chapter  15
17 Pages

Recognizing and Enhancing Processes of Local Innovation

Agricultural development is driven by innovation at all levels. At the farmers’ level, the term ‘innovation’ is o�en used in literature and in practice to refer to farmers’ adoption of introduced technologies, in line with Rogers’s (1962) theory on diffusion of innovations. Until recently, li�le a�ention was given to the new technologies, management practices and institutions that local people have developed themselves – to ‘local innovation’. This refers to the dynamics of indigenous knowledge (IK) – the knowledge that has developed over time within a group, incorporating both learning from the experience of earlier generations and other knowledge that has been gained from whatever source and fully internalized within local ways of thinking and doing. Local innovation in agriculture and natural resource management (NRM) is the process through which individuals or groups in a locality develop and apply new and be�er ways of managing the available resources – building on and expanding the boundaries of their IK. The process of local innovation leads to technical, socio-economic and institutional innovations (with an ‘s’).