English Publications

Synergies at the interface of farmer–scientist partnerships: agricultural innovation through participatory research and plant breeding in Honduras

Sally Humphries, Juan Carlos Rosas, Marvin Gómez, José Jiménez, Fredy Sierra, Omar Gallardo, Carlos Avila and Mérida Barahona

Background — The article describes the institutionalization of farmer participatory research and plant breeding that has occurred in Honduras over the past 22 years and demonstrates how this approach can offer a positive response to climate change and sustainable agricultural development. In Honduras, participatory plant breeding (PPB) involves the collaboration of farmer researchers organized in local agricultural research committees (CIALs), plant breeders, and non-governmental organizations (NGOs). While earlier debates often questioned the role of farmers in agricultural research, particularly the synergistic effect of this role with regard to scientific research, little empirical evidence was provided to settle this debate. Nor was the contextualization of farmer research adequately addressed. The article responds to calls for studies that detail what actually happens in development practice.

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Opening Participatory Spaces for the Most Marginal: Learning from Collective Action in the Honduran Hillsides

LAUREN CLASSEN University of Toronto, Ontario; Canada SALLY HUMPHRIES and JOHN FITZSIMONS University of Guelph, Ontario, Canada; SUSAN KAARIA Ford Foundation, Nairobi, Kenya; and JOSE´ JIME´ NEZ and FREDY SIERRA, OMAR GALLARDO – Fundacio´ n para la investigacio´n participativa con agricultores de Honduras (FIPAH), Honduras

Summary — Community-driven development faces considerable criticism for excluding the poor. A series of participatory, qualitative, and quantitative assessments of a participatory agricultural initiative in rural Honduras shows that the project, once susceptible to elite capture, over time shifted to include the ‘‘most marginal.’’ Participating farmers—both men and women—demonstrated significant improvements in well-being and new-found capabilities relative to non-participants. Opening a space for the most marginal was achieved through long-term commitment by a local NGO to the principle of inclusiveness, and to research and capability development beyond the guiding methodology for establishing local agricultural research committees (CIALs).

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Opening Cracks for the Transgression of Social Boundaries: An Evaluation of the Gender Impacts of Farmer Research Teams in Honduras

SALLY HUMPHRIES University of Guelph, Canada ;LAUREN CLASSEN University of Toronto, Canada ; and JOSE´ JIME´ NEZ, FREDY SIERRA, OMAR GALLARDO and MARVIN GO´ MEZ – Fundacio´ n para la Investigacio´n Participativa con Agricultores de Honduras (FIPAH), La Ceiba, Atla´ntida, Honduras

Summary — Participatory agricultural platforms, such as farmer research teams and farmer field schools, offer the potential for change that goes far beyond agriculture. The paper reports on a mixed method approach to examining the gendered impacts of a long term farmer research project in Honduras. We show how collective action around food security has the potential to support gendered social change. We argue that mixed gender research teams provide a space where generative empowerment permits both women and men to challenge unequal gender roles and to open cracks for transgressing social boundaries.

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