A realistic alternative to traditional technology development and transfer has been utilized by the WorldFish Center to integrate pond fish culture into farming systems in Malawi and Cameroon. Participatory rural appraisal tools are used to assess farm resources and constraints and introduce the basic concepts of aquaculture. Topics for farmer-participatory research projects aimed at integrating aquaculture into the existing farming system are then agreed and conducted onfarm, monitored by researchers through direct observation by a research-extension team comprised of senior research staff and extension technicians. In areas where such participatory research has been field-tested, typical technology-adoption rates by farmers are in the range of 86% with 76% adopting at least two and 24% adopting four or more technologies. Within six months of the completion of farmer-participatory research, 46 percent of new adopters had learned about it from other farmers. A third of these farmers had adopted two or more technologies from their neighbours. Within two years, almost 80 percent of the farmers practicing lAA.in and near targeted villages had never participated first-hand in any research/extension exercises. In those areas of Malawi where these transformations have been studied in detail. an original group of 34 farmers undertaking four years of participatory IAA research, has now expanded to more than 225 practicing farmers.
A farmer-participatory approach to aquaculture technology development & dissemination
Brummett, R., Jamu, D., Jere, J., Pouomogne, V. (2004)
Uganda Journal of Agricultural Sciences 9: 530-536