smallholder
farmers and many role players including UKZN, CEDARA, the ARC, KwaNalu, NGOs
such as Farmer Support group, Lima RDF, Zimele, Siyazisiza, SaveAct, Farming for the
future, Growing Nations, as well as agribusiness role players such as Afritrac, Inntrac
Trading, Eden Equip, Pannar, Capstone Seeds, Cover Crop Solutions and Soil Health
Systems have been involved,
Publications have been produced for SA Grain (newsletter) and a book chapter has
been written for CABI - Conservation Agriculture for Africa: Building Resilient
Farming Systems in a Changing Climate.
Presentations have also been made at the Stellenbosch sustainable soil
management symposium,KZN no till conference and the DARD LandCare
conference.
Farmer centres
The growing numbers of farmers warrant for inputs to be supplied locally by learning groups through
farmer centres. These farmer centres are aimed at promoting local value chains and allows for
farmers to afford inputs better at reduced quantities and prices. There has been great frustration
with inputs and their transport where they are brought from Bergville and Winterton.
Farmer centres mainly supply inputs such as seed and fertilizer and the idea is to sell these off in
smaller weights i.e. from 1kg going up to a whole bag. Dealing with herbicides becomes trickier and
requires that local facilitators provide necessary assistance in using inputs bought effectively; which
is a service rendered as a bonus by the farmer centre. Security of cash and inputs is still a threat,
even more so as the farmer centre is run by women. Due to relations in the area, the farmer centre
at times sells inputs on credit which is a problem when they have to restock and again transport is
an issue in the absence of the organization. Having inputs locally available helps both program
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participants; sourcing inputs for their control plots; as well general community members not
affording bags of inputs.
Extension staff has been doing a lot in getting suppliers to deliver in the villages but order amounts
do not warranty for such. Extension staff has been working with and promoting other farmer centers
where they will order together to build up order quantities and eligibility for local deliveries. Farmer
centers have become victims to seasonality and owners have made use of stakeholder relations to
overcome this. Groups of farmers also work with other institutions inclusive of the local Department
of Agriculture where the department has been working with the farmers’ centers to provide off
season services such as sweet potato vines, seedlings and potato seed. All this is coupled with
promoting Village Saving and Loan Associations (VSLA) which are local institutions for financing
agricultural activities and promoting bulk buying of inputs, to date a total of 8 VSLA’s have been
established in Ezibomvini, Eqeleni, Ndunwane and Emabunzini.
Research in the farmer innovation process
Along with the development of visual indicators for CA to be used in the learning groups and by local
facilitators and support staff (as mentioned in section 3.3 above been measured over time.
These include:
-Yields
-Soil fertilitystatus; including specific experiments for the impact of liming on crop growth and
yields
-Soil health status; across different experiments such as intercropping, crop rotation and
inclusion of cover crops (both summer and winter cc mixes) and
-Rainfall; linked to runoff and infiltration (for control and trial plots, suing run off plots and
single ring infiltrometers).
The table below provides anexample of soil healthtest results for the farmer level experiments
conducted by Phumelele Hlongwane in Ezibomvini, as an example
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The figure and small table below summarise the average yields across all the villages in Bergville for
this present season. 2016-2017
Control
(maize
under
CA)
Lab lab
maize
and
beans
intercrop
maize
and
cowpea
Maize
and lab
lab
maize
trial
Millet,
sunflowe
r and
sunhemp
Veld
baseline
sample
Phumelele Hlongwane
Average of pH - Ezibomvini5,6 6,0 5,6 5,4 5,7 5,6 6,1 5,9
Average of Soil aggregates - Ezibomvini33 44 44 52 33 58 44 44
Average of % OM - Ezibomvini5,3 3,4 3,1 3,1 2,9 3,2 3,3 2,5
Average of CO2 - C, ppm C - Ezibomvini62,7 90,2 54,5 62,7 52,3 68,7 78,4113,0
Average of C:N ratio - Ezibomvini16,1 14,8 15,2 17,3 18,3 24,2 14,6 14,2
Average of Soil health Calculation -
Ezibomvini 7,2 9,5 7,0 6,4 6,2 5,1 9,111,3
0,0
20,0
40,0
60,0
80,0
100,0
120,0
Soil health tests- Ezibomvini
8,6t/
ha
7,8t/
ha 3,5t/
ha
7t/h
a
7,8t/
ha
7,6t/
ha
Figure 27: Phumelele Hlongwane's soil health test results for different cropping practices within the CA system for the 2015-2016
cropping season. Yields of maize are indicated in the square text boxes for each practice.
