Co-Production of Adaptive Knowledge with Small and Marginal Communities in India: Policy Initiatives, gaps and Framework based Lessons on TK and Farmers’ Creativity

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Presenter:  Dr. Ranjay K. Singh

Date: Sep 24, 2015

Time: 12:00pm to 1:00pm

Contact person:  Mr Angus Smith
T: 08 8946 7725

Location:  Building Red 1, Level 3 (1.3.01)

Abstract: This study raises a question that no one stakeholder, be it farmer, government or research institution, is capable of developing the sustainable adaptive practices needed to overcome the livelihood vulnerabilities of small and marginal farmers, and communities reliant on natural environments (marginal communities, MCs). However, each offers some resources to enhance their livelihood adaptive capacity.

Scientific technologies are usually developed at too large a scale for direct application to vulnerable MCs. In contrast, the time-tested and location-specific traditional knowledge (TK) and farmers’ creativity (FarC) developed by MCs, while having some limitations because they can draw on a smaller knowledge base, nevertheless hold the potential for co-production of adaptive knowledge for sustainable adaptations among MCs.

The importance of this TK was recognized in Indian national climate change policy (2008), and emphasis was given to its use as a source of co-production of adaptive knowledge. In response to this policy, a number of initiatives were initiated. This study, based on qualitative data, tries to assess the current status and critical gaps in adaptive knowledge co-production using TK in agriculture with the help of an illustrative framework, and tries to fill those gaps with the lessons taken from two case studies with MCs of India. The study indicates that initiatives on co-production of adaptive knowledge with TK and FarC have increased but a lack of the proper application of a dynamic framework compromises the degree of success. As a result this co-produced knowledge fails on the criteria of credibility, salience and legitimacy for the MCs.

The primary studies with small and marginal farmers and MCs illustrate how a framework can be applied to co-produce adaptive knowledge for MCs successfully. This study should help science and policy practitioners work with the owners and developers of TK and FarC to co-produce  sustainable adaptations among MCs in a more interactive, reciprocal and dynamic way.

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