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Farmers and researchers: How can collaborative advantages be created in participatory research and technology development?

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  • Volker Hoffmann

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  • Kirsten Probst
  • Anja Christinck

Abstract

This article examines differences in the research approaches of farmers and scientists and analyzes how these differences are related to the conditions under which both groups engage in experimental work. Theoretical considerations as well as practical experiences are presented to emphasize the great potential of farmer–researcher collaboration for rural innovation. In the first part of the article, the innovative power of farmer research and experimentation is acknowledged by presenting examples such as crop and animal breeding, development of new production systems, farm equipment, and social innovations. Considering the respective comparative advantages of farmers and scientists, and inspired by theoretical concepts in the fields of knowledge management and innovation processes, we discuss five topics for optimizing the collaboration between farmers and scientists in the field of technological innovation: user orientation, decentralization, informal modes of experimentation, externalization of tacit knowledge, and economic considerations. A better understanding of such issues could help researchers to define their own role in the research process, acknowledge the strengths and weaknesses of their own and farmers’ research approaches, overcome communication gaps, and find creative solutions for problems that typically occur in the process of participatory technology development. Copyright Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2007

Suggested Citation

  • 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.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:agrhuv:v:24:y:2007:i:3:p:355-368
    DOI: 10.1007/s10460-007-9072-2
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Biggs, Stephen D. & Clay, Edward J., 1981. "Sources of innovation in agricultural technology," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 9(4), pages 321-336, April.
    2. Brij Kothari, 2002. "Theoretical streams in Marginalized Peoples' Knowledge(s): Systems, asystems, and Subaltern Knowledge(s)," Agriculture and Human Values, Springer;The Agriculture, Food, & Human Values Society (AFHVS), vol. 19(3), pages 225-237, September.
    3. Jeffery Bentley, 1989. "What farmers don't know can't help them: The strengths and weaknesses of indigenous technical knowledge in Honduras," Agriculture and Human Values, Springer;The Agriculture, Food, & Human Values Society (AFHVS), vol. 6(3), pages 25-31, June.
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    3. Michael Misiko & Pablo Tittonell & Ken Giller & Paul Richards, 2011. "Strengthening understanding and perceptions of mineral fertilizer use among smallholder farmers: evidence from collective trials in western Kenya," Agriculture and Human Values, Springer;The Agriculture, Food, & Human Values Society (AFHVS), vol. 28(1), pages 27-38, February.
    4. Heng Yi Teah & Yasuhiro Fukushima & Motoharu Onuki, 2015. "Experiential Knowledge Complements an LCA-Based Decision Support Framework," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 7(9), pages 1-16, September.
    5. Birge M. Wolf & Anna-Maria Häring & Jürgen Heß, 2015. "Strategies towards Evaluation beyond Scientific Impact. Pathways not only for Agricultural Research," Organic Farming, Librello publishing house, vol. 1(1), pages 3-18.
    6. Peter Brown & Zvi Hochman & Kerry Bridle & Neil Huth, 2015. "Participatory approaches to address climate change: perceived issues affecting the ability of South East Queensland graziers to adapt to future climates," Agriculture and Human Values, Springer;The Agriculture, Food, & Human Values Society (AFHVS), vol. 32(4), pages 689-703, December.
    7. Misiko, M., 2013. "Dilemma in participatory selection of varieties," Agricultural Systems, Elsevier, vol. 119(C), pages 35-42.
    8. O.M. Joffre & S.A. Castine & M.J. Phillips & S. Senaratna Sellamuttu & D. Chandrabalan & P. Cohen, 2017. "Increasing productivity and improving livelihoods in aquatic agricultural systems: a review of interventions," Food Security: The Science, Sociology and Economics of Food Production and Access to Food, Springer;The International Society for Plant Pathology, vol. 9(1), pages 39-60, February.
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    11. Krista B. Isaacs & Sieglinde S. Snapp & Kimberly Chung & Kurt B. Waldman, 2016. "Assessing the value of diverse cropping systems under a new agricultural policy environment in Rwanda," Food Security: The Science, Sociology and Economics of Food Production and Access to Food, Springer;The International Society for Plant Pathology, vol. 8(3), pages 491-506, June.
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    14. Reed, Brinton & Chan-Halbrendt, Catherine & Tamang, B.B. & Chaudhary, Narendra, 2014. "Analysis of conservation agriculture preferences for researchers, extension agents, and tribal farmers in Nepal using Analytic Hierarchy Process," Agricultural Systems, Elsevier, vol. 127(C), pages 90-96.
    15. Zenebe Adimassu & Simon Langan & Robyn Johnston, 2016. "Understanding determinants of farmers’ investments in sustainable land management practices in Ethiopia: review and synthesis," Environment, Development and Sustainability: A Multidisciplinary Approach to the Theory and Practice of Sustainable Development, Springer, vol. 18(4), pages 1005-1023, August.
    16. 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.
    17. Eastwood, C.R. & Chapman, D.F. & Paine, M.S., 2012. "Networks of practice for co-construction of agricultural decision support systems: Case studies of precision dairy farms in Australia," Agricultural Systems, Elsevier, vol. 108(C), pages 10-18.
    18. Kraaijvanger, Richard & Veldkamp, Tom & Almekinders, Conny, 2016. "Considering change: Evaluating four years of participatory experimentation with farmers in Tigray (Ethiopia) highlighting both functional and human–social aspects," Agricultural Systems, Elsevier, vol. 147(C), pages 38-50.

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