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Page history last edited by robert.fitzgerald 14 years, 9 months ago

Description of the Socio-Economics Community of Practice

CCPMP - Bob Farquharson, June 2008


I see the Socio-Economics component of the project as being focussed on enhancing adoption of improved on-farm production and marketing systems by farmers to achieve the basic (ACIAR project) aims of reducing poverty and improving food security in the upland districts that we are studying. The farming systems for upland crops in these districts are generally conducted on a cash basis for the purpose of earning income for the farm family, hence we hypothesise that economic considerations are an important context for these farmers Enhancing adoption and improving uptake of better technologies and systems has been characterised as having 2 major components (Pannell et al. 2003) – meeting farmer goals (relative advantage) and being trialable on a small scale.


In terms of meeting farmer goals we need to spend some time studying and finding out what these goals are, but we hypothesise that they might include economic improvement and less income risk, leading to improved family incomes. We think that these issues might be important in the objective of the Cambodian upland farmer. The new technologies must be more profitable and less risky than existing methods.

Our proposed methodology is to hold village workshops where participatory rural appraisal can be conducted. These workshops will be held regularly (twice a year) throughout the project. We plan to hold discussions about the new crop technologies that have been observed at farmer field days, and consider whether these might be valuable (appealing) if adopted by the farmers on their farms (in their farming systems). Two components of the desirability (relative advantage) of the new technologies will be assessed:


•    The relative economic advantages of new versus existing practices (based on the field demonstrations) - use budgets and other methods (e.g. return on investment analysis) to find potential economic improvements in the context of the local farming systems and situations. Then discuss how the new methods might be used by farmers, and subsequently talk about how well the new methods performed;

•    The village and family social frameworks in which existing farming methods are conducted, and whether there are social or other reasons why a new technology might not be appealing to the farmer group.


Over the period of the project we hope that these discussions and interactions can improve the interest in and adoption of new technologies by farmers and lead to increased incomes and reduced food insecurity. The trialability issue hypothesised by Pannell will be addressed by having the farm trails and demonstrations conducted within the project in local areas which the village farmers can see for themselves.

The marketing issue of providing improved price/contract information to farmers can also be assessed in the village workshop framework.

Another aspect of the Socio-Economic COP is to monitor the change in farmer practice and farm family income over the period of the project to allow an impact assessment to be conducted.


Pannell, D.J., Marshall, G.R., Barr, N., Curtis, A., Vanclay, F. and Wilkinson, R. (2006), ‘Understanding and promoting adoption of conservation practices by rural landholders’, Australian Journal of Experimental Agriculture 46, 1407-1424.


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