Transdisciplinary agricultural research in Lao PDR

Greenhalgh, Garry, Alexander, Kim S., Larson, Silva, Thammavong, Phommath, Sacklokham, Silinthone, Thephavanh, Manithaythip, Sinavong, Phonevilay, Moglia, Magnus, Perez, Pascal, and Case, Peter (2019) Transdisciplinary agricultural research in Lao PDR. Journal of Rural Studies, 72. pp. 216-227.

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Transdisciplinary research focussing on improving smallholder farmers’ uptake of technological innovations enables the integration of knowledge systems and the co-design and delivery of creative solutions. In this paper, we illustrate how scientific research can be mobilized within professionally facilitated change management workshops to engage a broad range of stakeholders and co-create knowledge in a rural development context. Multi-institutional, multi-disciplinary and multi-national stakeholders have contributed to finding innovative solutions to challenges experienced by smallholder farmers. By combining different worldviews we were able to assess research priorities, define problems and determine research options based on new hybrid knowledge systems. The outcome of this transdisciplinary process was the co-creation of a Research Discussion Tool and identification of 9 thematic areas which, in combination, enabled obstacles to technology uptake to be overcome and for smallholder farmers to benefit from research-based innovations. The process involved assisting Lao national researchers and extension agents to co-develop solutions, strategies and methods to improve technology uptake by farmers in the lowlands of southern Lao PDR using a series of change management interventions. A complex ecology of factors involving farmers’ decision drivers/motivations and farmers’ decision enablers within farmers’ production systems influence technology uptake. The relative importance of each factor is dependent on the specific technology that is being introduced. Hence, projects that introduce new technologies struggle to address all relevant factors and often do not have the ability to deal with the complex array of factors that are at play. The process of co-construction embeds local knowledge that becomes accessible to projects. The approach we document in this paper also has the potential to harness collaborative exchanges with other projects in similar geographical regions.

Item ID: 60761
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1873-1392
Keywords: Technology adoption; International development; Rural development; Agriculture; Innovation; Laos; Lao PDR
Copyright Information: Published Version: [© 2019 Published by Elsevier Ltd.] Accepted Version: © 2019. This manuscript version is made available under the CC-BY-NC-ND 4.0 license
Funders: Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR)
Projects and Grants: ACIAR ASEM/2014/052
Date Deposited: 29 Oct 2019 22:53
FoR Codes: 35 COMMERCE, MANAGEMENT, TOURISM AND SERVICES > 3507 Strategy, management and organisational behaviour > 350706 International business @ 50%
30 AGRICULTURAL, VETERINARY AND FOOD SCIENCES > 3002 Agriculture, land and farm management > 300207 Agricultural systems analysis and modelling @ 50%
SEO Codes: 91 ECONOMIC FRAMEWORK > 9104 Management and Productivity > 910406 Technological and Organisational Innovation @ 100%
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