Resource conservation for agricultural development farmer's innovations

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Resource conservation for agricultural development farmer's innovations

  1. 1. Resource Conservation for Agricultural Development: Farmer’s Participation and Innovation R.P. Singh, Assoc. Director Extension The day of frontier economy when abundant natural resources were available to propel economic growth and rise standard of leaving are over. We have reached a stage when the sustainable development meaning thereby not only the development of the present but also of the future. Thus the focus has moved from ‘sustained growth’ to ‘sustainable development’. Sustainable implies a notion of equilibrium, an equilibrium that satisfy the needs of development as well as resource conservation. Sustainability = Productivity + Conservation of ResourcesTechnology as helped us to harness the forces of nature thereby enhancing our capacity to improve living standard and quality of life. However, our past achievements in rising resources, thinking that any constraint can be overcome. It is known that technology has proved to be double edged sword in many cases.Green revolution technology for example, has been very successful in achievingspectacular results in food grain production during the last five decades. However, thesign of fatigue in natural resources have already emerged and have unleashed variousagro-ecological problems. It has badly damaged the natural resource base of the country. Action is needed to prevent degradation and regenerate degraded resources. Weurgently need positive steps to extend the forest cover, rejuvenate degraded lands andother natural resources especially two key resources such as land and water. Ecologicalimprovement can certainly condition sustainable development. We must develop visionfor achieving the ecologically sustainable agriculture through income enhancing,productivity growth promoting, resource conserving and environment friendly practices,policies and technologies that will confirm to the emerging paradigms of efficiency,sustainability and environmental security for reducing poverty and achieving sustainableagricultural development.Farmer’s Participation: 1
  2. 2. The needs of development and conservation of resources both are directly relatedwith the farmer in agricultural development. Development satisfy the farmer’s needthrough increased productivity value addition and increase in income while the naturalresources should be used judiciously by those who are engaged in farming or harvestingthe natural resources and increase the productivity. All the agricultural/rural developmentprogrammes are went to raise the socio-economic status of the rural people/ farmers. Ifthese farmers do not participate in the process of development Programme, the wholeexercise is futile and if they are not able to understand natural resource and its judicioususe the sustainability of the agro-eco system will be in danger. Participation of farmers isnot easy. Farmer’s participation requires organization, interaction, consensus building,decision making and conflict resolution. People are central to the use and management of resources. People use resourcesfor livelihood. People need these resources for their wants. People’s participation is prerequisite to community based natural resource management. It is central to a peoplecentered, sustainable development approach and is a continuous interactive process. Participation means that people become the stake holders and decision-makers.Participation must not be induced or co-opted. People must be the subjects, not theobjects of development initiatives. Participation is the essence of responsible stewardshipof natural resources (Resource management for upland areas in Southeast Asia-1995).Community-based Natural Resources Management: Natural resources are the base for food production. If we cut down forest fortimber, we cause erosion that silts up reservoirs which feed irrigation water to vital riceproducing land. We reduce biodiversity and contribute to global warming. If ouragriculture is heavily dependent on chemical fertilizers and pesticides, we will poison ourfood chain and pollute our water. The community based natural resource managementapproach is an on going collective initiative by the community to manage its naturalresources. The management process includes- • Educate and build awareness- Natural resources must be used in a sustainable manner. It is our civic duty to use judiciously, conserve and protect resources for coming generations. 2
  3. 3. • Promote sustainable farming and resource use- Evolve techniques and develop sustainable farming and resource use system. Ensure participation of farm communities. Create partnership among farmers, extensionist and researchers. We must respect to the indigenous knowledge. • Conserve and protect sensitive eco-systems- The community and local government should work together to identify ways to conserve and protect sensitive ecosystems. Criteria for selecting ecosystems are importance of the ecosystem to local livelihood, biological diversity and uniqueness and contribution to the life support chain and local culture. • Enhance regenerating capacity of natural resources- Identify ways to stop distraction and pollution of natural resources. Promote the regenerative capacity of resources (eg. tree planting composting) to prevent erosion. • Promote gender equity and participation- Integrated development programme must ensure women’s participation and empowerment. • Ensure indigenous and minority interests- Indigenous people and other minorities have been robbed of their natural resource base. Their survival is threatened. Ensure the continued use of resources for the survival of minorities and their cultural practices. • Networking and linkage support- provide training to respond to community needs. Link the community with support agencies, universities and NGOs, collaborate with other organizations.Implementing Community-based Natural Resource Management: It is most crucial part of community participation. We must consider that everystep is important, otherwise complete efforts become futile. The following steps areimportant- • Selection of site and collaborators- Identify communities and collaborating community organization or NGOs. • Capacity building- Train collaborators to mobilize people’s participation alongwith sustainable approaches to natural resource management. 3
