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Participatory Approaches to Improve Sustainable Agricultural Production: A Study on the Role of Grower Groups in Western Australia.
This project examines the role that grower groups play in sustainable agricultural development. A combination of quantitative and qualitative research and analysis will be utilised to find out the impact of the groups in improving farmer knowledge, productivity and wellbeing. Based on the findings the study aims to propose how rural development and extension theory might shed light on the nature and future of grower groups.
The project will deliver information that will enable grower groups to better target their activities, and develop policies and ideas for their future development as well as throw light on the important role these groups can play in agricultural extension paradigm.
In recent years in Australia, there has been an emergence of pro – active, coordinated farmer groups with explicit aims of undertaking organized research into their farming systems. They have developed strong relationships with key researchers and agribusiness companies in their regions and use their contacts to find other specialists when needed. The partnership between growers and researchers may lead to the joint development of knowledge and practices which involve managing technologies to meet industry challenges. Through such partnerships researchers learn more about the local farming system and the farmers learn more about the latest research. In this way both researcher and farmers utilize resources more effectively and build capacity.
Understanding what grower group’s networks and their partnerships can and cannot do is critical.
To date, there has been little consideration of the role and effectiveness of these groups in promoting sustainable agriculture and rural development. This PhD Research will address the information gap.