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Vol 2 - Issue 2

Technology and Innovation

List of Articles

Innovation processes in the agro‐ecological transitions in the developing countries

This article discusses the interactions between changes in models of innovation, the greening of production and the social consequences of these. Six innovation processes are analyzed in the agriculture of Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Haiti, Madagascar and Senegal, respectively. These situations coincide in demonstrating that collaborative innovation models are particularly useful for development, as they adapt the process studied to local needs. These models involve more commitment from public policy innovation.

Biotechnology Cotton in Burkina Faso: Trajectory of an Innovation in a Development Context

This article traces the innovation of biotechnology cotton, known as Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt), in Burkina Faso. It argues that the introduction of this cotton into the agricultural system of the country has led to a shift in the control of the power of the national actors (industries, researchers, farmers, state, civil society) for foreign actor (Monsanto), which uses its position to maximize its economic gain at the expense of a large number of small farmers and the national agricultural research system. To define the network of actors, this paper uses the analytical concept of Actor Network Theory (ANT) (CALLON 1986). It is a unique approach that sheds light on the complexities of connecting actors. The ethnographic method, including interviews and observations were used to reconstruct the innovation system of this biotechnological cotton.

Emergence of a biofuel production and innovation system in Burkina Faso: analysis of the determinants and the stakes for its development

Emulation as a product of biofuel production lead to the installation of biofuel projects in Burkina Faso to promote economic development. The economic potential this production represents has lead to the installation of a network of actors who work towards its promotion. This article aims to characterize the emergence of the production and innovation system of biofuel as well as the development trajectories observed. The innovation system approach is used
as a framework for analyzing the development conditions of this innovation. The results point out that while biofuel production tests were conducted in the 1980s, the process of biofuel innovation only really emerged over the past five years. They underline a weak interaction between the actors but also a lack of knowledge of production techniques. A legislative and regulatory vacuum is observed in this sector. All these failures explain the still emerging situation of this biofuel innovation system.

Trajectories of innovation in agriculture of conservation at Lake Alatra in Madagascar

Alaotra Lake area is one of Madagascar’s most important rice growing regions, with important soil and climatic constraints. Through sustainable agricultural development, the BV-lac project has disseminated techniques of conservation agriculture (CA), between 2003 to 2013. As defined by the FAO in 2008, CA has three principles: i) minimum soil disturbance, ii) soil protection by vegetation cover, iii) crop rotation and plant association, requiring a double paradigm shift on cropping pattern and on strategies. A survey conducted in 2013/2014 showed that during the project, farmers adapted CA techniques to their own constraints in a long learning process leading to a continuum of practices between conventional agriculture and CA through a recombination of knowledge.

Innovation Platforms as a Tool to Support Technological Change in Agri‐Chains. The case Study of Plantain Value Chain in Côte d’Ivoire

Since 2011, innovation policies in the agri-chains of the Ivory Coast have been based on tools of technology transfer, known as “Innovation Platforms”, for the introduction of plants of improved varieties or of plant hybrids. This article focuses primarily on the implications of “Plantain Innovation Platforms” (PIPs) in the reorientation of local technologies choices and ultimately in food independence through improved domestic food supplies. We use the conceptual framework of Sectoral System of Innovation (SSI) to characterize the functioning of PIPs. We identify four components which structure this socio-technological innovations: a research component, a dissemination component, a value chain component and a financing component. Our results shows that PIPs help to structure the SSI by influencing the public policy decision process (research and innovation) in the selection of the introduced cultivars, the cultural practices and also the food preferences, integrating geographic diversity of recipients of these innovations. These policy changes involve considering the needs of local producers and consumers concerning the choice of plant material and providing new echnical choices. The future of these PIPs is thereby questioned.

Diversity of innovation processes in the Niayes market gardening system (Senegal): between conventional intensification and agro‐ecological transition

The development of the vegetable sector in Senegal is based on technical innovations such as motorpumping, use of inputs and net-shades, among others. A survey of 22 market gardeners in southern Niayes shows the diversity of the innovation processes and the common driving factors. Exchanges between workers of vegetable exporters and market gardeners in the same region enabled for the adoption of localized (drip) irrigation. The use of natural inputs (biopesticides, repellents, organic fertilizers) which meet "agro-ecological" specifications is promoted by NGOs. Finally, different vegetable crop associations have been designed and adopted by innovative gardeners to address the reduction of surfaces although they are not yet "disseminated". These examples highlight the capacities of West African farmers to innovate and adapt. They question the type of methods and tools needed to accompany these processes without limiting the creativity of the farmers nor the flexibility and performance of local innovation systems that they managed to create.

Ecological transition of an innovation model: the seeds production of yams in Haiti

This article shows how the passage of a linear model from innovation to an iterative, participatory and ecological process can modify technology and allow for its practical adoption. Our case study is based on the seed multiplication technology of yams in Haiti, known as minisett technology. We analyze the evolution of this technique between 1990–2012, using interviews with 26 experts (researchers, technicians, NGO leaders, farmers, etc.) and surveys of 106 farmers in three yam production regions in Haiti. We show how the failure of a linear model of technology transfer
allowed for the involvement of producers in the improvement of this technique and how this involvement associated with the greening of the technology has paved the way for a successful adoption of the technology. This success has been instrumental in increasing the production of yams in Haiti and thereby in increasing the income of the producers.