Innovation System Perspective in Agriculture and Rural Development for Smallholder Farmers’

posted Dec 12, 2011, 7:46 AM by Andrea Bohn
Southern and Eastern African Association for Farming Systems Research-Extension

19-21 November 2012, South Africa


There is growing realization that smallholder farmers in sub-Sahara Africa are not benefiting from the full potential of their farming because they do not add value to their produce. Part of the reason is that current professional training, research as well as extension focus largely on production agriculture. In their declaration, delegates to the conference on ‘Innovations in Agricultural Extension and Advisory Services’, held in Nairobi in November 2011, called for more “…platforms at different levels for extension professionals and researchers and farmers to meet, exchange and improve their capacity to mobilize smallholders’ knowledge, labour, land, water and genetic resources for global food security” (see

The eleventh regional conference of the Southern and Eastern African Association of Farming Systems Research-Extension (SEAAFSRE) will be held on 19-21 November 2012 in South Africa. The conference, whose theme is ‘Innovation System Perspective in Agriculture and Rural Development for smallholder farmers’ is intended to share experiences and best practices in moving agriculture from subsistence to commercial among resource-constrained farmers in the region. In particular, the conference will share practical experiences on the role innovation, agricultural training, research and extension can play in enhancing a value chain orientation in smallholder agriculture.

All individuals and organizations involved in FSRE work including farmers, policy makers, planners, trainers, researchers, advisory services providers, non-government organizations (NGOs), elected officials and donors, are invited.

Objective for the conference

  • To share experiences on best farming systems research and extension practices and strategies for commercializing agriculture and reducing hunger and poverty. 
  • To provide an opportunity for farmers, trainers, researchers, agricultural advisory and support service providers and elected officials to debate and learn together how they might individually and collectively make progress towards millennium targets in poverty, hunger and environment through innovations in smallholder farming systems. 

Expected Outputs
  • A profile of innovative farming systems research and extension opportunities for commercializing agriculture and reducing hunger, poverty and environmental degradation. 
  • Peer reviewed proceedings of the conference detailing the achievements, lessons learnt and opportunities in the region. 

Call for papers
Papers are invited on research and other experiences on the above theme. Those working, or have worked, on these issues are particularly encouraged to submit their papers. While conceptual papers will be considered, preference will be given to papers based on practical experiences. Papers will be considered under the following sub-themes:

  • Innovation systems in smallholder farming 
  • Farmer level value chain orientation 
  • Value chain oriented policies 
  • Capacity building 

The deadline for submitting abstracts is 31st March 2012 and the deadline for submitting full papers is 30th June 2012. Please send your abstracts to:

Dr Maxwell Mudhara, e-mail:

Dr Jeff Mutimba, e-mail:

Details on venue, etcetera, will come with the second announcement end of April 2012.