Forum: farmers' participation in the adaptation of IPM technologies in sub-Saharan Africa: experiences from Kenya
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Participation of resource-limited farmers in agricultural research projects in ways that can help ensure the adoption and sustenance of farm technologies is a challenge for most agricultural research agencies. The Interactive Socio-economic Research for Bio-intensive Pest Management (ISERIPM) project is an adaptive research project which, among other things, explores methods of involving farmers in various phases of its implementation. The involvement is based on the ICIPE's approach of Integrated Pest Management (IPM) technology development which provides for minimal involvement at on-station trials, somewhat increased involvement at on-farm researcher managed trials, and a high level of involvement at on-farm farmer managed trials. At on-station trials which were carried out in 1993, farmers' participation was restricted to evaluation of some of the IPM components which included maize and sorghum cultivars and various forms of intercropping. The sites for the on-farm trials (4 sub-locations and 8 villages), and 89 farmers as participants were selected following GIS characterisation of the research districts of Kwale and Kilifi on the basis of agro-ecological and socio-economic conditions, and macro-, village- and household-level surveys. In subsequent meetings, members of the chosen villages selected 8 Trial Farmers (TFs)- one per village from among those chosen as project farmers. The rest of the farmers who met the selection criteria were termed non-trial participating farmers (NTPFs) and participated in the various educational activities of the researcher managed trials in 1994. In 1995, all of the farmers became participants in the farmer-managed on-farm trials.