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Table 14: Yield averages in Bergville, 2016-2107 for the CA control and trial plots
Potential of the CA programme as an implementation site for this
research process
This is a well developed farmer innovation programme, with research support that contains a
number of elements of interest for the present process. These include:
-Farmer innovation platforms, stakeholder forums, learning groups and village savings and
loan associations as working examples of CoPs
-Broad based and ongoing farmer level experimentation in various aspects of implementation
of a CA system
-The development of indicators, scales and benchmarks for assessment of impact of
implementation of CA and the beginnings of a design of an incentive system based on PES
(payment for ecosystem services)
YIELDS 2016-
2017
Maize -
Trial
n=141
Maize
Control
n=29
Beans
Trial
n=137
Beans
late
n=13
Cowpeas
n=14
Sunflower
n=10
Millet
n=1
Sunn
hemp
n=1
Average
2,80
2,82
0,91
0,76
0,52
0,97
0,05
0,20
max
11,74
9,69
2,44
2,10
2,80
2,95
0,05
0,20
min
0,28
0,34
0,02
0,07
0,05
0,05
Ema
bunz
ini
Ema
ngw
eni
Ema
qele
ni
Ema
zimb
eni
Eqel
eni
Ezib
omvi
ni
Mag
anga
ngoz
i
Mhl
wazi
ni
Ndu
nwa
na
Ngo
ba
Nsu
ka
Okh
omb
e
Stul
wan
e
Tha
mela
Thu
nzini
Vim
buk
halo
Average of Maize-trial (2016)4,47 1,22 2,16 2,45 4,80 5,02 0,16 2,11 3,15 1,64 1,49 1,94 2,49 2,18 4,28 2,73
Average of Maize- Control (2016)5,12 5,172,52 1,83 2,090,34
Average of Beans (2016)0,16 0,74 1,37 1,50 1,13 0,96 1,02 1,12 0,70 0,55 1,13 0,97 0,41 1,21 1,30 0,51
Average of Late Beans (2016)0,820,43 0,07 1,76
Average of Cowpeas (2016)1,12 0,230,170,20
Average of Sunflower(2016)0,90 0,191,37
Average of Millet (2016)0,05
0,00
1,00
2,00
3,00
4,00
5,00
6,00
Yield averages across all villages in Bgvl 2016-2017
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-An implementation process based on the whole value chain for improvement of food and
livelihoods security
-And inclusion of quantitative data collection for a selection of participants.
There is potential also to include other elements of CSA practices into these processes; such as soil
and water conservation, intensive vegetable production techniques and livestock management
given the existing and extensive organisational base in the community.
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5METHODOLOGY OF THIS PROJECT
By Erna Kruger
Stakeholder engagement and site selection; social considerations
The planned Communities of Practice are likely to be set up and worked within at a number of levels.
A Stakeholder CoP: Involving implementers, government officials and researchers is to be
set up for each site. The main focus for this CoP will be working with the CSA-DSS to design
and implement learning and implementation activities at community level. This would
involve sharing workshops on methodologies and practices, sessions for introduction, review
and refining the CSA-DSS tools and processes, discussions around implementation options
and possibilities, joint implementation and review sessions. It would also involve discussions
around feeding these processes into existing programmes and the link back to strategies to
implement policy briefs.
A facilitation team CoP: Working with field staff, students and facilitators at each site, to
learn about CSA practices and the complexities and nuances of facilitation of processes
working with a decision support framework/system.
Community level CoPs for each site: Taking the form of learning groups exploring climate
change, adaptation and sustainable land use management througha PID process, as well as
Savings group where applicable
Bridging between the CoPs and flow of information between farmers, facilitators and stakeholders
will be crucial to the success of the process.
