About 40 smallholder famers from Maluti-A-Phofung municipality who are beneficiaries of the InnovAfrica projects, government extension officers and ARC researchers gathered at Harrismith Inn, Free State, South Africa. The main purpose of this meeting was to reflect on the previous planting season and to plan for the upcoming planting season. ARC researchers presented the progress status and highlighted the challenges faced during the field experimentation. Moreover, farmers were given the opportunity to respond, comment and ask questions. Farmers were very intrigued and willing to learn aspects that they were not familiar with. Farmers asked questions and raised concerns to which their counterparts responded well in a supportive manner. Extension officers pledged to support the farmers to make them better, self-confident and resilience farmers that thrive and not just survive. At the end of the meeting, participants visited one of the InnovAfrica farm trial which they got a firsthand information on how much they can flourish if they work hand in hand with extension officers and researchers. Platforms like this are helpful in encouraging upcoming farmers and to create a community network of farmers that can assist each other and are accountable to one another.

Farmers from Maluti-A-Phofung Municipality, Free State, South Africa