A-2/18 Facilitating integrated agricultural technology development through participatory research

Purpose: In this paper, we discuss the role of participatory research in integrated agricultural technology development using the example of a solar fruit drying project in Mozambique. Design/methodology/approach: We engage in seven participatory exercises with groups of farmers from two farmers’ associations in Inharrime district in Mozambique to identify their needs for solar fruit drying that are crucial for solar dryer technology design. We focus in the analysis on three of these exercises including a daily schedule exercise, SWOT (Strengths Weaknesses Opportunities and Threats) analysis and technology requirement exercise. Findings: Participatory research takes a dual function for integrated agricultural technology development. First, it can help to identify the technology needs of farmers and second it can enable the exchange and creation of different sets of knowledge for agricultural technology development between multiple stakeholders. Practical implications: Participatory research provides a tool for joint knowledge exchange and creation, which allows the identified technology requirements to be translated into practical technology design. Theoretical implications: This paper extends the concept of integrated research to integrated agricultural technology development and shows how participatory research is a tool that enables transdisciplinarity, which presents the most desired form of integrated research. Originality: This research is highly relevant for researchers working in an interdisciplinary environment with agricultural technology development in cross-cultural contexts. From a meta-level perspective, it provides insights for joint and integrated technology development. The Journal of Agricultural Education and Extension, doi.org/10.1080/1389224X.2018.1461662

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