It is envisaged that the process at each site will be managed as a partnership between Mahlathini
Development Foundation and another implementing organisation such as Lima Rural Development
Foundation and the Institute of Natural Resources (KZN Bergville, Ixopo), Association for Water
and Rural Development (Limpopo), Environmental and Rural Solutions (EC-Matatiele) and Fort Cox
Agricultural Training Institute (EC- Alice). Through these associations the sites and actual villages for
implementation are to be negotiated. Broadly speaking participants are to be drawn from existing
implementation processes run by these organisations.
Other implementers in the areas are to be drawn in through local networks and existing stakeholder
platforms- to set up the CoPs. And the stakeholder Cops will draw from their organisations and
networks to set up the facilitation team CoPs. In this way staff from a number of different
organsiations (including government departments) can become involved in the learning processes
and be provided with assistance and mentoring in implementation of the CSA-DSS at community
level.
Site selection and community level engagement
As mentioned, site selection is to be finalised in partnership with stakeholders involved in the CoP
and entry into the community is to be facilitated through existing relationships between
organisations and communities. Care needs to be taken to ensure that community members are
somehow representative of most to all interests in the community are engaged. This may require
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some conversations and introductions with different community level stakeholders, groups and
individuals. Care will be taken also not to politicise the process and to ensure that community
members are brought on board through interest and their engagement in agricultural activities in
the area.
Livelihoods, vulnerability and capability assessments
This is to be the entry point into the community level processes. These assessments would entail a
combination of focus groups discussions (minimum 25 people) and individual interviews. Presently
the combination of the AWARD and RECOFTC processes developed through USAID (AWARD, 2017)
(RECOFTC , 2016) appear to hold the most promise as they include systemic socio-ecological
approaches, livelihoods framework components, risk, vulnerability and capability assessments and a
way to link impacts and possible adaptive measures into a clear methodological framework.
The process designed by AWARD, called DICLAD Dialogues in Climate Change and Adaptation
provides as very useful entry point for discussions on climate change and adaptive practices for all
the CoPs envisaged. The aim is to create informed awareness and agency within groups to tackle the
issues by themselves, rather than to await directives from experts or government. These ‘field-
based’ experiences need to inform the wider discourses at both provincial and national level. The
current discourse lacks any systemic, strategic framing and is deeply fragmented in nature, thus
treating adaptation responses on a sectoral basis with little recognition of the linkages between
different sectors and elements in a social-ecological system.
The empirical data for these conversations is based on localised data for the relevant municipalities
provided by the Climate Systems Analysis Group, based at the University of Cape Town.
The outline of the present DICLAD process is provided in the schematic diagram below. The modules
are one day interactive workshops that include:
Presentations and pictorial reviews of present issues in the area (such as lack of water,
erosion, crop failure, etc) to provide contextual information and explore climate change
concepts.
Groupwork using participatory methodologies such as seasonality diagrams for exploring
rising temperatures and rainfall variability,
Role plays and games for exploring concepts such as projections and probability for
example.
Systems analysis using systems diagramming tools, for exploration by small groups of the
potential impacts of climate change for a focus sector (e.g agriculture, water) and then
using this map to further collectively explore of where vulnerabilities, threats and resilience
lie in this system and to compile potential ‘composite’ action plans for the focus sector.
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Figure 28:Schematic diagram for DICLAD modules, (AWARD, 2017)
The work done by REFCOTC in Nepal, deepens these exploration and provides a framework within
which climate change impacts and adaptation options can be further explored. The four matrices
mentioned in section 2.7, are copied here.
1.Matrix 1 - Identifying climatic threats and impacts.
2.Matrix 2 - Assessing Threats and impacts through a livelihood asset lens.
3.Matrix 3 Identifying vulnerabilities and
4.Matrix 4 - Identifying response options to vulnerabilities.
CSA framework and processes
Once the broad response options have been outlined for a community grouping, then an exploration
can start around assessing these options for implementation. Criteria for assessment of options
need to be collaboratively defined and used to assess viability and impact of the prioritised options.
Local innovations and other CSA practices are linked to the prioritised options and again assessed for
viability and impact. Here the design of the decision support framework will be central to facilitate
these processes.
