Understanding variation in sorghum through with-farmer experimentation

C.Y. Kudadjie, P.C. Struik, P. Richards, S.K. Offei, P.B. Atengdem

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The need for an appropriate research strategy to build upon the knowledge of sorghum farmers in north-east Ghana in terms of diversity management and variety maintenance was identified in a previous diagnostic study. A joint experimental framework was established to encourage interaction between the knowledge systems of farmers and scientists. The paper focuses on outlining the process and outcome of the joint learning approach adopted. Researchers and farmers used scientific experimentation both to investigate inter-varietal, intra-varietal and random variation in sorghum. For better understanding and exchange of ideas, researchers sought to understand farmers' concepts of a variety and how they perceive diversity (i.e. researchers sought to enter into and interrogate the farmer knowledge system). Results provide evidence that farmers' management practices are shaped by local perceptions of diversity, and that systematic exploration of both scientific and local ideas, aimed at points of convergence might help farmers better to link their management practices to variation revealed through experimentation. It has been widely reported that African farmers are willing experimenters, but the present study offers specific evidence on the advantages of using a joint experimental approach to enhance farmers' capacity to understand complex phenomena associated with plant variation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)124-139
JournalInternational Journal of Agricultural Sustainability
Volume5
Issue number2-3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2007

Keywords

  • diversity
  • field experimentation
  • indigenous knowledge
  • genetic variation
  • sorghum
  • ghana

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