Collaborative research on Conservation Agriculture in Bajío, Mexico: continuities and discontinuities of partnerships uri icon

abstract

  • Agricultural technologies are debated and contested. Studying the socio-political life of agricultural research can help us to understand why some particular technologies or pathways are favoured (and others not) and eventually why expectations are maintained or not. We studied the 30-year trajectory of practices of Conservation Agriculture in the central region of Mexico. The results of our interviews and literature review show how, over the course of time, Conservation Agriculture (CA) technology has successively changed from being referred to as Conservation Tillage, Direct Seeding, Conservation Agriculture and has now, finally become integrated within Sustainable Intensification. These changes are connected with revamped narratives and the applications of the latest research and development (R&D) paradigms. They were the result of new spaces for CA projects opening up after other spaces had closed, spaces that allowed the researchers, politicians, technicians and farmers to continue to engage in CA in a reconfigured way that fit the various agendas. The opening and closure of spaces for CA projects were the result of researchers being subject to, and taking advantage of, political changes and of politicians seeking new initiatives to support their agendas. This shows how research and politics are mutually dependent and how they generate a discontinuity of project interventions which, paradoxically, represent a continuity of agendas and research processes. As CA is both a complex and flexible technology, it has been possible to make it fit to accommodate the changing agendas of different actors.

publication date

  • 2019
  • 2019