Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home

THE OPTIONS BY CONTEXT APPROACH: A PARADIGM SHIFT IN AGRONOMY

  • FERGUS SINCLAIR (a1) (a2) and RIC COE (a1) (a3)

Summary

Innovation in agronomy by large numbers of smallholder farmers will need to accelerate if global commitments to end hunger are to be achieved in the face of major climate and other global change that are both caused by, and impact, agriculture. Conventional research and development in agronomy have involved a research process that produces technologies, which are then promoted for uptake by large numbers of farmers through extension, with both research and extension phases being more or less participatory. Recent research, including key contributions to this special issue, reveals that the performance of many technology options varies hugely across the geographies over which development programmes operate, depending on social, economic and ecological context. This severely limits the value of attempting to produce recommendations for large areas and numbers of farmers and identifies the need for new ways of supporting innovation that address the real-world heterogeneity of farmer circumstances. Addressing this widespread phenomenon of option by context interaction (OxC) has profound implications for how agronomic research and development are organised. Papers in this special issue show the nature and implications of such interactions and suggest ways in which research and development systems need to respond in order to support locally relevant innovation. It is evident that a paradigm shift is well underway, with researchers embracing new modes of thinking and action required to address OxC interactions, but these also need to be taken up and further developed by extension and change agents in the public and private sector. It is only through continued co-development of methods involving both these constituencies, working closely with farmers that sufficient progress is likely to be made for smallholder farming to keep pace with global demand for food without further damaging the environmental resources upon which production is based.

  • View HTML
    • Send article to Kindle

      To send this article to your Kindle, first ensure no-reply@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about sending to your Kindle. Find out more about sending to your Kindle.

      Note you can select to send to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be sent to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

      Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

      THE OPTIONS BY CONTEXT APPROACH: A PARADIGM SHIFT IN AGRONOMY
      Available formats
      ×

      Send article to Dropbox

      To send this article to your Dropbox account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Dropbox.

      THE OPTIONS BY CONTEXT APPROACH: A PARADIGM SHIFT IN AGRONOMY
      Available formats
      ×

      Send article to Google Drive

      To send this article to your Google Drive account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Google Drive.

      THE OPTIONS BY CONTEXT APPROACH: A PARADIGM SHIFT IN AGRONOMY
      Available formats
      ×

Copyright

This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution licence (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Corresponding author

*Corresponding author. Email: f.sinclair@cgiar.org; Contact address: World Agroforestry Centre, PO Box 30677Nairobi, 00100, Kenya.

