Entwining Indigenous knowledge and science knowledge for sustainable agricultural extension: Exploring the strengths and challenges

C. Radcliffe, A. Raman, C. Parissi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Purpose: To explore the challenges and strengths of employing an extension approach, which entwines indigenous knowledge and science, for the purpose of enhancing sustainable agricultural practices.
Design/methodology/approach: We assessed an agricultural extension approach which entwined indigenous knowledge and science. Data for this paper were qualitative and quantitative in nature as gathered from semi-structured interviews, farmer observations, surveys and the researcher’s field notes.
Findings: Indigenous knowledge has enormous potential to contribute to sustainable agriculture, yet it is rarely included in agricultural extension. There are many inhibiting factors which may contribute to the lack of inclusion of indigenous knowledge in extension programmes, including: perceived value of indigenous knowledge; knowledge protocols; cultural constraints; access to indigenous knowledge; and, misrepresentation of indigenous knowledge, but also strengths such as enhanced sustainable agricultural practices.
Practical Implications: Understanding the strengths and challenges of entwining indigenous knowledge and science may support extension policies which further value indigenous knowledge and recognise accessibility and property rights, thus maximising the strengths and limiting the challenges.
Theoretical implications: Whilst the present study further supports theories which recognise the challenges (accessibility; perceived value; intellectual property rights; cultural embeddedness) and strengths (contribution to sustainable agriculture) of including indigenous knowledge in agricultural extension, this study also offers an alternative approach to agricultural extension.
Originality: Much has been written regarding the value of indigenous knowledge and its potential in sustainable agriculture. This paper explicitly reports on the strengths and challenges of entwining indigenous knowledge and science in an alternative agricultural extension approach.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-19
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Agricultural Education and Extension
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 04 Nov 2020

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