Participatory Agricultural Research

Report
PARTICIPATORY AGRICULTURAL RESEARCH
E Kruger. KwaNalu CoP, 5,6 August 2014
PARTICIPATORY
AGRICULTURAL RESEARCH
Review for South Africa and KZN
International trends



Recognition of the importance of
reduction of rural poverty, food insecurity
and malnutrition
Through giving attention to agricultural
innovation systems that lead to outcomes
at scale – Smallholder family farmers
become central in the design of research
processes as partners in planning and
implementation
This requires multi-dimensional and multi
stakeholder learning processes
From----To





From increase in production to
improvement in local livelihoods
From technology transfer to codevelopment of innovation systems
From beneficiaries of projects to
influential stakeholders within
programmes
From functional participation to
empowerment
From applied and adaptive research
to strategic and pre-adaptive
research
Themes

Increasing productivity and sustainability;
mostly in the developing South and mostly
with support from more developed Northern
countries
Pro poor targeting
 Conservation and sustainable use of natural
resources
 Local governance and equity (especially gender)
 Trade globalisation and supply chains
 Migration and rural-urban dynamics
 Property rights and collective action
 Agriculture and human health
 Multi stakeholder partnerships

Underlying assumptions/goals
x
x


New technology is the key leading factor in the
process of desired social change
Increased yields and production is the underlying
goal of all agricultural research and development
Meaningful participation of user groups in the
process of investigating improvement in local
situations
Increased livelihood diversity, resilience and security
is to be the underlying goal of all agricultural
research and development
In SA

Two broad trends
 Participatory
innovation
development
 Primarily
NGOs supported through
international donor or more recently,
CSI funding.
 Including organisations with an
advisory/extension role
 Participatory
 More
action research
the domain of Universities;
 Easier to tailor around post graduate
degrees
Participatory Action Research


Emphasises participation and
action, through research
Seeks to understand the world
by trying to change it,
collaboratively and following
reflection
Collective inquiry and
experimentation grounded in
experience and social history.
Provides academic
flexibility and rigour
and a framework to
include socio-political
and cultural aspects
Primarily a method of
social enquiry
Methodologies: PRA
and PLA , experiential
learning and
indigenous knowledge
facilitation techniques,
photo voice,
community theatre,
role plays
Participatory Innovation Development


Learning and innovation in
sustainable agriculture
programmes
Involves collaboration between
researchers and farmers in
analysis and testing of
alternatives
Response to locally
defined problems by
involving farmers as users
of the research process;
lately expanded beyond
technologies to socioorganisational
arrangements
Methodologies;
farming systems
research and
extension, PTD, Farmer
to Farmer , Farmer
Field Schools,
Lessons from Agricultural Extension
A Technology
Transfer System
Researcher
Extension Officer
(linear)
Farmer
Farmer
Researcher
An Action
Research /
Learning System
(facilitation)
Extension Officer
Example 1: GrainSA SFIP


Farmer centred innovation systems
research process working with
farming learning groups and local
facilitators to implement a farmer
experimentation process
Focused on conservation agriculture
-situated within the whole maize
value chain and organised around
Saving and Credit groups as the
organising principle.
Example 2: University of MissouriKwaNalu Community of Practice


The Community of Practice (CoP) approach includes
smallholders, their communities, scientists, and
agribusiness and government representatives and
allows emerging farmers to be at the centre they
will experiment and use GM crops in their own
fields.
Such participatory research creates feedback loops
for researchers, farmers, extension advisors,
policymakers and others involved
SA Policy

Catch all



Technology transfer: diffusion of technology still seen as relevant,
with training of extension officers and on farm training of farmers
Participatory approach; builds on farmers’ own capacities and
abilities to organise themselves, with on farm trials and
dissemination of innovations
Advisory approach; achievable in the highly commercial farming
sector where farmer are highly competent, able to identify their
own problems and are innovators. (DoA 2005 Strategy)
This highlights the difficulties Government is facing in providing a
systematic and coherent service to farmers and an inability to integrate
the concepts of placing farmers centre stage in any of the agricultural
research and development processes

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