Farmer-based methods: farmers' diagrams for improving methods of experimental design in integrated farming systems
This paper describes a method of farmer participation which aims at more sustainable farming systems. In this method groups of farmers draw conceptual models on paper or on the ground using sticks, seeds, ash, or whatever is to hand to improve on-farm experimental design. Material flow models help farmers see how diverse enterprises can be integrated. Examples from India, Bangladesh, Vietnam and Malawi are given. Farmers' drawings foster two-way communication between researchers and farmers. The participatory methods described can help many more farmers integrate agroforestry and aquaculture into their farming systems for better livelihoods and regenerated environments.