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Agroecological Participatory
Action Research and advisory
systems
Thaddeo Tibasiima Kahigwa
Sustainable Agriculture
Trainers Network, MSFP,
Fort Portal – Uganda
Department of Sustainable
Agricultural Systems,
University of Natural
Resources and Life Sciences
(BOKU), Vienna
tadsima2000@yahoo.com /
thaddeo.tibasiima@students.
boku.ac.at
Overview
• Introduction to Farming in Uganda
• Synopsis of Mpanga Super Farmers Programme
• Mpanga Super Farmers perspective on Agroecology
• Elements of a functional farmer advisory system
• Comparison of Farmer advisory systems in Uganda
• Key elements of Participatory Action Research (PAR)
• PAR Cycle: The case of Mpanga Super Farmer Programme
• Why PAR and its place in Agroecology
• Break throughs of PAR
• PAR in pictures
• Conclusion
• Way forward
Introduction to Farming in Uganda
• Along the equator (tropical climate, two rain seasons)
• Fertile soils but prone to soil fertility loss (erosion and
nutrient mining)
• Mountainous in nature
• Variety of crops and animals possible
• Most are smallholder family farms (0.5-3 acres)
• Agriculture main employer and contributor to the economy
• Limited finances for investing in farming
• Both semi skilled and purely un-skilled labor
• Limited advisory services
• Fast-growing youthful population
Synopsis of Mpanga Super Farmers Programme
• Working in two geographical areas sharing the river Mpanga (Nature
interacts)
• Smallholder farmer families (0.5-3acres of land)
• Deteriorating natural resources
• Mountain-perennial farming system, low land-annual farming system
• Diversified farming systems
• Interdepended/interaction(Up & Downsteam)
• Integrated farm planning
• Help to self help
• Spreading
Mpanga Super Farmers Perspective on
Agroecology
Cognizant of the cyclic
nature of the
interactions between;
Environment/Social
(Joint action&Help to
self help)/Economy
(Markets that offer
value for many)
Elements of a Functional Farmer advisory system:
Model of Mpanga Super Farmer Programme
Comparison of Farmer advisory systems in Uganda
Traditional
• Top-bottom
• Non participatory (Centralized
Research-extensionist-Farmer)
• External input based
• Quick fixes (post hoc)
• Based on theoretical scientific
knowledge
• Limited adoption of
recommendations
• Popular for government
programmes
Participatory
• Bottom-up
• Participatory (Open days, PIPs, FFLG, FFS,
PAR)
• Optimize locally available resources
• Sustainability key consideration
• Integrate indigenous and scientific
knowledge
• Ownership and adaptation of
recommendations
• Civil society for sustainable development
Participatory!!!
Key elements of PAR
• Farmer led
• Integration of indigenous and scientific knowledge
• Shared interest (Farmer/scientist)
• Joint decision, joint action
What, why, how, when, where and for whom
• Cocreation of knowledge and adaptation/contextualization
Continuous learning/unlearning
PAR Cycle: Model of Mpanga Super Farmer
Why PAR?
• Uganda with only 241,550 sq. km
of land has 10 different Agro-
ecological zones. How to adopt
uniform practices in a highly
varying situation!
• Constraints to sustainable
adoption of purely scientific
knowledge
• Accumulated experience of
farmers who daily interact with
nature matters in finding
meaningful feasible solutions
The place of PAR in agroecology
Farming systems are Dynamic. Feed back/outcome from such
interactions in a system can be surprising! Therefore, continuous
learning and unlearning through joint cocreation of knowledge is
CENTRAL to sustainability of our production systems hence PAR
Break throughs of PAR
• Active engagement between farmers and the government
scientific researchers
• Bean varieties suitable for the ecological conditions and; tastes
and preferences of the community selected
• Biorationals for controlling field bean pests tested and verified
• Optimizing soil cover on eroded sloping coffee farms for soil
erosion control
Participatory processes in Pictures
FBM 7.9t ha-1,
200kg N ha-1
Diversity of Knowledge-Life long
learning
Integrated Farm Planning
Identification of bean varieties
with multiple benefits
Conclusion
• Dynamics in farming systems require adaptive management
approaches typical of Participatory processes
• Knowledge creation for dynamic farming systems is optimized
through interaction of indigenous and scientific knowledge
(participatory and transdisciplinary)
• Meaningful Research must be action oriented to solving real
problems
• What matters for farmers is the application/benefit of knowledge not
the complexity of the science
Way forward
• Supportive policy that recognize the value
for “many” achieved through Agroecology
• Support Agroecological research
• Research resilient farming systems for
smallholder family farms
• Enhance the bond between indigenous
and scientific knowledge
• Support non-formal learning that builds
knowledge and life skills
• Foster value for many not “Money”
through diversification of production
systems, services and Fair markets
Special appreciation
• IDP (Technical and Financial support)
• The farmers (collaboration/inspiration)
• Partners in development (Synergy/Enabling environment)

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BB59: Agroecological participatory action research and advisory systems - Thaddeo Tibasiima

