Farmer participatory research in soil management in Indonesia
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Soil degradation, both due to soil erosion and nutrient removal, is a major problem in cassava fields. Most of the existing management technologies that have been developed have had little success in adoption. Some of the reasons are that the technology developed is technically oriented, based on experiment station research with very little farmer involvement.
Research on "Farmer's participation in developing management technologies for cassavabased cropping systems" was carried out in farmers' fields in Wates and Dampit subdistricts of Blitar and Malang districts of East Java, respectively. The research is planned for five years, with the first year activities of : (a) Rapid Rural Appraisal (RRA) and diagnostic surveys for identification of the problems encountered by cassava farmers, and (b) establishment of demonstration plots to test and to show to farmers the management technologies that have been identified and selected by the collaborating farmers. Activities planned for the second and following years include the testing of the most attractive technology options on farmers' fields by farmers themselves.
In general, most farmers had already been aware of the problem of soil degradation in their fields, and had tried some management technologies for overcoming this problem. However, since the technology is too complicated, laborious and costly, they were unwilling to adopt. In fact, most farmers were very keen to adopt any attractive new technology, if the technology is simple, does not imply a lot of extra costs, and is easy to be adopted. This was indicated by the number of farmers willing to participate in the second year to test some technologies in their own fields
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