Agricultural Technology Interventions in an Upland Municipality in the Philippines: An Actor-Oriented Perspective

Maria Dinah R. Loculan (2011). Agricultural Technology Interventions in an Upland Municipality in the Philippines: An Actor-Oriented Perspective PhD Thesis, School of Agriculture and Food Sciences, The University of Queensland.

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Author Maria Dinah R. Loculan
Thesis Title Agricultural Technology Interventions in an Upland Municipality in the Philippines: An Actor-Oriented Perspective
School, Centre or Institute School of Agriculture and Food Sciences
Institution The University of Queensland
Publication date 2011-08
Thesis type PhD Thesis
Supervisor Associate Professor Robert Cramb
Dr. Wolfram Dressler
Total pages 293
Total colour pages 16
Total black and white pages 277
Language eng
Subjects 070108 Sustainable Agricultural Development
160804 Rural Sociology
Abstract/Summary Abstract Interventions to promote agricultural technology have long played a significant role in programs for rural development and natural resource management in the Philippines. However, the adoption and adaptation of these introduced technologies are complex social processes involving farmer participation, decision-making, and competing values. The aim of this study was to gain a better understanding of agricultural technology intervention processes, approaches, and strategies in order to make a more realistic and contextualised assessment of the impacts of these interventions on the lives of rural people and communities. To address this aim, a case study was conducted of five major technology interventions in the upland municipality of Malitbog in northern Mindanao, Philippines. An actor-oriented approach was used to understand and analyse the processes of social change in development interventions. This approach recognises the central role of social actors as active participants in development interventions and their different perspectives, goals, interests, and relationships, in which the outcome depends on the shaping and reshaping of social actors’ perspectives and the dynamic interactions between internal and external factors in the process of social change. Thus, from an actor-oriented perspective, the concept of development interventions moves away from a mainstream structural approach to a more agent- and actor-focused analysis that views intervention as a complex chain of events in a particular location, within the broader framework of multiple actors’ activities. A case study design was used to address the following three key objectives: (1) to document and analyse agricultural technology intervention processes, approaches, and strategies employed by different social actors in Malitbog; (2) to explore the decision-making processes and the individual and collective responses to the different technology interventions; (3) to assess the economic, social, and environmental impacts of these technology interventions at the individual and community levels. The data were derived from a variety of quantitative and qualitative sources: documents, key informants using semi-structured interviews, focus group discussions, farmer interviews, and direct observation. The five major technology interventions considered were: multi-cropping, forage crops, improvements in ruminant production, landcare conservation farming and agroforestry, and sustainable (organic) agriculture. These were implemented by national and local government agencies, non-government organisations, international donor organisations, and various religious groups. The participatory approach was central in the implementation process. Consultations were conducted with stakeholders, and both farmers and project implementers participated in the identification of problems, on-farm research, cross-farm visits, and farmer field schools. The farmer-to-farmer dissemination process was perceived as the most helpful as farmers learned from their fellow farmers. Participation in agricultural project activities was influenced by people or organisations with authority (like the church) and where trust was established (e.g., with extension agents and farmer leaders). These five interventions made significant impacts on farmers’ lives. For the most part, farmers continued to adopt the technology in question because they experienced the economic, social, and environmental benefits of using the technology. Farmers valued tangible impacts like increased farm production; increased income; the ability to send their children to school; improved living conditions; an ability to protect the environment by minimising soil erosion and increasing soil fertility; and an ability to live a healthy life as many of them practised organic farming. The project implementers valued farmers’ receptivity towards the intervention, the perceived improvement in farmers’ living conditions, and the perceived improvement in the farming practices in Malitbog where soil erosion had been minimised. The sustainability of using these technologies continues to be a challenge. While project implementers felt that the local government unit of Malitbog had a major role in sustaining these development programs and projects, and other factors like land tenure, market opportunities, the role of formal and informal institutions as catalysts, and the role of extension agents are acknowledged as equally important, I argue that sustainability ultimately rests on the farmers themselves as they are the users of the technology and their beliefs, values, and social relations shape their participation, adoption, farming practices, and outcomes. The research provides a better understanding of how these actors perceived, responded to, and internalised development interventions which became part of their everyday experience of changing livelihoods.
Keyword agricultural technology interventions
actor-oriented approach
Additional Notes 16 coloured pages: 6,42,45,64,65,66,69,95,97,115,135,147,151,166,171,191 13 landscape pages: 260,261,262,263,264,265,266,267,268,269,270,271,272

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Created: Fri, 01 Jun 2012, 02:21:13 EST by Ms Maria Loculan on behalf of Library - Information Access Service