Indicators are to be directly linked to vulnerability and resilience. Attention will be given to three
types of indicators; biophysical, social and economic. They would need to be attributable to the
particular interventions and or based on impact or effect and based on qualitative benchmarks. As
such indictors need to be of a nature that can be assessed collectively and by smallholders
themselves This can be achieved through a coherent farmer level experimentation process.
Recommendation for a CSA DSS
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A reasonable approach would be for this research process to develop a DSS in which the full range of
options for CSA practices is made readily available and accessible to farmers, with all necessary
details provided. The farmers can then provide their own input in terms of their understanding of
their needs, aspirations, resources and contexts through which to analyse the suitability of the
practices for their situation. Regional climate vulnerability information can be provided through use
of the SARVA portal, and local livelihood vulnerability assessments by use of an adapted
CGIAR/CCAFS vulnerability toolkit. This DSS could be both internet-based, using a site similar to the
Amanzi for Food website to access information, or the CSA information could be packaged into a
printed document, in whatever languages are necessary, for the farmers to use directly in making
their decisions. In addition, the external qualitative information in regard to the practices, if not
provided by the materials, will need to be provided by the project, and eventually a supplementary
information source dealing with the variables, and questions to be asked should be developed
Reflective processes
Communities of practice can be viewed as social learning systems where they exhibit characteristics
such as an emerging structure, complex relationships, self-organisation and ongoing negotiation.
Social learning may be described as the process of iterative reflection that takes place when people
share their experiences, ideas and environments with others (Kroma, 2003). In the context of social
learning, engagement involves a dual process of meaning making. This entails learning through
physical participation or by experience as well as learning through words, tools, documents and links
to resources that reflect the shared experience. Through active participation and dynamic
negotiation a practice is formed by those who engage in it (Wenger, 1998) The figure below depicts
the learning process as depicted in social learning theory and also the version of the learning cycle to
be used iteratively in the CoPs within this research process.
Source: (Wenger, 1998 p.5)
In terms of this research project, nurturing a CoP to allow for more effective interaction and
information dissemination can be achieved through platforms such as community learning networks,
e.g. farmer learning groups, which are connections formed and maintained by local people with the
aim to share information and for mutual learning. Field workers can use these platforms for
Figure 29: Social learning attained in CoPs
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workshops and demonstrations and in turn participants assist each other in implementing what was
learnt. However, farmer learning groups are not effective when there is lack of trust between
members.
Events such as farmers’ days and cross visits which are open to the larger community will also serve
as platforms for information dissemination and will also create a space for increased interaction.
These networks are important in bringing together local people, development practitioners,
researchers and other role players together to access and share resources and information that can
encourage communities to take up improved practices (Steeples & Jones, 2002).
15: Social practices which can support CoPs
Social and technical considerations for site selection
By Erna Kruger, Jon Mc Cosh, Sylvester Selala
As the research process will track the socio-ecological processes and systems linked to the CSA
practices as well as the impact/effectiveness of the practices themselves, sites need to be chosen for
both social and technical considerations.
On the social front, the following decisions have been made by the research team to assist with site
selection:
1.We will focus on rural communities in communal tenure land ownership situations. The
parameters for private land ownership and also land reform communities are quite different
and as concepts of ownership and agency can vary too substantially here to be comparable.
Also, those smallholders in communal tenure areas, represent the majority of rural dwellers.
2.We will focus on areas where smallholders engage in gardening, cropping and livestock
management, to ensure that the diversity within the smallholder systems and the range of
activities and farming practices used are included.
3.We will work invillages that a considered reasonably typical for a particular area in terms of
composition and number of homesteads, layout of infrastructure and access to natural
resources, access to services and access to economic opportunities.
Practices
Functions
Farmer Learning Groups
Formed by local people with aim of mutual learning and information exchange, as
well as to assist each other in terms of labour
Farmers’ Days
Platform for practitioners and researchers to disseminate information. Also includes
field visits.
Cross Visits
Cross visits between communities that employ similar practices for learning and
sharing, through practical observations.