References

Hide All
Altieri, M. A., Funes-Monzote, F. R. and Petersen, P. (2012). Agroecologically efficient agricultural systems for smallholder farmers: contributions to food sovereignty. Agronomy for Sustainable Development 32 (1):113.
Alvarez, S., Paas, W., Descheemaeker, K., Tittonell, P. and Groot, J. (2014). Typology construction, a way of dealing with farm diversity General guidelines for Humidtropics. Report for the CGIAR Research Program on Integrated Systems for the Humid Tropics.
Annicchiarico, P. (2002). Genotype x Environment Interactions - Challenges and Opportunities for Plant Breeding and Cultivar Recommendations. Rome: FAO.
Ashby, J. A. (1990). Evaluating Technology with Farmers: A Handbook. Cali, Colombia: CIAT.
Berre, D., Baudron, F., Kassie, M., Craufurd, P. and Lopez-ridaura, S. (2019). Different ways to cut a cake: comparing expert-based and statistical typologies to target sustainable intensification technologies, a case-study in Southern Ethiopia Experimental Agriculture. 55 (S1):191207.
Campbell, B. M., Beare, D. J., Bennett, E. M., Hall-Spencer, J. M., Ingram, J. S. I., Jaramillo, F., Ortiz, R., Ramankutty, N., Sayer, J. A. and Shindell, D. (2017). Agriculture production as a major driver of the Earth system exceeding planetary boundaries. Ecology and Society 22 (4):8.
Coe, R., Hughes, K., Sola, P. and Sinclair, F. (2017). Planned Comparisons Demystified. Working Paper No. 263. Nairobi Kenya.
Coe, R., Njoloma, J. and Sinclair, F. (2019). Loading the dice in favour of the farmer: reducing the risk of adopting agronomic innovations. Experimental Agriculture 55 (S1):6783.
Coe, R., Sinclair, F. and Barrios, E. (2014). Scaling up agroforestry requires research ‘in’ rather than ‘for’ development. Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability 6:7377.
Conway, G. (1997). The Doubly Green Revolution: Food for All in the 21st Century. Penguin. 334 p.
Crossland, M., Winowiecki, L. A., Pagella, T., Hadgu, K. and Sinclair, F. (2018). Implications of variation in local perception of degradation and restoration processes for implementing land degradation neutrality. Environmental Development 28 (November 2017):4254
Descheemaeker, K., Ronner, E., Ollenburger, M., Franke, A. C., Klapwijk, C. J., Falconnier, G. N., Wichern, J. and Giller, K. E. (2019). Which options fit best? operationalizing the socio-ecological niche concept. Experimental Agriculture 55 (S1):169190.
Farrow, A., Ronner, E., van den Brand, G. J., Boahen, S. K., Leonardo, W., Wolde-Meskel, E., Adjei-Nsiah, , Chikowo, R., Baijukya, F., Ebanyat, P., Sangodele, E. A., Sanginga, J.-M., Kantengwa, S., Phiphira, L., Woomer, P., Ampadu-Boakye, T., Baars, E., Kanampiu, F., Vanlauwe, B. and Giller, K. E. (2019). From best fit technologies to best fit scaling: incorporating and evaluating factors affecting the adoption of grain legumes in sub-saharan Africa. Experimental Agriculture 55 (S1):226251.
Fisher, R. A. (1925). Statistical Methods for Research Workers. Edinburg: Oliver and Boyd.
Franke, A. C., Baijukya, F., Kantengwa, S., Reckling, M., Vanlauwe, B. and Giller, K. E. (2019). Poor farmers- poor yields: socio-econmic, soil fertility and crop management indicators affecting climbing bean productivity in northern Rwanda. Experimental Agriculture 55 (S1):1434.
Gaffney, J., Schussler, J., Löffler, C., Cai, W., Paszkiewicz, S., Messina, C., Groeteke, J., Keaschall, J. and Cooper, M. (2015). Industry-scale evaluation of maize hybrids selected for increased yield in drought-stress conditions of the US corn belt. Crop Science 55 (4):16081618.
Gassner, A, Coe, R. and Sinclair, F. (2013). Improving food security through increasing the precision of agricultural development. In Precision Agriculture for Sustainability and Environmental Protection. (Eds Oliver, M., Bishop, T. and Marchant, B.). London: Earthscan.
Gladwin, C., Peterson, J. and Mwale, A. (2002). The quality of science in participatory research: a case study from eastern Zambia. World Development 30 (4):523543.
Hammond, J., Fravel, S., van Etten, J., Suchini, J. G., Mercado, L., Pagella, T., Frelat, F., Lannerstad, M., Douxchamps, S., Teufel, N., Valbuena, D. and van Wijk, M. T. (2017 ). In The Rural Household Multi-Indicator Survey (RHoMIS) for rapid charaterisation of households to inform climate smart agriculture interventions: Description and applications in East Africa and Central America. Agricultural Systems 151:225233.
Hecker, S., Haklay, M., Bowser, A., Makuch, Z., Vogel, J. and Bonn, A. (2018). Citizen Science. Innovations in Open Science, Society and Policy. London: UCL Press.
Hyman, G., Espinosa, H., Camargo, P., Abreu, D., Devare, M., Arnaud, E., Porter, C., Mwanzia, L., Sonder, K. and Traore, S. (2017). Improving agricultural knowledge management: The AgTrials experience. F1000Research 6:317. doi: 10.12688/f1000research.11179.2
Kilelu, C. W., Klerkx, L. and Leeuwis, C. (2013). Unravelling the role of innovation platforms in supporting coevolution of innovation: contributions and tensions in a smallholder dairy development programme. Agricultural Systems 118:6577.
Klerkx, L. and Leeuwis, C. (2009). Establishment and embedding of innovation brokers at different innovation system levels: Insights from the Dutch agricultural sector. Technological Forecasting & Social Change 76:849860.
Kmoch, L., Pagella, T., Palm, M. and Sinclair, F. (2018). Using Local Agroecological Knowledge in Climate Change Adaptation: a Study of Tree-Based Options in Northern Morocco. Sustainability, 10, 3719.
Kuria, A. W., Barrios, E., Pagella, T., Muthuri, C. W., Mukuralinda, A. and Sinclair, F. L. (2018). Geoderma regional farmers’ knowledge of soil quality indicators along a land degradation gradient in Rwanda. Geoderma Regional 15:e00199.
