Participatory Approaches to
Agricultural Research and
The emergence of participation as an issue to be addressed within extension approaches was slower in coming to the forefront, as compared to the attention participation received within research systems. One key element of participation is an emphasis on developing the capacity of local people as an end in itself, as opposed to the purely mechanistic emphasis of participation as a means within the technology development flow that has often characterized research and extension programs.
During the late 1980s and early 1990s, increasingly more field-based experiences emerged creating more space for methodological and institutional innovations for agricultural research and extension. Within these participatory approaches - as they became commonly known - a special emphasis was placed upon participation of local people and their communities, especially working with and through groups; and building upon the traditional or indigenous knowledge that they held (Chambers et al., 1989; Waters-Bayer, 1989; Haverkort et al., 1991). Table 1 situates farmer participation in a comparative context of previous and existing research-extension paradigms.