Stakeholder platforms: e.g.
inception meetings,
stakeholder engagement
meetings, workshops
Researchers, practitioners and local government etc. have regular meetings to
engage in dialogue on similar subject Encourage collaboration between researchers,
practitioners and community participants
Researchers can capitalise on knowledge by practitioners to ensure that the
problems they are working on are relevant
Provide an environment for reflection, interpretation and feedback between diverse
stakeholders.
Practitioners focus mainly on facilitation and knowledge dissemination based on
understanding of participants’ needs and capabilities.
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4. We will work with individuals in these villages who are interested to be involved, are active
smallholder farmers, who belong to different subgroupings within the community such as
youth, older people and women, who live in reasonably close proximity to each other and
where social economic, political or religious barriers to not preclude them from
communicating with each other and working or learning together.
The technical considerations are likely to be far more constraining as at least some of the indicators
chosen are to be measurable. The first level of decision making here is whether to work in
contrasting bioclimatic regions (such as KZN and Limpopo) or work in bio-climatically distinct areas
which may or may not be contrasting, but will be different (such as KZN and the EC).
Decision 1: Start in bio-climatically contrasting areas with measurable indicators in year 1
(KZN, Limpopo) and include a 3rd site for measurable indicators in another distinct site (EC)
in year 2
The next level of decision here is to decide which practices to compare across sites quantitatively. It
is not physically possible to generate quantitative results for all practices chosen by farmer
participants across all sites, or even within one site, given that within one site there would need to
be at least 3-5 farmer participants from whom measurements are taken.
The table below, shows the criteria used to think through the prioritization of the sites. There criteria
were based on the risks associated with each of the sites in terms of items shown in the table. The
scale of risks is used as follows; with 10 being the highest risk and 1 being the lowest risk.
Table 16:Criteria for site selection
Ideally, it would be good to run the experiments in all three sites (KZN-Limpopo-EC) from the start.
However, there is a high risk and a high level on uncertainty associated with the EC sites. KZN and
Limpopo have relatively lower risk and lower level of uncertainty.
Possible options or suggestions to reduce the risk in EC include:
-To find a post graduate student who can be linked to the Fort Cox Agricultural training
Institute, one of the Amanzi for Food implementation sites, to focus on managing the
quantitative measurements of the CSA practices there. If this process can be linked into the
Criteria
KZN
EC
Limpopo
Climate (chances of total crop failure due to extreme weather
conditions, e.g. drought)
3
5
7
Farmer management (ability of farmers to keep records and run well
managed farmer level experiments)
5
7
5
Uncertainty (in terms of who will be involved and how it will be
managed- both at organisational and community level)
3
8
4
Security (for equipment)
3
4
4
Costs associated with monitoring (related to distances to be travelled,
personnel at field level)
2
6
5
Total risk
16
30
24
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curriculum development processes presently being undertaken by the Institute, that would
be very beneficial for all involved.
-To spend time with developing strong CoPs in the EC to leverage resources to assist with the
implementation (both for the UCPP Umzimvubu catchment Partnership Programme in
Matatiele and the Amanzi for Food processes through ELRC in Grahamstown).
As it stands, KZN (Ixopo) and Limpopo (Mametja villages) are the most likely options. INR has site in
Ixopo, were they are not particularly taking any measurements but have identified potential
participants (Mom Joyce and Chief Dlamini).
Decision 2: Set up quantitative measurements for 2 different practices (e.g. tunnels, SWC)
for 3 participants per site across two sites in year 1 and expand to the 3rd site in year 2.
The understanding is that measurements will be taken by collaborating partners for their particular
focus areas in each of these sites; notably CA for MDF and Agroforestry for INR and that these
results could be combined in the analyses to good effect.
Some preliminary suggestions can also be made for which practices to focus on and which particular
quantitative measurements would be possible or ideal for these practices.
