Farmer Centered Agroecology Research (FCAR) is a research platform that produces solutions for small-scale farmers who are practising agroecological farming methods. The FCAR decentralizes the research process and puts the farmers in the centre. The FCAR was initiated in 2014 through a formal collaboration between SAT and SUA to foster dialogue between scientists and organic farmers by creating channels for fusing local knowledge with conceptual thinking. Thus, identification of a problem, designing, conducting research and evaluating products (innovations) is collaboratively done by drawing experiences from both academic and indigenous knowledge systems for a better understanding of the constraints in the currently applied techniques and help modify and adapt them according to the farmers’ needs.
Objectives of FCAR
Scalable and applicable solutions, tailormade for small-scale farmers and produced through Participatory action research, increase farm productivity, sustainability and resilience and hence have a positive impact on farmers’ livelihoods.
OBJECTIVE 1: RESEARCH TOPICS AND CONCEPTS DEVELOPED BY FARMERS AND STUDENTS
- Farmers are visited by SAT to seek their concerns and ideas.
- Farmer’s challenges are evaluated by using Participatory Rural Appraisal.
- Afterwards, a preliminary workshop with farmers and lecturers from the Sokoine University of Agriculture (SUA) is organized to refine the problems
SPECIFIC OBJECTIVE 1
A workshop for participatory research design (WPRD), which brings together farmers, students and lecturers from the Sokoine University of Agriculture (SUA) is organized, farmers present the refined problems, and then students and farmers develop research questions and discuss the chosen topics, which are later summarized to specific research clusters, which are designed to cover most urgent issues from farmers.
The core of the entire process is the Workshop for Participatory Research Design (WPRD). During this one-day workshop, farmers, undergraduate and post-graduate students and lecturers are engaged to participate together in planning demand-driven research.
a) Lectures on agroecology and participatory research
b) Research presentation from former FCAR
c) Farmers’ presentation on problems and inclusive discussion
d) Designing possible research concepts in workgroups
The WPRD will provide a platform where researchers, research supervisors, organic farmers and pastoralists work together and focus on existing problems related to land management, marketing, organic crop, livestock production and the use of information and communication technologies in ago-ecology.
After WPRD, students are invited to submit concept notes based on the developed research topics. Then selected students are invited to submit a full research proposal and make presentation to farmers.
SPECIFIC OBJECTIVE 2: RESEARCHES ON SPECIFIC CLUSTERS BRINGS INSIGHTS AND PRACTICABLE SOLUTIONS TO PROBLEMS
- All researches are carried out in villages in collaboration with farmers
- Farmers are involved through all stages of the research
- Farmers recommendations are noticed during proposal presentation, and if necessary, the proposals are changed to align with farmers’ needs
After action research has been done finally research results/findings are presented. The final research presentation takes place in the villages. Farmers have here the opportunity to share their thoughts regarding the applicability and practicability of the results.
SPECIFIC OBJECTIVE 3: GAINED PRACTICABLE SOLUTIONS ARE SHARED WITH AND SCALED TO A BROADER NETWORK
After action, research has been accomplished and research results has been submitted to SAT, then SAT in collaboration with Sokoine University of Agriculture (SUA) summarizes the research results and prepares a policy brief.
The gained research results are scaled through SAT Farmer Training Center, the Farmer Magazine (MkM), Consultancy or the SAT homepage. Also, SAT makes the presentation of the FCAR approach and its results in various workshops and conferences