Analysis of stakeholders' collaboration in agricultural innovation systems in the North-West Province, South Africa
Modirwa, Madikapi Sinah
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The aggravation of global food insecurity and greater food price volatility provide an opportunity to strengthen collaboration among stakeholders in agricultural innovation systems in order to accelerate the adoption of sustainable agricultural strategies. Innovation systems are established to facilitate open communication among various stakeholders to promote collective collaboration. The concept of innovation system as a strategy of entry point for institutionalisation, operationalisation and dissemination of agricultural technology have received a lot of attention in recent times. However, successful collaboration ultimately rests upon the commitment of individuals and the willingness of these individuals to work together and "collaborate" with one another. Limited information exists on the factors that influence the willingness of stakeholders' collaboration. This study examined collaboration among researchers, extension agents, farmers, input dealers and marketers of agricultural innovation in the North West Province of South Africa. A total sample size of 205 respondents made up of 50 researchers, 60 extension agents, 30 input dealers, 30 marketers and 35 farmers were selected for the study. The study identified the characteristics of stakeholders involved in the agricultural innovation system in the North West Province. Data was collected through a structured questionnaire on personal characteristics of farmers, extension agents, researchers, input dealers and marketers of agricultural innovation system in the North West Province on the extent of existing collaboration, linkage activities to collaboration, constraints hindering their collaboration and knowledge of agricultural innovation systems. The data was subjected to analysis using the Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS). Descriptive statistics such as frequency distribution, percentages, mean and multiple regression analysis were used for analysis. The results revealed that gender has an influence on the adoption of agricultural innovation in the North West Province; farming decisions are dominated by men rather than women, extension agents (65%), researchers (68%), farmers (51%), input dealers (73%) and marketers (70%). Furthermore, Linkage activities for collaboration ranked high by extension agents are knowledge generation (92%), joint implementation (90%) and in Management (88%), evaluation trials (80%). Farmers also indicated their involvement in joint seminar and workshops (98%), joint demonstration (98%) and problem diagnosis (97%). Researchers stated their participation in knowledge dissemination (84%), joint seminar (72%), joint field visit (68%), both problem diagnosis and field days (66%). Marketers were involved in both joint training and planning (87%), problem diagnosis (83%) evaluation reports (73%, management (73%) and sharing of resources (70%). Input dealers were involved in joint feedback (67%), demonstration (60%) and knowledge generation (57%). Prevailing constraints to collaboration indicated by almost all respondents were: Inadequate research staff (98%), poor administration (93%), job tenure of extension agents (90%), lack of communication among stakeholders (88%) and professional bias (85%). Multiple regression results showed a strong correlation between independent variables and collaboration. One way analysis of variance showed difference in linkage, attitude and knowledge of Agricultural Innovation System among marketers, researchers, input dealers, farmers and extension agents. The results indicated that there is a weak linkage between stakeholders. To make the value more effective, operative linkage among researchers, extension agents, farmers, input dealers and marketers are recommended in the study.