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Designing intervention to support endogenous agricultural innovation process in the South : identifying conditions for its effectiveness. The case of an irrigated scheme in Tunisia

Abstract : African farmers are under pressure to innovate. In the field of agricultural innovation studies,the growing dissatisfaction with the linear model of innovation transfer in which the innovationis conceived by researchers, transferred by extension agents and then adopted by farmers, pushed the researchers to look for alternatives. The recognition of actors not belonging to the scientific world as sources of innovation, the growing focus on the role of farmers and their knowledge in the innovation process and the recognition of different dimensions of innovation (beyond just new technology) influenced the way in which the academics now study innovation. In the innovation systems approach, innovation defined as a social or economical activity useful for the agricultural development, emerges in a complex system of heterogeneous actors as a result of the social learning that takes place during their interactions. This change of approach entails change in the position of farmers who are now, equally to other actors, recognized assources of innovation. But what is really the position of farmers in the most common operationalization of the AIS approach, innovation platforms? We are focusing our interest on farmers for two reasons: they are recognized as key actors for food security and they are the ultimate users of agricultural innovation, those who put it in practice. Thus the analysis of the effects of different types of interactions, learning processes and power relations on the position of farmers in the innovation process is central for this thesis. On the basis of the analysis that we conducted in the study area – the irrigation scheme El Brahmi in North West Tunisia – we designed a tool to mobilize the innovation capacity of local farmers. The proposed methodology includes elements of companion modeling, and is based on the “self-design” principle. We developed a simulation game that is co-constructed by players –dairy farmers– while they play. They develop, discuss, negotiate and test innovative solutions to reach objectives that they themselves define. While doing it, they mobilize local knowledge and become co-authors of their own learning and of the method to support their innovation process.
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  • HAL Id : tel-03382769, version 1

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Aleksandra Dolinska. Designing intervention to support endogenous agricultural innovation process in the South : identifying conditions for its effectiveness. The case of an irrigated scheme in Tunisia. Sociology. Institut agronomique, vétérinaire et forestier de France, 2016. English. ⟨NNT : 2016IAVF0006⟩. ⟨tel-03382769⟩

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