Introduced Conservation Agriculture Programs in Samoa: The Role of Participatory Action Research

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Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY)
book chapter
Book Source: 
Participatory Research and Planning in Practice
Sulfoa S. R. O.
Cox L.J.

Millions of dollars have been invested in programs to encourage the adoption of sustainable farming practices associated with conservation agriculture (CA), including programs aimed at Samoan farmers. However, many smallholder farmers, including those in Samoa did not adopt the recommended practices. CA programs aimed at Samoan farmers were investigated, and participatory action research about the most recent program was conducted. Eight key informant interviews, 107 semi-structured interviews, a ranking exercise involving farmers and extension officers and participant observations were completed during 2016–2017. The results provide a description of agricultural farming practices across Samoan villages; details about the role of agriculture in these villages and information on the differences between various stakeholders. Samoan farmers use CA practices and all previous CA programs prescribed practices that were not consistent with their current practices or goals. Donors, national policy makers and researchers drive top-down programs with limited term projects that focus on outputs or short-term outcomes. To alter a country’s agricultural sector, particularly one dominated by smallholder farmers, it requires investment in long-term outcomes supported by a participatory action research process that ensures co-creation activities, reflexive feedback loops and cooperative buy-in approaches be given top priority

Publication year: 
conservation agriculture
Rural areas
Smallholder farmers
Agricultural practices