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Participatory impact assessment: Bridging the gap between scientists' theory and farmers' practice


  • Schindler, Jana
  • Graef, Frieder
  • König, Hannes Jochen


Food security is a major challenge for smallholders in Sub-Saharan Africa. Many development initiatives have attempted to enhance food security by improving agricultural production and productivity. An ex-ante impact assessment is a critical step for identifying positive and negative impacts before implementation of these agricultural innovations and it is therefore a critical component during project-/program planning. While many theoretical discourses have highlighted a strong need for active involvement of local stakeholders during project-/program planning to develop suitable solutions, in practice, local communities are still not mandatorily involved in the ex-ante impact assessment before the implementation of development initiatives. The purpose of this research is to highlight how stakeholders' and researchers' knowledge can enhance the quality of impact assessments if they are used in a complementary way. We applied two methodological impact assessment approaches (Framework for participatory impact assessment [FoPIA] and ScaIA-Food Security [ScaIA-FS]) to assess the impacts of five agricultural upgrading strategies (UPS) from a researcher's perspective as well as from a farmer's point of view in two case study villages in rural Dodoma, Tanzania. We observed that farmers and scientists had considerably different views on the impacts of the proposed agricultural UPS. While scientists focused on direct causal impact chains of the UPS, farmers considered more the indirect linkages, taking into account their complex livelihoods. Ex-ante impact assessment is a valuable tool to anticipate possible effects, and the process facilitates insights into complex socio-environmental contexts of local communities as well as structured thinking and knowledge exchange. We therefore see bi-lateral ex-ante impact assessments as a corrective step before UPS implementation, which would help to adapt solutions that will benefit local communities.

Suggested Citation

  • Schindler, Jana & Graef, Frieder & König, Hannes Jochen, 2016. "Participatory impact assessment: Bridging the gap between scientists' theory and farmers' practice," Agricultural Systems, Elsevier, vol. 148(C), pages 38-43.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:agisys:v:148:y:2016:i:c:p:38-43
    DOI: 10.1016/j.agsy.2016.07.002

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Linda Mayoux & Robert Chambers, 2005. "Reversing the paradigm: quantification, participatory methods and pro-poor impact assessment," Journal of International Development, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 17(2), pages 271-298.
    2. Hannes Jochen König & Johannes Schuler & Utia Suarma & Desmond McNeill & Jacques Imbernon & Frieta Damayanti & Syarifah Aini Dalimunthe & Sandra Uthes & Junun Sartohadi & Katharina Helming & Jake Morr, 2010. "Assessing the Impact of Land Use Policy on Urban-Rural Sustainability Using the FoPIA Approach in Yogyakarta, Indonesia," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 2(7), pages 1-19, July.
    3. Sumberg, James & Okali, Christine & Reece, David, 2003. "Agricultural research in the face of diversity, local knowledge and the participation imperative: theoretical considerations," Agricultural Systems, Elsevier, vol. 76(2), pages 739-753, May.
    4. Kristjanson, P. & Place, F. & Franzel, S. & Thornton, P. K., 2002. "Assessing research impact on poverty: the importance of farmers' perspectives," Agricultural Systems, Elsevier, vol. 72(1), pages 73-92, April.
    5. Volker Hoffmann & Kirsten Probst & Anja Christinck, 2007. "Farmers and researchers: How can collaborative advantages be created in participatory research and technology development?," Agriculture and Human Values, Springer;The Agriculture, Food, & Human Values Society (AFHVS), vol. 24(3), pages 355-368, September.
    6. Erik Millstone & Patrick Van Zwanenberg & Fiona Marshall, 2010. "Monitoring and Evaluating Agricultural Science and Technology Projects: Theories, Practices and Problems," IDS Bulletin, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 41(6), pages 75-87, November.
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    1. repec:eee:agisys:v:162:y:2018:i:c:p:164-178 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. repec:spr:ssefpa:v:9:y:2017:i:6:d:10.1007_s12571-017-0745-4 is not listed on IDEAS


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