Sikana, P.

Can Rural Appraisal Really be Rapid? A Critical Assessment by a Group of 'Slow' Researchers and Practitioners

This paper is the outcome of a discussion among a group of researchers, all of whom have 1-2 year's field experience involving the use of 'informal, people-oriented, multi-disciplinary' research, about the relation of RRA methods to their own extended fieldwork experiences. The main source of difference was with the institutional context in which RRA developed. RRA presents itself as sensitive to local issues, but specific methodologies and aspects of the team context in which they are applied are locally impractical and insensitive.

Indigenous Soil Characterisation and Farmer Participation in Northern Zambia: Implications for Research and Extension Delivery.

The theme is that the theoretical thinking in research and extension delivery needs to shift from traditional empiricism to 'agrarian popularism', respecting farmers' traditional knowledge. Specific examples from Zambia are used to explore the reasons why conventional research and extension systems have not been very successful. The main conclusion of the paper is that the mismatch between scientific models and farmers' dynamic realities can largely explain the current failure of research and extension mechanisms.