  4. 4. • Community visioning- Undertake a community visioning with the local leaders, government agencies, women and youth for their futuristic plan. • Understanding the situation- Assess the local situation and study government plans and interventions. • Participatory planning- Assist key community leaders to plan activities. Validate the plans with as many groups as possible. • Implementation- Collaborating group undertakes implementation. Involve as many local organized groups as possible. Ensure that ownership of the project is transferred to the community. • Participatory monitoring and evaluation- Regularly monitor activities. Discuss activities with the participants to evaluate successes and weaknesses.Agricultural Innovations System Innovations and technology dissemination in the agricultural sector used to beorganized as a linear and stepwise process: knowledge was acquired/or generated viaresearch, which was then disseminated by extension services in the form of informationadopted to the needs of the end users and, finally, users were expected to apply this newknowledge. Both approaches, whether ‘pushed’ by the supply of knowledge or ‘pulled’by the demand for information, put researchers at the centre of the innovation process andhave a top down focus on innovation and knowledge to be applied at production andfarmer levels (Hall and Yoganand, 2002). The recent reforms undertaken in agricultural research and extension, all seekgreater stakeholder involvement to strengthen client and user orientation and demanddriven management in order to enhance the impact of the services provided. During the1990s, in line with these broad orientation of agricultural research and extension,emphasis was placed on reorganizing the National Agricultural Research System(NARS). In this concept of promoting innovation through user involvement, FarmerOrganizations (FOs) are instrumental in achieving economics of scale for adopting anddisseminating new knowledge and information. With in the context of the NARS restructuring process, it become generallyaccepted that agricultural innovation requires a much more dynamic and complexinteraction between stakeholders: roles can shift among participating actors, sources for 4
  5. 5. acquiring and generating knowledge are diverse, and there are multiple networks fordisseminating knowledge. The management of knowledge and information became thecentral issue according to the newly developed Agricultural Knowledge and InformationSystem (AKIS) concept. Effective interaction calls for functional linkages betweenstakeholders to ensure that knowledge is shared and information flows smoothly. Bylinking research, extension and training, AKIS aims to promote mutual learning and togenerate, share, use and apply knowledge and information. AKIS clearly allows farmersand their organizations to manage knowledge and information better. This approach to agricultural innovation recently evolved further, based onindustrial innovation studies. Now attention shifted towards understanding and explainingthe successful generation and application of new knowledge. In addition to the AKISfocus on interaction and linkages, the National Innovation System (NIS) conceptemphasizes learning processes and the socio economic contexts that are consideredcrucial for applying new knowledge, thus leading to actual innovation (i.e. includingadoption). Institutional support to facilitate such learning (e.g. learning from others,learning by doing, learning through use) is therefore considered critical. However,innovations particularly technical improvements, often only take place if specific socioeconomic conditions are met. Innovations therefore comprises technical, as well asorganizational and institutional developments also because interaction between actors isembedded in a socio economic context (Hall and Yoganand, 2002; Feinson 2003). In this context an Agricultural Innovation System (AIS) is defined as- ‘A set of organizations and individuals that are involved in generating,disseminating, adopting and using knowledge and information of socio economicsignificance, as well as the policy and institutional context that governs the way suchinteractions and processes take place (FOs and Agril. Innovations 2006)’. A recent document released on innovations by ICAR defined innovations as- ‘An innovation is an idea practice or object that is perceived as new by anindividual or other in a given system (Innovators 2010)’.Farm Innovations Thus, experimentation domain is not only for scientific community but it is foruser and practitioner too. When a practitioner (Farmer) do their work in a socio physical 5
  6. 6. conditions and experience any new way of doing (practice) is benefiting their workefficiency or result, it qualifies under experimentation domain. Generally farmers use toencounter more variable conditions during the course of execution of theworks/technologies and their experience enrich them for further improvement. Theseexperiences some used as innovations. In the farm innovations, there are severalexamples of innovations and innovators e.g. SRI method of rice, Hansraj, Indorasan,Tilak Chandan varieties of paddy etc. A good compilation of innovations of our countryis documented in Innovators-2010 by ICAR, New Delhi.References: • FAO and IIRR, 1995. Resource management for upland areas in Southeast Asia, FARM Field document 2 (PP. 14-17), Bangkok. • Feinson, S. 2003. National Innovation Systems Volume-1 (PP. 13-38) Arizona State University, Tempe, USA. • FOs and Agricultural Innovations, 2006. Royal Tropical Institute (KIT), Bulletin 374 (PP. 32-33). Amsterdam, The Netherlands. • Hall A. and B. Yoganand, 2002. New institutional arrangements in agricultural R&D in Africa: Concepts and case studies. ICRISAT, Nairobi, Kenya. • Innovators 2010. ICAR, New Delhi, India. 6
  7. 7. conditions and experience any new way of doing (practice) is benefiting their workefficiency or result, it qualifies under experimentation domain. Generally farmers use toencounter more variable conditions during the course of execution of theworks/technologies and their experience enrich them for further improvement. Theseexperiences some used as innovations. In the farm innovations, there are severalexamples of innovations and innovators e.g. SRI method of rice, Hansraj, Indorasan,Tilak Chandan varieties of paddy etc. A good compilation of innovations of our countryis documented in Innovators-2010 by ICAR, New Delhi.References: • FAO and IIRR, 1995. Resource management for upland areas in Southeast Asia, FARM Field document 2 (PP. 14-17), Bangkok. • Feinson, S. 2003. National Innovation Systems Volume-1 (PP. 13-38) Arizona State University, Tempe, USA. • FOs and Agricultural Innovations, 2006. Royal Tropical Institute (KIT), Bulletin 374 (PP. 32-33). Amsterdam, The Netherlands. • Hall A. and B. Yoganand, 2002. New institutional arrangements in agricultural R&D in Africa: Concepts and case studies. ICRISAT, Nairobi, Kenya. • Innovators 2010. ICAR, New Delhi, India. 6

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