Failing to Yield? Ploughs, conservation agriculture and the problem of agricultural intensification: An example from the Zambezi Valley, Zimbabwe
Baudron, F. ; Andersson, J.A. ; Corbeels, M. ; Giller, K.E. - \ 2012
Journal of Development Studies 48 (2012)3. - ISSN 0022-0388 - p. 393 - 412.
resource-poor farmers - land husbandry act - communal area - africa - management - discourse - nigeria
Agricultural intensification, or increasing yield, has been a persistent theme in policy interventions in African smallholder agriculture. This article focuses on two hegemonic policy models of such intensification: (1) the ‘Alvord model’ of plough-based, integrated crop-livestock farming promoted in colonial Zimbabwe; and (2) minimum-tillage mulch-based, Conservation Agriculture, as currently preached by a wide range of international agricultural research and development agencies. An analysis of smallholder farming practices in Zimbabwe's Zambezi Valley, reveals the limited inherent understanding of farmer practices in these models. It shows why many smallholder farmers in southern Africa are predisposed towards extensification rather than intensification, and suggests that widespread Conservation Agriculture adoption is unlikely.
Enhancing benefits from polycultures including tilapia (Oreochromis niloticus) within integrated pond-dike systems: A participatory trial with households of varying socio-economic level in rural and peri-urban areas of Bangladesh
Karim, M. ; Little, D.C. ; Verdegem, M.C.J. ; Telfer, T. ; Wahab, M.A. - \ 2011
Aquaculture 314 (2011)1-4. - ISSN 0044-8486 - p. 225 - 235.
resource-poor farmers - farming systems - aquaculture - fertilization - diversity - thailand - issues - nile
Linkages between the fish ponds and surrounding land for horticulture are a distinctive feature of farming households in Bangladesh. It was hypothesised that integration of fish ponds in integrated farming system enhances livelihoods and reduces poverty. The effects of introducing tilapia into existing integrated farming systems on the broader pond-dike system and associated livelihoods in rural and peri-urban settlements in central north (Mymensingh District) of Bangladesh were evaluated. Farmer participatory research carried out during June 2004 to March 2005 showed that production of fish could be substantially increased by increasing nutrient inputs rather than by stocking tilapia as an additional species. However, the ‘improved’ nutrient input applied by farmers was still well below the level required for optimal tilapia performance. Rural households benefited more than peri-urban households through enhanced direct consumption of fish and vegetables. In contrast, peri-urban households benefited more through cash sales of both fish and vegetables than rural households. Households with access to ponds, identified as relatively better-off and worse-off in the researched communities benefited equally selling and consuming fish and vegetable. Similar production levels of vegetable production between groups applying different fish culture practises suggesting that increased investment in fish production is complementary rather than competitive to vegetable production in integrated pond-dike farming systems. It was concluded that considerable potential exists to further develop pond-dike systems, which would improve livelihoods of both better-off and worse-off producers. Reference is made to the potential impacts of such changes in integrated pond-dike management if promoted more widely in Bangladesh.
Challenges to science and society in the sustainable management and use of water: investigating the role of social learning
Ison, R. ; Röling, N.G. ; Watson, D. - \ 2007
Environmental Science & Policy 10 (2007)6. - ISSN 1462-9011 - p. 499 - 511.
resource-poor farmers - agricultural-research - commons
Water catchments are characterised by connectedness, complexity, uncertainty, conflict, multiple stakeholders and thus, multiple perspectives. Catchments are thus unknowable in objective terms although this understanding does not currently form the dominant paradigm for environmental management and policy development. In situations of this type it is no longer possible to rely only on scientific knowledge for management and policy prescriptions. ¿Social learning¿, which is built on different paradigmatic and epistemological assumptions, offers managers and policy makers alternative and complementary possibilities. Social learning is central to non-coercion. It is gaining recognition as a potential governance or coordination mechanism in complex natural resource situations such as the fulfilment of the European Water Framework Directive, but its underlying assumptions and successful conduct need to be much better understood. SLIM (social learning for the integrated management and sustainable use of water at catchment scale), a European Union, Fifth Framework project assembled a multidisciplinary group of researchers to research social learning in catchments of different type, scale, and socio-economic situation. Social tools and methods were developed from this research which also employed a novel approach to project management. In this introductory paper the rationale for the project, the project design intentions and realisations, and the case for researching social learning in contexts such as water catchments are described. Some challenges presented by a social learning approach for science (as a form of practice) and society in the sustainable management and use of water are raised.
Convergence of Sciences: the management of agricultural research for the small scale farmers in Benin and Ghana
Hounkonnou, D. ; Kossou, D.K. ; Kuyper, T.W. ; Leeuwis, C. ; Richards, P. ; Röling, N.G. ; Sakyi-Dawson, O. ; Huis, A. van - \ 2006
NJAS Wageningen Journal of Life Sciences 53 (2006)3/4. - ISSN 1573-5214 - p. 343 - 367.
verspreiding van onderzoek - onderzoeksimplementatie - organisatie van onderzoek - benin - ghana - diffusion of research - implementation of research - organization of research - benin - ghana - resource-poor farmers
The Convergence of Sciences programme (CoS) addresses the sub-optimal impact of science on the livelihoods of resource-poor farmers in West Africa, particularly in Benin and Ghana where it operates. CoS aims to develop insights into the pathways through which investment in science and technology can improve rural lives. To this end, CoS features participatory experimental and action research by eight PhD students, who each develop technologies and institutional arrangements with groups of farmers. The ninth PhD student carries out comparative `research on agricultural research¿. The current article deals with a higher aggregation level than the individual project: the management of the programme as a whole. How did CoS try to zero in on the small windows of opportunity West African farmers face? How did it manage the ensuing issues of trans-disciplinarity, and of interaction among students, (social and natural science) supervisors, and other key stakeholders? How does it face up to the issues that arise with respect to scaling up? One of the most interesting aspects of CoS is that it not only deals with technical innovation within the constraining institutional and policy framework conditions, but also experiments with incipient ideas about how to stretch them.
