“Farmers are not waiting for the solutions from formal sectors. They are very much enterprising and innovative for their own survival”

The Asia Pacific regional e-consultation has started last Tuesday and introductions are in full swing. We have asked participants kick off with a short introduction followed by description of an  experience where agricultural knowledge and innovation could be transformed into regional development impact.

I am sharing here one of the many stories that we have been able to hear over the last 4 days. Thanks to TJ James, Anthropologist working in the field of indigenous knowledge and farmer’s innovation and presently associated with an NGO ‘Peermade Development Society’ based at Kerala, India as Advisor.

TJ James says:

“While working with local innovators and indigenous knowledge experts we had realized most of the technologies developed by the local community are for solving their own location specific problems. These technological needs of marginal farmers are ignored by the mainstream R&D institutes. Since market is also limited for location specific problems and private sector is also not much interested in developing solutions. In this context guided by business and service motives, farmers themselves have developed several viable technologies for solving their own problems. Cardamom and pepper are the major crops in our area. Farmers have developed own varieties, processing techniques, cultivation practices in these crops and diffused widely  through farmer to farmer communication channels and majority of small farmers have adopted these practices.

What I want to stress is that farmers are not waiting for the solutions from formal sectors.  They are very much enterprising and innovative for their own survival. Most of the new crops, practices, innovations, technologies adopted by the farmer’s are identified and selected by themselves from various sources, not released or recommended by the formal sector. They are not seeing as universities or research stations as source of innovation or knowledge. Good farmers are not depending formal institutes for knowledge or innovation .One of the reasons for widening the gap between the formal sector and farmers is that the research stations are not proving practical knowledge or catering the needs of the farmers.

On the other hand the enterprising, innovative capacities are not supported adequately or promoted by the formal sector. Several of these innovations and knowledge practices could be scaled up with the participation of formal sector. Formal release or recognition of a local innovation or knowledge will help in the adoption of that practices or innovation in a wider scale.

Building of effective partnerships and networks of farmers and R&D institutes is very critical. These networks can enhance innovative and enterprising capacities of farmers multifold and formal sector could also deliver effectively in high risk areas through these partnerships. The approach from the formal sector should be more participatory, open, two way communication and should enhance the learning and innovative capacities of farmers, rather than ready made solutions.  For more information visit: http://www.pdslandtolab.org/

To join the regional e-consultations go to: http://www.egfar.org/egfar/website/gcard/regional-consultations

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