Table 5. Examples of innovation and social learning.

Characteristics            Examples

Social learning
  Example 1: Community agricultural projects (Area 2, Khomele, South Africa)
    Initiated visits through matrilineal ties to other projects within the Nzhelele valley to observe pig husbandry and breeding of indigenous goats and poultry, which would be more resilient than cattle to drought. They also observed appropriate technologies for irrigation of drylands and received training from their contacts on how to repair the canals and flood-damaged dams. As a consequence, most changed to shorter growing varieties of maize and beans in the nonirrigated dry soils around the village, and changed to new tomato varieties in the irrigated fields as recommended by other farmers.
  Example 2: Women’s Farming Group (Area 4, Nwadjahane, Mozambique)
    A group of women farmers formed through social networks with the neighboring villages of Riguane and Chalala, and copied new practices from farmers who were participating in formal agricultural projects in the area. They planted short-maturing varieties of cassava and sweet potatoes, which could be grown on the dry sandy soils during drought. The women believed that their interest in local politics and engagement with people in the projects were the reasons that the use of these new varieties had increased by 23% by the group during the year of study. The changes helped the women’s subsistence households to spread the risks from variable weather.

Responsive experimentation
  Example 3: Young commercial farmers (Area 2, Limpopo Province, South Africa)
    Younger farmers had adapted information on agricultural practices from the scientific extension services to suit their own needs and respond to drought and variable climate. They experimented with rotators, tractors, and developed cheap water-saving techniques for irrigation. In particular, they experimented with tomato varieties to find suitable crops for the increased intense heat of the dry season, varied the spacing of plants and tried inorganic inputs. Of the farmers interviewed, 97% believed that that agricultural experimentation and innovation had helped them to try a more commercial approach to farming while remaining resilient to the changing climate in the area.

Discourse imitation
  Example 4: The role of ‘new leaders’ (Area 2, Khomele, South Africa)
    Adaptive responses are framed by social norms and local attitudes. The community was in the process of navigating between traditional identity, with ‘subsistence farmers’ and traditional leaders, and a new entrepreneurial attitude from outspoken ‘modernizers’ within formal agricultural projects, youth groups, and the civic organization. Interviews with young people highlighted that they perceived entrepreneurs in the village to be their role models and identified the importance of leaders that are able to represent new social norms and changing attitudes in rural areas in South Africa. The youth suggested that it was entrepreneurs’ attitude to risk, ability to seek opportunities, and establish patron relationships beyond the village that would be necessary in their own future activities.

  Example 5: Formalising rules that ensure ‘fairness’ over local resources (Area 3, Mcitsheni, South Africa and Area 2, Khomele, South Africa)
    The autonomous formation of social groups into a men’s maize cooperative and women’s horticulture garden projects reduced the number of conflicts over land access and rights in Mcitsheni, and in Khomele, 43% of the total sample interviewed coordinated their tomato sales in order to limit competition for contracts to local factories in Dzanani and Musina. The autonomous formation of a village cattle auction in this location had also promoted social cohesion and reduced conflict over pricing.