Proposed Farmer level experiments with CSA practices
1.Practice 1: Planting in a tunnel (shade netting structure) vs. planting outside a tunnel
Treatment 1: Planting in a tunnel and irrigate using a watering can (or furrows)
Treatment 2: Planting in a tunnel and irrigate using a drip kit
Treatment 3: Planting outside the tunnel and irrigate using a drip kit
Control: Planting outside the tunnel and irrigate using a watering can / furrows
Parameters to be measured:
Expected results / out come
Measurements
Equipment / instrument
Saves water
Amount of water applied
Calibrated container
Controls pests
Pest types counts
Net and a holder
Improves yields
Record yields
Scale, pen and record book, cost-
benefit analysis
Reduces labour
Time spent in the garden
Record book, cost -benefit analysis
Allows year round planting
Plant in both seasons
Record book
Water productivity
Air temperature, rainfall, wind speed,
wind direction, relative humidity,
solar radiation, rain gauge and soil
temperature measurements
Weather station
2.Practice 2: Conservation agriculture / Agro forestry
The choice was between AF and CA, but it was agreed that AF is argued to be a form of conservation
agriculture. Furthermore, if water productivity (WP) is to be determined, available models for
estimating WP are mostly calibrated for intercropping (e.g. maize and beans) rather than AF (e.g.
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maize and pigeon pea). Therefore, CA was chosen as a second practice to be tested. The full
weather station mentioned above would also be required for this practice
Parameters to be measured:
Expected changes
Measurements
Instruments / equipment required
Reduces erosion
Runoff and sediments
Runoff plots
Improves soil health
Soil microbial activity
Lab test
Improves soil structure
Bulk density, porosity, particle size
distribution, soil fertility
Lab measurements
Improves water infiltration
Infiltration measurements
Single or double Infiltrometer
Suppresses the weeds
Weed count
Square
Improves soil water holding capacity
Volumetric water content,
gravimetric water content
Water mark sensors/ TDR sensors, graph
permeameter
Improves yield
Biomass/ harvest index/ Leaf area
index (LAI), yield measurements
LAI measuring device, scale
Water productivity
Air temperature, rainfall, wind
speed, wind direction relative
humidity, solar radiation, rain
gauge and soil temperature
measurements
Weather station
The diagram below shows, seasons for establishment of sites and how each could potentially run. The
KZN site ,isproposed as the main site which will run from three season, while Limpopo and EC will run
for only two seasons. The results for the 2018/2019 are comparable across the three sites, while in
the 2017/2018 season results from KZN site can be compared with those from the Limpopo site and
in the 2019/2020 season KZN and EC sites can be compared.
In summary, two sites (Limpopo (Mametje) and KZN (Ixopo/ Bergville) have been selected to do
farmer led experimentation on two practices (CA and tunnel (controlling micro climate). EC sites are
to be developed and then included in the 2nd year of implementation. These experiments will be
manageable if the number of treatments are kept to a minimum of three treatments (farmers) per
site. The experiments are to be overseen and managed as part of a doctorate study, for which
Sylvester Selala is to register within the present financial year. He will manage data collection in both
KZN and Limpopo. Given the two distinct sites, measurements are to be taken regularly (2x/month).
In any one year it is suggested that there is a main site, which will include all necessary quantitative
measurements and an indicator site where a selection of quantitative measurements will be
Site establishmentContinue siteContinue site
Site establishmentContinue site
Site establishment Continue siteDiscontinue site
KZN
EC
LP
2017/2018 season
2018/2019 Season
2019/2020 Season
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implemented to augment the main site - to ensure that the research remains manageable and cost
efficient. The table below outlines the suggested measurements for each site.
Table 17:Proposed quantitative measurements across sites
A rough budgeting exercise has been done for the above-mentioned measurements and is shown in
the small table below.
