Global Forum on Food Security and Nutrition (FSN Forum)

Dear All,

My masters thesis is looking at the impact of agroecology on the adaptability of smallholders in Limpopo, South Africa. Seven individuals from communities in Limpopo participated in a three month agroecology training programme in August 2016. Upon returning to their communities, many of the individuals have either adapted their farming practices or have begun sharing their knowledge of agroecology with local smallholder farmers in order to assist them in adapting their practices. Although I have only begun the research, it has become evident over the past few months that providing an evaluation of whether the agroecology training has been successful or not in improving the smallholders' adaptive capacity, and thus the resilience of their communities, is not yet possible. It is difficult to specify a minimum time frame to remain resilient, as it is clear that developing capabilities that improve individuals' or groups' adaptive capacity or resilience is context dependent. For instance, South Africa was experiencing one of its worst droughts in decades but in February and March, the country received significant rainfall. This has major implications for farmers in Limpopo, as the drought in that province was particularly severe. My thoughts are that perhaps the focus should rather lie on continously reinforcing individuals or a system's ability to adapt to change given the contextual nature of shocks and crises that emerge.