Converging farmers' and scientists' perspectives on researchable constraints on organic cocoa production in Ghana: results of a diagnostic study
Ayenor, G.K. ; Röling, N.G. ; Padi, B. ; Huis, A. van; Obeng-Ofori, D. ; Atengdem, P.B. - \ 2004
NJAS Wageningen Journal of Life Sciences 52 (2004)3/4. - ISSN 1573-5214 - p. 261 - 284.
bedrijfssystemenonderzoek - cacao - plantenplagen - sociaal onderzoek - farming systems research - cocoa - plant pests - social research - resource-poor farmers - agricultural-research
A diagnostic study was conducted to identify the major constraints on organic cocoa production at Brong-Densuso and surrounding communities in the Suhum-Kraboa-Coaltar District, astern Region, Ghana. The study followed a technographic study that highlighted cocoa as a public crop requiring broad techno-social innovations. In the technographic study, problems identified included low yields, persistent pest management constraints and a low adoption rate of technologies developed by the Cocoa Research Institute of Ghana. The diagnostic study adopted a Participatory Learning and Action Research approach to set up and implement fieldwork with relevant stakeholders leading to problem identification, prioritization, and collective design of an action plan (research agenda). Cocoa farmers within the study area are conscious of the environmental problems associated with the use of inorganic pesticides and the high cost of using them. Hence, they produce cocoa without applying any pesticides. Quite recently, however, their association with an organic marketing company led to a search for non-chemical pest and disease control measures and for ways to certify their cocoa beans as organic. A misconception as to what species of cocoa pests constitute `capsids¿ was settled between farmers and scientists using a cage experiment on capsid damage. The farmers became convinced that the Cocoa Mosquito (Helopeltis spp.) (Hemiptera: Miridae), which they had previously considered an important pest, was a capsid species that caused little or no damage to the beans inside the pods. After this clarification,
Linking science and farmers' innovative capacity: diagnostic studies from Ghana and Benin
Röling, N.G. ; Hounkonnou, D. ; Offei, S.K. ; Tossou, R. ; Huis, A. van - \ 2004
NJAS Wageningen Journal of Life Sciences 52 (2004)3/4. - ISSN 1573-5214 - p. 211 - 235.
resource-poor farmers - agricultural-research
The article is an introduction to a series of articles about diagnostic studies carried out by eight PhD students in Ghana and Benin. These studies form a prelude to their experimental action research with groups of farmers to develop technologies that work in local conditions and are acceptable to farmers. A last article reports on a comparison of these eight studies by the ninth PhD student in the Convergence of Sciences (CoS) project. In this introductory article, it is argued that the need to ground agricultural research in the needs and circumstances of farmers is as strong as the need to ground research in the international scientific discourse. It explores the reasons why the West African context requires careful diagnostic studies to be able to design agricultural research that is of any use. It introduces preanalytical choice as an overriding concept to explain why choices that reduce the degrees of freedom have to be made explicitly on the basis of criteria. Such criteria are suggested for the quality of preanalytical choices, and the paper ends by examining the way the CoS project made some of its choices
Influence of pesticide information sources on citrus farmer's knowledge, perception and practices in pest management, Mekong Delta, Vietnam
Mele, P. van; Hai, T.V. ; Thas, O. ; Huis, A. van - \ 2002
International Journal of Pest Management 48 (2002)2. - ISSN 0967-0874 - p. 169 - 177.
resource-poor farmers - africa
In 1998-99, about 150 citrus farmers and 120 pesticide sellers were interviewed in Can Tho and Dong Thap province, Mekong Delta, Vietnam. Media, pesticide sellers and extension staff had different influences on farmers' pest perception and management practices depending on the region and intensity of the cropping system. Pesticide sellers were notified by about 95% of the farmers about their major pest problems, and the type of pesticides sold in their shop was primarily based on farmers' demand (87%) and then on company promotion (56%). Those farmers relying on pesticide sellers used more of the banned insecticide methyl parathion. Probably for fear of being accused of illegal practices, none of the pesticide sellers mentioned that they recommended this product or that farmers asked for it. In the intensive Tieu mandarin cropping system, media and extension activities increased farmers' knowledge of difficult-to-observe pests such as the citrus red mite Panonychus citri and thrips, Thrips sp. and Scirtothrips sp. Since extension was weak in sweet orange, those farmers exposed to media only reported the damage symptom of mites, not knowing the causal agent. Media alone seemingly did not suffice to acquaint farmers with these small organisms. Farmers getting advice from the media advertisements applied more different pesticide products and sprayed insecticides more frequently, whereas the extension has stimulated the use of acaricides and increased the number of both insecticide and fungicide sprays. The traditional practice of biological control with the ant Oecophylla smaragdina might be endangered with growing media influence and when extension activities remain confined to chemical pest control. Constraints and potentials of different information sources are discussed in relation to developing IPM programmes for citrus