ImportanceMain siteIndicator siteIntervalsField / Lab InstrumentLocation
TextureNecessaryOnce offLabHydrometerUKZN
Bulk DensityNecessary
At beginning and
Lab
Cylindrical
UKZN
Saturated Hydraulic
Conductivity - surface
PreferredOnce offField
Double ring
infiltrometer
UKZN
Saturated Hydraulic
Conductivity - below surface
PreferredOnce offField
Geulph
permeameter
UKZN
Structure - Mean Weight
Diameter
Optional
At beginning and
after each
Lab UKZN
Retentivity CurvesPreferredOnce offLab
Suction sand
table /
pressure pots
UKZN
Carbon Necessary
At beginning and
after each
harvest
LabSoil SampleCedara
N,P,K Necessary
At beginning and
after each
harvest
LabSoil SampleCedara
pH Necessary
At beginning and
LabSoil SampleCedara
Electrical ConductivityOptional
At beginning and
LabSoil SampleUKZN
Exchangeable BasesPreferred
At beginning and
LabSoil SampleUKZN
Cation Exchange CapacityOptional
At beginning and
LabSoil SampleUKZN
Soil health indicatorsNecessary
At beginning and
after each
harvest
FieldSoil SampleField
Automated Weather Station
(AWS)
Necessary
Research
duration -
constant logging
Field
Davis
Weather
Stration
INR / Davis
Rain guagesNecessary
Research
duration -
manual recording
FieldRainguage Shop
Watermark sensor (nests of
3 at 300, 600 and 1200mm)
Necessary
Research
duration -
constant logging
Field Watermark
Cobus
Pretorius
Soil temperature sensors to
go with watermarks
Necessary
Research
duration -
constant logging
Field
Temperature
Sensor
Cobus
Pretorius
Loggers to go with
watermarks
Necessary
Research
duration -
constant logging
Field Logger
Cobus
Pretorius
Manual Gravimetric water
sampling
Necessary
During set
phases of crop
Lab
Oven and
scale
UKZN
Hand moisture tests
(numerical scale)
Necessary
During set
phases of crop
FieldField based
Runoff plotsNecessary
Research
duration - regular
manual recording
FieldField based
Biomass (non-edible) - Dry
Matter
NecessaryAt harvestField
Field based
physical
measurement
Grain / edible component -
Dry Matter
NecessaryAt harvestField
Field based
physical
Leaf Area IndexOptional
During set
FieldLAI indicatorUKZN
Leaf nutrientsOptional
During set
Lab LabUKZN
Proposed quantitatve measurments acrosssites
Soil Physical Properties
Soil Chemical Properties
Weather
Water
Yield
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Table 18: A proposed budget for equipment to conduct quantitative measurements proposed
Potential sites for CoPs
These are focussed around arrangements put in place with a number of organisations to engage in
this process and are in some ways focussed thematically according to the project focus areas of
these organisations. This process is the larger DSS process within which the farmer level
experimentation and measurement of indicators will be embedded. Training and learning events for
facilitators and farmers are to be central as would be meetings for analysis, planning and monitoring
for the CoPs at all levels.
Table 19: Practices and organisations involved
PRACTICES
Provinces
CA
Agroecology
Agroforestry
Grazing Management
KZN (S)
MDF
Lima
INR
KZN ( C)
MDF
Lima
KZN (N)
MDF
Lima
EC
MDF
ELRC, UCPP
UCPP
Limpopo
MDF
AWARD
UCPP
Conservation Agriculture
Mahlathini Development Foundation is the national implementer for the GrainSA CA Smallholder
Farmer Innovation Programme. This process is in it’s fourth year of implementation and will
continue for another 2-3 years. It is envisaged as a long term implementation strategy, renewable
presently on a three year contractual basis.
Itemunit priceQuantityTotalCost share
Hydrometer R 0,001R 0,00UKZN
CylindricalcoresR 0,001R 0,00UKZN
Double ring infiltrometerR 2 000,003R 6 000,00
Geulph permeameterR 0,001R 0,00UKZN
Watermark sensorsR 855,0040 R34 200,00
Temperature SensorsR 996,0015 R14 940,00
Loggers R 135,007R 945,00
Hobo Pro Softwareand USB cableR 2 200,002R 4 400,00
Davis Weather StrationR25 000,003R75 000,00
Rainguages R 125,0015 R 0,00GrainSA
Runoff plots R 3 500,0018 R63 000,00
Soilfertility test R 90,0070 R 0,00GrainSA
soil health indicatorsR 1 000,0020 R 0,00GrainSA
R198 485,00
Equipment
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This programme is built on an innovation systems model for awareness raising and scaling out of
implementation of CA in a smallholder context. In addition, research is being conducted to fine tune
the CA implementation processes for smallholder contexts, to deal with some of the complexities of
implementation and to find appropriate indicators, benchmarks and proxy indicators to evaluate the
impact of implementation and to design an incentive scheme (based on PES parameters) for this
process. The approach focusses on the whole value chain, including inputs, production, harvesting
storage and sales and as such also includes bulk buying schemes, village savings and loan
associations, farmer centres, local milling operations and joint marketing initiatives. The primary
focus is on farmer led experimentation both for the learning and the research. Some aspects of the
research include soil fertility, soil health status, water holding capacity (infiltration and run-off), close
spacing, intercropping, crop rotation and cover crops. Attention is given to the supply and use of
appropriate machinery and equipment.
