Understanding the complex mechanisms of technology x environment x society interactions in suboptimal rice-farming systems

H.A.C.P. Nuijten, P. Richards, D. Glover, H. Maat, G.A. Mokuwa, F. Okry, B.W.E. Teeken, M. Termudo, P.C. Struik

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingAbstract

Abstract

Modern agricultural technologies were adopted in many rice farming systems of Southeast Asia, particularly in areas with good agro-ecological conditions. But in many other rice-growing areas the adoption of modern technologies is very slow. This is particularly the case in upland rice cultivation in West Africa. It is also still the case in areas with suboptimal agro-ecological conditions in Southeast Asia. In such regions, farmers carefully match technologies to local environmental conditions, looking for optimal interactions between technologies and the agro-ecological environment. Modern technologies, although versatile, are often not adapted to local conditions. The ways farmers organise their farm management differ widely, even within small, well-defined regions. Sometimes these differences are due to adaptation to the ecological environment, but often these differences are due to differences in societal organisation, and cultural and socio-economic dynamics. Therefore, in order to understand how to improve the development and uptake of modern technologies, we need a better understanding how technologies interact with the agro-ecological and the socio-cultural environment. Already much is known about two-factor interactions, such as, for example, Genotype x Environment interactions (GxE interactions). However, more complex interactions, such as Genotype x Environment x Society interactions, have received rather limited attention, although already having been identified as an important field of study. More broadly speaking, substituting the term Genotype by Technology, our understanding of more complex Technology × Environment × Society interactions (TxExS interactions) is still rather limited. In our definition a technology is not per se something completely man made, but can also include a natural component, such as rice varieties, both modern and traditional ones. Our interest is in Technology × Environment × Society interactions in rice farming systems in West Africa and Southeast Asia. Comparisons within and between these two regions may yield useful insights on key aspects of and mechanisms underlying TxExS interactions. For example, it has often been argued that labour has been the most limiting factor in West Africa and land the most limiting factor in Southeast Asia, pushing rice farming development, into different directions. To understand these complex interactions a wide range of scientific disciplines is needed, such as plant breeding, agronomy, crop physiology, economics, anthropology, communication and innovation studies. As today’s farming is also shaped by the past, disciplines such as archeology, history and anthropology are very crucial to understand the Society part of TxExS interactions. The aim of this workshop is to discuss with experts from various disciplines (plant breeding, agronomy, soil science, molecular biology, economics, anthropology, communication and innovation science, and other disciplines) the complex mechanisms and interactions that are essential in developing and adopting modern and local technologies in rice farming. Outcomes: 1. A better understanding of the complex mechanisms of Technology × Environment × Society interactions in ‘suboptimal’ rice farming systems 2. Suggestions on how to study these interactions and suggest a basis for new models for technology development and dissemination based on the integration of farmer innovation systems with formal scientific research 3. Possible teams for further collaboration
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCongress Program, 3rd International Rice Conference, 8-12 November 2010, Hanoi, Vietnam
Place of PublicationHanoi, Vietnam
Pages134
Publication statusPublished - 2010
EventCongress Program, 3rd International Rice Conference -
Duration: 8 Nov 201012 Nov 2010

Conference

ConferenceCongress Program, 3rd International Rice Conference
Period8/11/1012/11/10

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