Addresses the failures of current agricultural research and extension practices in the Ecuadorian Amazon. Looks at rural people's knowledge in formal research and extension programmes, considering Farming Systems Research and the Transfer Technology Model. Institutional biases and research agendas are considered. The paper postulates that there has been a failure to engage farmers in research and extension, as well as a failure to consider the class, ethnic, gender and age differences that affect the relationships between persons working for agricultural development agencies and rural people. Following this the paper concentrates its analysis on rural people's knowledge itself, and presents its conclusions within that context.