The importance of ecological and socio-technological literacy in R&D priority setting: the case of a fruit innovation system in Guinea, West Africa uri icon

abstract

  • The introduction of farmer participatory approaches over the past decades has to some extent improved the relevance and uptake of research results. While R&D prioritization increasingly involves more stakeholders, including the private sector, policymakers and civil society, building ecological literacy among all stakeholders is urgent, especially for sustainable agricultural development. A case study of an emerging fruit innovation system in Guinea, West Africa, highlights the challenges of supply- and demand-driven approaches to R&D prioritization. Shallow ecological knowledge and a blind faith in 'modern' technologies by scientists and farmers alike distort prioritization. Locally available, appropriate technologies are dismissed in favour of high technologies that are inaccessible to most smallholder growers. Strengthening the ecological literacy of all stakeholders may help to overcome this bias. On the other hand, building socio-technological literacy would allow innovation intermediaries, who typically act as brokers between the demand- and supply-side of technologies, to better understand the social and institutional contexts of technologies and how these affect potential uptake by poor farmers. Member centres; of the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) could use the notion of ecological and socio-technological literacy to better understand supply and demand of technology and to work more effectively with their partners towards pro-poor and sustainable agricultural development.

publication date

  • 2008
  • 2008