Participatory technology development Participatory rural development Farmer based development Farmer based research Enabling farmer participation
Participatory technology development (PTD) is a process of interaction between local people and outside facilitators to develop more sustainable farming systems. It starts with a joint analysis of the situation, an activity commonly known as Participatory Rural Appraisal (PRA). It continues by including participatory planning, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of local development activities. The heart of PTD is experimentation with new ideas designed and conducted by farmers with the encouragement of PTD practitioners. Training is designed to stimulate active learning by participants who draw on their own experience.
Participatory rural development emphasises local knowledge and comprehension of the situation in a particular area or region. The direct implication of this is that standardised text book approaches to rural development cannot account for the number of social, economic and environmental variables that come in to play in any one given situation, the unique character of local development needs. This includes understanding the local meaning of poverty and development, to recognise local basis for self reliance, identify correctly "agents of change" in local situations, understand local customs and cultural norms for social interaction and working together, and to appreciate perceptions of non-local players and external community relations.
The Rockefeller Foundation has a food security program that emphasizes enabling farmer participation through using effective and sustainable methods of engaging farmers in articulating their needs and in analyzing, designing and implementing agricultural innovations. This brings farmers together with extension workers, research scientists and other groups in problem identification, solution and evaluation.
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