  • 1. Agroecological Participatory Action Research and advisory systems Thaddeo Tibasiima Kahigwa Sustainable Agriculture Trainers Network, MSFP, Fort Portal – Uganda Department of Sustainable Agricultural Systems, University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences (BOKU), Vienna tadsima2000@yahoo.com / thaddeo.tibasiima@students. boku.ac.at
  • 2. Overview • Introduction to Farming in Uganda • Synopsis of Mpanga Super Farmers Programme • Mpanga Super Farmers perspective on Agroecology • Elements of a functional farmer advisory system • Comparison of Farmer advisory systems in Uganda • Key elements of Participatory Action Research (PAR) • PAR Cycle: The case of Mpanga Super Farmer Programme • Why PAR and its place in Agroecology • Break throughs of PAR • PAR in pictures • Conclusion • Way forward
  • 3. Introduction to Farming in Uganda • Along the equator (tropical climate, two rain seasons) • Fertile soils but prone to soil fertility loss (erosion and nutrient mining) • Mountainous in nature • Variety of crops and animals possible • Most are smallholder family farms (0.5-3 acres) • Agriculture main employer and contributor to the economy • Limited finances for investing in farming • Both semi skilled and purely un-skilled labor • Limited advisory services • Fast-growing youthful population
  • 4. Synopsis of Mpanga Super Farmers Programme • Working in two geographical areas sharing the river Mpanga (Nature interacts) • Smallholder farmer families (0.5-3acres of land) • Deteriorating natural resources • Mountain-perennial farming system, low land-annual farming system • Diversified farming systems • Interdepended/interaction(Up & Downsteam) • Integrated farm planning • Help to self help • Spreading
  • 5. Mpanga Super Farmers Perspective on Agroecology Cognizant of the cyclic nature of the interactions between; Environment/Social (Joint action&Help to self help)/Economy (Markets that offer value for many)
  • 6. Elements of a Functional Farmer advisory system: Model of Mpanga Super Farmer Programme
  • 7. Comparison of Farmer advisory systems in Uganda Traditional • Top-bottom • Non participatory (Centralized Research-extensionist-Farmer) • External input based • Quick fixes (post hoc) • Based on theoretical scientific knowledge • Limited adoption of recommendations • Popular for government programmes Participatory • Bottom-up • Participatory (Open days, PIPs, FFLG, FFS, PAR) • Optimize locally available resources • Sustainability key consideration • Integrate indigenous and scientific knowledge • Ownership and adaptation of recommendations • Civil society for sustainable development
  • 9. Key elements of PAR • Farmer led • Integration of indigenous and scientific knowledge • Shared interest (Farmer/scientist) • Joint decision, joint action What, why, how, when, where and for whom • Cocreation of knowledge and adaptation/contextualization Continuous learning/unlearning
  • 10. PAR Cycle: Model of Mpanga Super Farmer
  • 11. Why PAR? • Uganda with only 241,550 sq. km of land has 10 different Agro- ecological zones. How to adopt uniform practices in a highly varying situation! • Constraints to sustainable adoption of purely scientific knowledge • Accumulated experience of farmers who daily interact with nature matters in finding meaningful feasible solutions
  • 12. The place of PAR in agroecology Farming systems are Dynamic. Feed back/outcome from such interactions in a system can be surprising! Therefore, continuous learning and unlearning through joint cocreation of knowledge is CENTRAL to sustainability of our production systems hence PAR
  • 13. Break throughs of PAR • Active engagement between farmers and the government scientific researchers • Bean varieties suitable for the ecological conditions and; tastes and preferences of the community selected • Biorationals for controlling field bean pests tested and verified • Optimizing soil cover on eroded sloping coffee farms for soil erosion control
  • 14. Participatory processes in Pictures FBM 7.9t ha-1, 200kg N ha-1 Diversity of Knowledge-Life long learning Integrated Farm Planning Identification of bean varieties with multiple benefits
  • 15. Conclusion • Dynamics in farming systems require adaptive management approaches typical of Participatory processes • Knowledge creation for dynamic farming systems is optimized through interaction of indigenous and scientific knowledge (participatory and transdisciplinary) • Meaningful Research must be action oriented to solving real problems • What matters for farmers is the application/benefit of knowledge not the complexity of the science
  • 16. Way forward • Supportive policy that recognize the value for “many” achieved through Agroecology • Support Agroecological research • Research resilient farming systems for smallholder family farms • Enhance the bond between indigenous and scientific knowledge • Support non-formal learning that builds knowledge and life skills • Foster value for many not “Money” through diversification of production systems, services and Fair markets
  • 17. Special appreciation • IDP (Technical and Financial support) • The farmers (collaboration/inspiration) • Partners in development (Synergy/Enabling environment)