BANANAS (MUSA SPP.) AND NEW THINKING ABOUT PATHWAYS FOR SCIENCE IMPACT
The paper takes the viewpoint of a social scientist and looks at agricultural scientists pathways for science impact. Awareness of these pathways is increasingly becoming part and parcel of the professionalism of the agricultural scientist; now that the pressure is on to mobilize smallholders and their productive resources for (global) food security and for reducing persistent rural poverty. Significant new thinking about pathways is emerging and it is useful to present some of this, even if it is not cut-and-dry. This new thinking focuses on innovation, not as the end-of-pipe outcome of development and transfer (or delivery) of results of research to ultimate users, but as a process of technical and institutional change at farm and higher system levels that impacts on productivity, sustainability and poverty reduction. The paper reviews five pathways: (a) technology supply push; (b) farmer-driven innovation; (c) market-propelled or induced innovation based on the agricultural treadmill; (d) participatory technology development; and (e) innovation systems. The pathways reviewed all have their merits; the paper will assess them from the perspective of improving smallholder productivity and livelihoods. The paper concludes that many agricultural scientists have not developed their thinking about how the fruits of their work can help make the world a better place. This is a flaw in their professionalism. Curriculum development, training, promotion criteria, standards used in refereeing journal articles, and research funding could benefit from taking on board understanding of pathways of science-for-impact.
Röling, N. (2010). BANANAS (MUSA SPP.) AND NEW THINKING ABOUT PATHWAYS FOR SCIENCE IMPACT. Acta Hortic. 879, 669-679
African smallholders, institutions, rural livelihoods, technology, treadmill