58 | IAASTD Global Report

Key Messages

1. Acknowledging and learning from competing and well evidenced historical narratives of knowledge, science and technology processes and understanding the flaws in past and existing institutional arrangements and maintaining the space for diverse voices and interpretations is crucial for designing policies that are effective in reaching the integrated goals of productivity, environmental sustainability, social equity and inclusion. Agricultural Knowledge, Science and Technology (AKST) encompass diverse agricultural practices, interventions, institutional arrangements and knowledge processes. Different and often conflicting interpretations of the contributions of AKST to productivity, environmental and social sustainability and equity exist side-by-side but are not equally heard or recognized. Political power and economic influence have tended to privilege some types of AKST over others. Dominant institutional arrangements have established the privileged interpretations of the day and set the agenda for searching for and implementing solutions. The narrative used to explain past events and AKST choices has important implications for setting future priorities and projecting the future design of AKST.

2. In the prevailing AKST arrangements of the past, key actors have been excluded or marginalized. Preference has been given to short-term goals vs. longer-term agroecosystem sustainability and social equity and to powerful voices over the unorganized and voiceless. Development of appropriate forms of partnerships can help bring in the excluded and marginalized and open AKST to a larger set of policy goals. Many effective participatory approaches exist that facilitate the establishment and operation of such partnerships. Targeted public support can help address the biases in the dominant arrangements.

3. The Transfer of Technology (ToT) model has been the most dominant model used in operational arrangements and in policy. However, the TOT model has not been the most effective in meeting a broader range of development goals that address the multiple functions and roles of farm enterprises and diverse agroecosystems. In this model, science and technology are mobilized under the control of experts in the definition of problems and the design of solutions, problem setting and solving. Other types of knowledge have sometimes been tapped, although mainly for local adaptation purposes. Where the TOT model has been applied appropriately with the conditions necessary for achieving impact, it has been successful in driving yield and production gains. These conditions include properly functioning producer and service organizations, the social and biophysical suitability of technologies transferred in specific environments and proper management of those technologies at plot, farm and landscape levels.

4. Successful education and extension programs have built on local and traditional knowledge and innovation systems, often through participatory and experiential learning processes and multi-organizational


partnerships that integrate formal and informal AKST. Basic and occupational education empowers individuals to innovate in farming and agroenterprises, adapt to new job opportunities and be better prepared for migration. Attention to overcoming race, ethnic and gender biases that hamper the participation of marginalized community members, diverse ethnic groups and women, is essential. Education and training of government policymakers and public agency personnel, particularly in decentralized participatory planning and decision-making, and in understanding and working effectively with rural communities and other diverse stakeholders has also proven effective. Effective options include but are not limited to experiential learning groups, farmer field schools, farmer research circles, Participatory Plant Breeding, social forestry and related community- based forest landscape management, study clubs and community interaction with school-based curriculum development.

5. Investment in farmers and other rural actors' learning and capacity to critically assess, define and engage in locally-directed development processes has yielded positive results. Modern ICTs are beginning to open up new and potentially powerful new opportunities for extending the reach and scope of educational and interactive learning. Extension and advisory services complement but do not substitute for rural education. The development and implementation of successful learning and innovation programs require skills in facilitating processes of interaction among partners, interdisciplinary science and working with all partners' experience and knowledge processes. Active development of additional options are needed to extend these arrangements and practices to include more marginalized peoples and areas and in ways that respect and uphold their roles, rights and practices.

6. Innovation is a multisource process and always and necessarily involves a mix of stakeholders, organizations and types of knowledge systems. Innovative combinations of technology and knowledge generated by past and present arrangements and actors have led to more sustainable practices. These include for example, integrated pest management, precision farming, and local innovations in crop management (e.g., push-pull in Africa). Further experimentation with facilitated innovation is needed to capitalize on new opportunities for innovation under marketoriented development.

7. Partnerships in agricultural and social science research and education offer potential to advance public interest science and increase its relevance to development goals. Industry, NGOs, social movements and farmer organizations have contributed useful innovations in ecologically and socially sustainable approaches to food and agriculture. Increased private sector funding of universities and research institutes has helped fill the gap created by declining public sector funds but has mixed implications for these institutions' independence and future research directions. Effective codes of conduct can strengthen multistakeholder partnerships and preserve public institutions' capacity to perform public good research.