Main Article Content
Agricultural production per unit area in Uganda has been on the downturn attributable to biophysical and socio-economic problems partly ensues from poor delivery of technical knowledge and inadequate institutional support. Traditionally, research was conducted on-station or through researcher managed on–farm trials and the government’s extension system, using ‘top-down’ dissemination methods, transferred the results to the farmers. One of the major weaknesses of this approach was failure to involve farmers in testing and adapting technologies that suit their circumstances. Participatory approaches have therefore been adopted to adapt and promote generated technologies to make research effective and relevant to the farmer. This paper uses experiences of the soils and Soil Fertility Management Programme (SSFMP) of the National Agricultural Research Organization (NARO) and its partners to illustrate the variety of participatory approaches used. These include, participatory on-farm trials/demonstrations, Farmer Field Schools and Participatory Development Communication. Where further experimentation is required farmer managed, researcher managed and Participatory Learning and Action Research on-farm research have been used. Besides farmers, the approaches involve national and international research institutions, extension agents and community-based organizations as partners. These approaches enhance farmer skills and knowledge and since everybody is involved in the process, indigenous knowledge and innovations are captured and integrated in the selected options. The methods and approaches have caused a multiplier effect through farmer-to-farmer and farmer-to-other stakeholder communication using tools, like posters, field days, traditional theater, among others. Utilization of these methods and approaches has not only enhanced the relevance of the research process and results but has also improved the uptake and utilization of these results, hence reducing natural resource degradation while increasing productivity.