PRESENT SITES
-Eastern Cape: Matatiele 4 villages - Nkau, Mqhobi, Sehutlong and Khutsong
-KZN, Southern region: Ixopo- Nokweja, Spinrgvalley, Madzikane, Ofafa
-KZN central region;
-KZN central region: Bergville 17 villages including Ezibomvini, Stulwane, Eqeleni,
Nudnwane, Mhlwazini and Ngoba
Agroecology
MDF and AWARD (Association for Water and Rural Development) are working in partnership under
the USAID sponsored Resilience in the Olifants Basin programme to support smallholders in the
implementation of agroecological farming practices within a process of community based climate
change adaptation in the lower Olifants region of Limpopo.
The programme has been running for 1 year and is to continue for another year and has included a
systemic analysis of understanding of climate change and impacts in the area, an analysis of
vulnerabilities and adaptation options and farmer level experimentation with CSA practices. Farmer
learning networks have bene established in 6 villages in the area (Botshabelo, Sedawa, Willows, The
Oaks, Finale and Lepelle). A baseline has been done for the villages and criteria have been developed
with farmers for choosing and working with particular CSA practices. In addition, work is in progress
for assessment of the impact of these practices.
MDF and Lima Rural Development Foundation are working in partnership on the Aerelemeng food
security programme sponsored through Wesbank. In this process MDF has been involved primarily
in design of the programme and in training of the facilitator across three provinces (EC, KZN and
Limpopo). Training has included the promotion of various CSA practices at food security level both
for vegetable production and field cropping and implementation of soil and water conservation
practices in addition field staff have bene introduced to facilitation processes for inclusion of
nutrition and value adding as well as village savings and loan associations.
A further small brief through the First Rand Foundation Innovation fund will now allow the teams to
focus on climate change and adaptation as part of the food security programming. Sites to be
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involved include KZN (Swayimane and Thabamhlope) and Limpopo (Sekhororo). This process is to
continue to focus on capacity building for Lima field staff and the farmers they are working with.
MDF has also been in contact with the ELRC and the Amanzi for Food implementation team in the
EC. There is considerable interest for this research process to link with the Amanzi for food process
at the Fort Cox Agricultural Training Institute and the surrounding villages through their farmer
learning network there and to incorporate the model and CSA practices into the activities of the
network as well as the curriculums of the college and there is good potential for development of a
practical site or implementation there.
Also in the Eastern Cape, MDF has presented this research process for the Umzimvubu Catchment
Partnership. They are interested in promoting and supporting any programmes implementing
landscape based socio-ecological approaches in the catchment area and have recently set up a CoP
around research for this partnership. The details of which specific organisation within the
partnership cold partner in this implementation and how it can be done still need to be considered.
Agroforestry
The INR (Institute of Natural Resources) have agreed to work alongside MDF in the agroforestry
focus areas and projects that they are presently implementing and to share expertise and results
with this research process. This provides a way to include the agroforestry focus area within CSA into
the overall programme and to be involved in a joint farmer level experimentation process in their
site in Southern KZN (Nokweja).
The small table below summarises present involvement and stakeholder, facilitator and farmer level
CoPS to be established
Table 20: CoPs to be established in year 1 of the research process and their thematic focus areas
CoPs
MDF
MDF, AWARD
MDF, INR
MDF, Lima
MDF, ELRC
Limpopo Lower
Olifants
Agroecology, CA
KZN (S) - Nokweja
Agroforestry,
CA
KZN (N)- Bergville
CA,
Agroecology
Agroecology, CA
EC Fort Cox ATI
(Alice)
Agroecology
(SWC)
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