Knowledge for Development

Exploring the interface between informal and formal innovation in seed development in South Africa


Date: 10/04/2014


Rachel Wynberg and Laura Pereira, of the Department of environmental and geographical science, University of Cape Town, South Africa present preliminary results of their study into the relationship between formal and informal seed innovation systems in South Africa. They argue that a more responsible formal innovation system requires new incentive structures that integrate social benefit, environmental sustainability, agrobiodiversity and food and nutrition security and that is more inclusive in serving the needs of resource-poor farmers. This shift necessitates a transformation in formal seed innovation regimes through the process of ‘disruptive innovation’ – innovations that meets the needs of those not served by the dominant institutional and organizational systems. Their work forms part of an ongoing research process to elucidate factors that contribute towards building a more just and sustainable seed innovation system in South Africa, and that makes use of the diverse knowledge bases in the country in order to improve the country’s food security and make it more adaptive to potential future stresses.   

(Progress Project, 10/12/2013)

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