On-farm research (OFR) is undertaken in ‘real-life’ settings, providing a unique opportunity for local stakeholders to participate in the research process. Such an approach can serve as a linking mechanism between researchers and local stakeholders, facilitating communication and improving design, acceptability, awareness and adoption of a particular technology. An OFR project was implemented in southern Lao People’s Democratic Republic (PDR) from 2010 to 2013. A survey of researchers, local extension staff and farmers highlighted the importance of several aspects of OFR, including understanding and working within local systems, engaging with and strengthening links between multiple stakeholders and promoting good communication. Additionally, local stakeholders identified multiple benefits as a result of their engagement in the research project, including a diverse portfolio of improved skills and capacity beyond expectations of project design. In addition to technical and research skills, enhanced personal skills were highlighted, including communication, confidence, attitude and critical thinking. These skills were noted in improvements to staff capacity and working ability by project leaders, the staff concerned and farmer cooperators. Strategic support is needed to ensure that the benefits from OFR are optimised for all stakeholders. A macro-level approach to strengthening research–extension links is required, incorporating improvements to institutional capacity, infrastructure, service delivery and coordination between these elements.
|Conference||Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR) Conference|
|Period||07/05/14 → 09/05/14|