Lamond, G., Sandbrook, L., Gassner, A. and Sinclair, F. L. (2019). Local knowledge of tree attributes underpins species selection on coffee farms. Experimental Agriculture 55 (S1):3549.
Mazon, N., Peralta, E., Murillo, A., Rivera, M., Guzmán, A., Pichazaca, N. and Nicklin, C. (2019). It's not just the technology, its the surrounding system. Experimental Agriculture 55 (S1):107124.
Mead, R., Gilmour, S. and Mead, A. (2012). Statistical Principles for the Design of Experiments. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.
Miccolis, A., Peneireiro, F. M., Vieira, D. L. M., Marques, H. R. and Hoffmann, M. R. M. (2019). Restoration through agroforestry: options for reconciling livelihoods with conservation in the Cerrado and Caatinga biomes in Brazil. Experimental Agriculture 55 (S1):208225.
Nelson, R., Coe, R. and Haussmann, B. I. G. (2019). Farmer research networks as a strategy for matching diverse options and contexts in smallholder agriculture. Experimental Agriculture 55 (S1):125144.
Ojiem, J. O., De Ridder, N., Vanlauwe, B. and Giller, K. E. (2006). Socio-ecological niche : a conceptual framework for integration of legumes in smallholder farming systems. International Journal of Agricultural Sustainability 4 (1): 7993.
Pender, J. L., Place, F. and Ehui, S. (1999). Strategies for Sustainable Land Management in the East African Highlands. Washington, D.C.: International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
Ritzema, R. S., Frelat, R., Douxchamps, S., Silvestri, S. and Rufino, M. C. (2017). Is production intensification likely to make farm households food-adequate? A simple food availability analysis across smallholder farming systems from East and West Africa. Food Security 9:115131.
Sinclair, F. L. (2017). Systems science at the scale of impact: reconciling bottom-up participation with the production of widely applicable research outputs. In Sustainable Intensification in Smallholder Agriculture: An Integrated Systems Research Approach, 4357 (Eds Oborn, I., Vanlauwe, B., Phillips, M., Thomas, R., Brooijmans, W. and Atta-Krah, K.). London: Earthscan.
Smith-Dumont, E., Bonhomme, S., Pagella, T. F. and Sinclair, F. L. (2019). Structured stakeholder engagement leads to development of more diverse and inclusive agroforestry options. Experimental Agriculture 55 (S1):252274.
Stroud, A. (1993). Conducting On-Farm Experiments. Cali, Colombia: CIAT.
Tesfaye, K., Jaleta, M., Jena, P. and Mutenje, M. (2014). Identifying potential recommendation domains for conservation agriculture in Ethiopia, Kenya, and Malawi. Environmental Management 55 (2):330346.
Tippe, D. E., Rodenburg, J., Ast, A. Van, Anten, N. P. R. and Dieng, I. (2017). Field crops research delayed or early sowing : Timing as parasitic weed control strategy in rice is species and ecosystem dependent. Field Crops Research 214:1424.
van Etten, J. (2011). Crowdsourcing crop improvement in sub-saharan Africa: A proposal for a scalable and inclusive approach to food security. IDS Bulletin 42 (4):102110.
van Etten, J., Beza, E., Calderer, L., van Duijvendijk, K., Fadda, C., Fantahun, B., Kidane, Y. G., van de Gevel, J., Gupta, A., Mengistu, D. K., Kiambi, D., Mathur, P. N., Mercado, L., Mittra, S., Mollel, M. J., Rosas, J. C., Steinke, J., Suchini, J. G. and Zimmerer, K. S. (2019). First experiences with a novel farmer citizen science approach: crowdsourcing participatory variety selection though on-farm triadic comparisons of technologies. Experimental Agriculture. 55 (S1):275296.
van Etten, J., de Sousa, K., Aguilar, A., Barrios, M., Coto, A., Dell'Acqua, M., Fadda, C., Gebrehawaryat, Y., van de Gevel, J., Gupta, A., Kiros, A. Y., Madriz, B., Mathur, P., Mengistu, D. K., Mercado, L., Mohammed, J. N., Paliwal, A., , M. E., Quirós, C. F., Rosas, J. C., Sharma, N., Singh, S. S., Solanki, I. S. and Steinke, J. (2019). Crop variety management for climate adaptation supported by citizen science. PNAS 116:41944199.
van Noordwijk, M., Duguma, L. A., Dewi, S., Leimona, B., Catacutan, D., Lusiana, B., Öborn, I., Hairiah, K., Minang, P. A. (2018). SDG synergy between agriculture and forestry in the food, energy, water and income nexus: reinventing agroforestry? Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability 34:3342.
Vanclay, J., Prabhu, R. and Sinclair, F. L. (2006). Realizing Community Futures: A Practical Guide to Harnessing Natural Resources. London: Earthscan, 162 p.
van der Wolf, J., Jassogne, L., Gram, G. and Vaast, P. (2019). Turning local knowledge on agroforestry into an online decision-support tool for tree selection in smallholders' farms. Experimental Agriculture 55 (S1):5066.
Vanek, S. J. and Drinkwater, L. E. (2019). Integrating scineitific and local soils knowledge to examine options by context interactions for phosphorus addition to legumes in an Andean agroecosystem. Experimental Agriculture 55 (S1):145168.
Vanlauwe, B., Coe, R. and Giller, K. E. (2019). Beyond averages: New approaches to understand heterogeneity and risk of technology success or failure in smallholder farming. Experimental Agriculture 55 (S1):84106.
Willett, W., Rockström, J., Loken, B., Springmann, M., Lang, T., Vermeulen, S., Garnett, T., Tilman, D., DeClerck, F., Wood, A., Jonell, M., Clark, M., Gordon, L. J., Fanzo, J., Hawkes, C., Zurayk, R., Rivera, J. A., De Vries, W., Sibanda, L. M., Afshin, A., Chaudhary, A., Herrero, M., Agustina, R., Branca, F., Lartey, A., Fan, S., Crona, B., Fox, E., Bignet, V., Troell, M., Lindahl, T., Singh, S., Cornell, S. E., Reddy, K. S., Narain, S., Nishtar, S. and Murray, C. J. L. (2019). Food in the Anthropocene: the EAT–Lancet commission on healthy diets from sustainable food systems. The Lancet 393:10170, 447492.

Metrics

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed