Written by Mokhele Moeletsi, Senior Researcher, ARC-Institute for Soil, Climate & Water

The South Africa case country meetings for the Innovations in Technology, Institutional and Extension Approaches towards Sustainable Agriculture and Enhanced Food and Nutritional Security in Africa (InnovAfrica) project from 28–31 August 2017 in Free State Province provided an active platform for interaction between multi-actor platform (MAP) members, scientists and farmers.

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Youth in farming in Thaba Bosiu Village in Free State Province, South Africa (photo: NIBIO/(photo by Udaya Sekhar Nagothu)
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Typical smallholder farm in Makeneng Village, Free State Province, South Africa (photo: NIBIO/ Udaya Sekhar Nagothu)

The case country meetings and field visits to various farms in the Free State province of South Africa exposed the MAP members and project partners to the opportunities and challenges that smallholders in the province are facing.

An interesting development has been the increased involvement of youth and women in farming due to lack of job opportunities in the urban areas. However, smallholder farmers and especially youth face a number of constraints including limited access to finance, technology and mechanized farming methods, as well as lack of training and capacity building in best farming practices.

Some of these challenges will be addressed through the InnovAfrica project initiatives in the region. Project partners and MAP members will spend the next 3-4 weeks to discuss the next steps and prepare annual work plans and dissemination plans together with farmers.

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Youth farmers prefer mechanisation to improve product value chains
(photo: NIBIO/Udaya Sekhar Nagothu)
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Group photo of participants to InnovAfrica South Africa case country meeting in 28-31 August 2017 (photo: Mphethe Tongwane)