The Cape Programme for Rural Innovation

In support of the South African initiative to provide farms to new farmers, CDI and its partners have helped to develop a modern training programme for local agricultural extension workers.

Official project title: Building capacity for education and training in extension for the Provincial Directorates of Agriculture in the Eastern, Northern & Western Cape Provinces of South Africa

Upgrading the quality of extension education and training

To restructure the agricultural sector in South-Africa, upgrading the quality of extension advisory services is of strategic importance. In 2005  the Provincial Directorates of Agriculture in the Eastern, Northern and Western Cape submitted a request to NUFFIC to support their efforts to build capacity in extension education and training. This resulted in the Cape Programme for Rural Innovation (CAPRI), implemented by a consortium of CIAT (the Cape Institute for Agricultural Training), CDI, Wageningen University and Van Hall Larenstein.

The programme

CAPRI comprised 5 inter-related project components:

  1. Curriculum development
  2. Research on extension and rural innovation
  3. In-service training of field extension staff
  4. Interactive policy-making
  5. Strengthening project management capacities

The partnering organisations and project implementation

In South-Africa CIAT was the lead institute to coordinate project implementation, while in Wageningen the CDI fulfilled that function for the Dutch partner institutes: the University, VHL and Wageningen International. During implementation (from Sep 2005 to Sep 2008, extended with a budget-neutral extra year) the rate of development in the various project components varied a lot. This reduced the intended synergy among the  project components, but even so substantial results were achieved.


  1. The Extension Diploma course curriculum was revised and up-dated,
  2. A 3 years curriculum for a B.Agric Extension was formulated,
  3. 9 MSc students graduated and 2 students obtained a PhD, 
  4. Over 300 extension field staff attended the Big-5 in-service training,
  5. A core group of 10 extension co-trainers,
  6. Training materials generated by that course and
  7. The PDA EC established a Unit for Human & Institutional Strengthening.

CIAT itself only marginally benefited from CAPRI, due to staff turn-over, institutional reforms and allocation of project activities to temporary staff.

Main lessons which can be learnt from CAPRI

Creating, enhancing and consolidating staff commitment, active monitoring, adequate follow-up, and an enabling environment are essential conditions for successful project implementation as the results achieved at the PDA-EC clearly show. In case any of the aforementioned conditions is lacking, results that can be achieved and sustained in capacity building are minimal, which is illustrated by CIAT where most project activities were conducted by temporary staff

In case during implementation major elements in a project’s design are altered or when major changes in its institutional set-up or setting occur, the project management team and the supervising entities must systematically review the implications of such changes and take effective action for adequate adjustment of the project.

The mandates for operational project management and strategic project management should be kept separate. Staff in charge of those action domains should have sufficient time and be properly positioned to deploy their functions.