Empowerment is central to women’s participation in agricultural research and to boost their role in agriculture and contribution to food security. To do so it is important to understand the current level of their participation and the factors that influence their participation in the agricultural research process.
In Ethiopia, the number of women engaged in agriculture is increasing as more men withdraw from farming. Although women play a central role in agriculture and family well-being, their roles remains invisible and women farmers’ participation in agricultural research and extension is still very low. Africa RISING recently carried out a study to better understand these issues.
Efforts to help farmers with adopt improved crop varieties and agricultural technologies have been launched in Mali. A series of agriculture input fairs were recently held in Bougouni District as part of a wider initiative to bring together input suppliers, distributors and farmers and provide a platform for them to strengthening partnerships.
Farmers and extension agents from Babati District in Tanzania took part in a training, held on 20 April 2015, by Africa RISING scientists from the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) and the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) as part of activities to integrate improved forages into smallholder crop-livestock systems through capacity building for farmers and extension officers.
Africa RISING has received additional support from the USAID mission in Tanzania to scale out appropriate technologies to smallholder farmers in the maize- and rice-farming systems in the country.
A multidisciplinary team of researchers from Africa RISING recently visited Malawi as part of a learning exchange visit of project sites and trials. Members of the team came from Kenya, Tanzania, Zambia, and Ethiopia representing the various CGIAR Centres implementing the project. They visited Africa RISING trial sites in Dedza and Ntcheu districts in Malawi representing the three agroecological zones that the project is working in: the dry and hot lowlands, the moderate temperature mid-altitude zone, and the comparatively cooler high-altitude zone. The researchers visited some of the “Mother-Baby” trials that the project is conducting in these two districts.
The partners of the Africa RISING project and the Babati District Council have launched the Babati District Research for Development (R4D) platform to facilitate the uptake of the project’s innovations in the district. Babati District in Northern Tanzania is one of the three district the project is working in in Tanzania. The platform will help in setting priorities for the research and ensure sustainability of the project.
This post was drafted by Terry Clayton based on contributions by Beth Cullen (ILRI) at the Participatory Agricultural Research: Approaches, Design and Evaluation (PARADE) workshop held in Oxford from 9-13 December 2013. In his keynote address at the PARADE workshop, Professor Paul Sillitoe offered insights into how theory informs practice. Beth Cullen’s presentation on day …
Agricultural research is still seen primarily as research in plant, animal and soil science that affects crop production. The social, economic, and political bases of crop production and land management have most often taken a back seat to the design of technical interventions. Participatory research is still seen as an ‘add on’ after the ‘real’ research has been completed. Farming systems research and Robert Chambers’ work on ‘putting farmers first’ created an impact, but participatory approaches are still marginal within agronomic research. How do we change that?
What must we do to gain wider acceptance of participatory agricultural research methods within the mainstream of the CGIAR system and beyond? Professor Paul Sillitoe (Department of Anthropology, Durham University) believes the answer to the question will in no small part depend on addressing some of the deep-seated contradictions within development discourse. In his opening keynote, Professor Sillitoe outlined the deeply entrenched incongruities that PAR practitioners must resolve, or at least acknowledge. The list is long (17 points in all), which underscores how deeply conflicted our discourse is.