8. A method for farmer-participatory research and technology transfer: upland soil conservation in the Philippines.
Expl. Agric., 25, 1989, pp. 423-433
This paper discusses farmer-to-farmer technology transfer and the participation of resource-poor farmers in the adaptation of agroforestry technologies, as well as a range of interlinked, mostly agronomic and biophysical, research issues.
The research was done on volcanic plateau and alluvial plain sites with moderately well drained acidic clay soils of pH 3.9-5.2.
Although rice, maize, cassava and perennials are grown throughout the area, there are three distinct zones which correspond roughly to increasing altitude and rainfall. Upland rice-fallow rotations and cassava are the main cropping patterns in the lowest altitude area (400-500 m). Maize-maize and maize-fallow rotations predominate in the middle area (500-650 m). Maize, vegetables (especially tomato) and perennials dominate the upper area (650-950 m).
The interdisciplinary research involved scientists from IRRI and the DA.
Efforts to incorporate a farmer perspective used methods from agricultural anthropology to understand farmers' practices, perceptions and technical knowledge, to link this to appropriate research into technology development and to incorporate both into farmer technology adaptation and dissemination.
Initially, 55 farmers were selected at random and informally interviewed using open-ended, interactive and structured guide questions which had been selected after a period of exploratory research had determined some of the key issues facing farmers.
Concluding, the author states, that in terms of farming systems methodologies, the experience shows that a simple alternative method for on-farm research and technology transfer might consist of first understanding farmer practice, perception and technical knowledge; using this and farmer experiments to help identify technical possibilities and research issues; back-up research on a combination of alternatives that integrates farmer and researcher concerns and contributions; and transfer of technology from adaptor-adopters to farmers who want solutions to problems addressed by the technologies.
This work supports the idea that participation is a two-way process and that a participation 'paradigm' should progress from the obsolete view that 'the experts know best' to the increasingly fashionable concept that 'the local people know best' and on to the realistic and helpful idea that 'both experts and local people have unique areas of expertise which collectively provide a better basis for development than either alone'.
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Erosion and desertification control
Africa, review, bean production, soil fertility, varieties, technology
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