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4 Farmers' Knowledge And Sustainable Innovation: Experiments And Observation

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Chapter Summary

This chapter discusses how the role of experimentation, observation and popular beliefs shapes the production of knowledge. It recognises that farmers take an active part in the production of knowledge and do not leave everything to the experts. Farmers' experiments can be assisted by calling on the expertise of the scientist or other knowledge 'experts' or they can be experiments that are carried out by the farmer alone, using his or her own resources. For farmers there are two kinds of experiments: the first refers to as individual experiments, and the other as individual experiments in collaboration with AGRITEX and Agri-business. The gendered nature of knowledge, as well as the innovation and creativity of farmers in their encounters with adverse conditions, are discussed. The chapter shows that Africans underwent a process of being labelled 'ignorant', and their knowledge was delegitimised. It also challenges the notion of the conservative farmer.

Keywords:African farming; agricultural expert; AGRITEX; conservative peasant; farmers' experiment; knowledge production; sustainable innovation



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