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such as tie-ridging a small part of the field as an experiment to conserve moisture and improve yields; and • Adaptation experiments - i.e. testing a new technology or modifying an existing one to see if it works within the known environment of their farm household system, e.g., trying out a new crop variety or farming practice promoted by the local extension service. Scientists and extensionists need to recognize that the farmers experiment as agriculture is their profession through many generations and rooted in long lon history. Farmers’ experiments have strengths like the research is directly relevant to their needs, develop deeper understanding on the issues under study and are directed at improving the use of available resources. At the same time, farmers’ research suffers from limitations like limited theoretical and scientific understanding of their environment and processes and replication of trials may be difficult. 1. Rationale for Participatory Technology Development: Salas et.al, 2002 described that Generations of scientists and practitioners in rural development are concerned with the serious limitations of conventional research and extension approaches linked to the industrialized agricultural systems of Western societies, known also as top-down Transfer of Technology (TOT). These limitations include: • Detrimental impacts on the environment, and contamination of soil, water, air and food due to use of chemicals and declining fertility • Decreasing biodiversity due to the impositions of hybrid and genetically mod-ivied seeds for cash cropping which are reducing the in situ stock of land races and reduction of natural habitat containing wild ancestral stocks of domesticated species
Post Graduate Diploma in Agricultural Extension Management (PGDAEM)214 • The growing dependency of farmers upon external agro-technologies and agro-technicians, reducing their confidence in their own skills and abilities to manage their resources • Reduction of farmers into passive users of solutions who are not consulted over application of technologies to local conditions due to the imperative character of the technology transfer approaches In reaction to the top-down approach, several circles of scientists and practitioners who have come to recognize their position as “outsiders” to rural life are assuming the following values: • Emphasis of creative interactions within rural communities so that traditional, indigenous, local, or popular knowledge and experiences become the driving force of development • Acknowledgment that their own knowledge is a product of research centers, universities and development agencies—known as technical, scientific or modern knowledge and experiences—and thus their knowledge assumes very different contexts, values and conditions from those of farmers • Enhancement of dialogue between the two different knowledge systems, those of “outsiders” and “locals,” in order to find joint solutions to rural issues while taking full advantage of local resources.(natural, social or cultural).