East Africa / HUMIDTROPICS / Innovation Systems / Intensification / Southern Africa / Tanzania

RISING voices: Per Hillbur, research consultant on social geography

Per Hilbur talking to farmers in the project site in Babati, Tanzania.

Per Hillbur talking to farmers in the project site in Babati, Tanzania.

Per Hillbur is from Hammenhög, Sweden. He has a double degree in natural and social sciences and a PhD in Human Geography. He has over 23 years experience in process-oriented research and teaching in Geography, Environmental Science, Tropical Agriculture and Urban Planning. Before joining Africa RISING, he was a senior lecturer in Environmental Science and an Associate Professor in Human Geography.

He joined Africa RISING in May 2013 as a research consultant on Social Geography. He is supporting the project on how to approach and engage communities in order to strengthen adoption and impact of the program. While most technologies to improve agriculture productivity are readily available, their adoption and integration in the communities are important challenges.

What do you find unique about Africa RISING?

What I find the most unique about Africa RISING is the strong emphasis on the complexity of farming, the idea that all components and aspects of farming and life in rural areas must be in place. And that sustainable intensification is crucial for food security in a long-term perspective.

What motivates you in your work with Africa RISING?

I want to inspire people to listen and learn from each other. After all sustainable intensification is all about negotiations.

What are some challenges in Africa RISING and how do you contribute to address these?

The most challenging aspect of the Africa RISING project is the shortness of the planning horizon within the program, which means limited opportunities for lasting impact. I can contribute to addressing this challenge by stressing the role of trust, confidence and long-term perspectives in everything we do.

I have learned that farmers are better at integration than researchers!

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