For centuries, farmers have developed technological innovations, to produce improved crops, livestock, tools and machinery and manage their resources in a sustainable manner. Yet in many countries, this kind of intuitive experimentation remains untapped, and farmers receive scant credit for their contributions. This handbook is a training tool written and presented in a practical, hands-on style, the manual aims to show how stimulating and supporting farmer innovation can enrich agricultural support systems. It can be used either to set up a project for farmer innovation, or to support an on-going participatory research and extension programme.
Farmers have been innovating for centuries - primarily for their families? economic survival. Their technological innovations have resulted in new and improved crops, livestock, tools and machinery and ecosystem sustainability. Yet, farmer experimentation and innovation remain an untapped resource in several countries; and farmers receive very little recognition for their efforts that provide scientific and engineering breakthroughs. Within the past few years, there has been a resurgence of interest in building on farmer experimentation and innovation. The international focus on documenting has opened the doors for the protection and promotion of farmers? traditional knowledge and provided opportunities to integrate modern science into their traditional practices. However, to achieve significant strides in building on this valuable resource requires a change of mindset of scientists in developing and developed countries, and capacity building in the identification and evaluation of farmer experimentation and innovations. There must be a meeting of minds of farmers, scientists and policymakers. This guide paves the way for strengthening that interface.