The use of farmer participatory research (FPR) in the Nippon Foundation project: Improving the sustainability of cassava-based cropping systems in Asia
MetadataShow full item record
Howeler, Reinhardt H.. 2001. The use of farmer participatory research (FPR) in the Nippon Foundation project: Improving the sustainability of cassava-based cropping systems in Asia . In: Howeler, Reinhardt H.; Tan, Swee Lian (eds.). Cassava's potential in Asia in the 21st Century: Present situation and future research and development needs: Proceedings of the sixth Regional workshop, held in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, Feb. 21-25, 2000 . Centro Internacional de Agricultura Tropical (CIAT), Cassava Office for Asia, Bangkok, TH. p. 461-489.
Permanent link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10568/80331
The Nippon Foundation Project entitled “Enhancing the Sustainability of Cassava-based Cropping Systems in Asia” started in 1994 and has as its main objective to develop, together with farmers, crop/soil management practices that will increase yields and farm income while also protecting the soil and water resources from degradation. To attain this objective a farmer participatory research (FPR) methodology was developed that will help diagnose the principal problems in the farm community, make farmers aware of the extent and importance of soil erosion and fertility degradation, test various ways to overcome these problems, and after selecting the most suitable practices to enhance adoption and dissemination of those practices to other farmers and other communities. The project was implemented by CIAT in collaboration with research and extension organizations in China, Indonesia, Thailand and Vietnam. In each country, “FPR teams” were formed and in mid-1994 an FPR training course was held in Rayong, Thailand, to familiarize team members with the FPR approach and discuss and develop a suitable methodology. The principle behind the approach is to encourage farmers to diagnose their own problems, consider various possible solutions and test those ideas on their own fields, in order to select the best ones for adoption. The basic steps of the FPR methodology used in the four countries included: 1. Select 2-3 pilot sites (villages or subdistricts) where cassava is an important crop and erosion is a serious problem. 2. Show farmers a wide range of options to reduce erosion and soil degradation in demonstration plots with many treatments, and let farmers discuss, score and then select the most suitable options. 3. Help farmers test the selected options on their own fields; the options tested usually involved new varieties, intercropping systems, fertilization practices and methods to control erosion. 4. Together with farmers harvest the trials, evaluate the results, select the best treatments, to be either tested again in the following year or tried on small areas of their production fields. 5. Encourage adoption and dissemination of the best practices. During the first phase of the project (1994-1998), about 76 FPR trials were conducted in Thailand, 216 in Vietnam, 77 in China and 101 in Indonesia. In addition, some farmers in Vietnam started testing new varieties completely on their own. After 2-3 years of testing and evaluating, many of the participating farmers started adopting some of the most promising practices on larger areas of their fields. Besides planting new varieties and using improved fertilization practices, many farmers adopted some form of erosion control practices: in Thailand and China mainly contour hedgerows of vetiver grass or sugarcane, in Vietnam mainly hedgerows of Tephrosia candida or vetiver grass combined with intercropping with peanuts, and in Indonesia mainly contour ridging (Malang) and hedgerows of Gliricidia sepium or Leucaena leucocephala (Blitar). The paper also describes some valuable lessons learned during the implementation of the project and concludes that farmer participation in technology development, especially in the case of soil conservation, is absolutely essential for attaining widespread adoption of these technologies.
- CIAT Conference Papers