Networking for Community–Based
Natural Resource Management
and Farmer–Centered Research:
A Case from China
Research in China, like in other countries, has greatly contributed to agricultural and rural development. However, these research efforts were mostly targeted to better–off regions grouped together in the so–called “relatively developed block”. For example, since the early 1990s, the government has prioritized research on high yielding, high quality and high efficiency agriculture (known as the “Three Highs”). At the same time, agricultural research oriented to the poorer and marginalized regions grouped together in the so–called “underdeveloped block” and “poverty block” has been downsized, partly due to budget constraints, but mostly due to a preferential policy for doing research in the developed block.
There is concern therefore about the role research can and should play in promoting agriculture and rural development in the underdeveloped and poverty blocks. However, most of the research institutes and researchers in the country are not well prepared for such a role. More efforts need to be exerted in promoting institutional and methodological changes in the national research system towards a farmer–centered and local community–based approach.