Research brokers and intermediaries in the Agriculture Sector

July 21, 2008

This was a really great session which took me well out of my comfort zone in terms of the subject area. Initially I felt a bit like a fish out of water but in the end I came away with a lot to think about in terms of the varied roles intermediaries play.

We heard about two interventions each seeking to capture, re-package and share information relevant to farmers and rural communities. James Nguo of the Arid Lands Information Network, Kenya and Mary Mbekani of the National Small Holder Farmers Association of Malawi described their work developing projects with a strong community focus using farmers associations and other social networks both to gather and disseminate practical knowledge and learning. Gracian Chimwaza, of ITOCA (based right here in Centurion) also touched on this very grassroots level engagement but also spoke of their work to improve research and policy processes through availability of information at an academic level by improving journal access among other things.

Much of the resulting discussion focussed on appropriate and ethical ways of engaging with local communities. Read the rest of this entry »