An important underlying concept of the paper is the observation by Dr R. Chambers that ‘poor people in developing countries hold the solution while unchanged behaviour of rich people, irrespective of place is very much part of the problem’. It is argued that it is equally important to know, and perhaps make changes, in the value systems, models of reality and cultures of those providing technical assistance (in this case the animal science community) as of those being assisted.
It is noted that so far the contribution of livestock research to increased animal production among rural smallholders has been meager. Some of the constraints in livestock research to socio-economic development are discussed under the following broad headings: some recent thoughts on science, scientists, and development, the contribution so far, context and priorities and communication.
It is concluded that the present first constraint in animal production research is relevant senior scientific leadership. It is also concluded that a positive strategy can be identified, which starts by placing more emphasis on exposing first-world scientists to the context of the third-world farmer as such an exposure is expected ultimately to lead to a change in research priorities.