Main Article Content
With the current government emphasis on increased productivity and poverty eradication through the policies of decentralisation, liberalisation commercialisation and private sector involvement, NARO had to realign its strategic direction. Arising from the strategy and Medium term Plan was the need to respond to needs of farmers and other key stakeholders. The strategy of decentralisation of research services was identified as key in involving clients as equal partners. The other one was the need to avail research outputs to intermediary organisations, service providers and selected end-users (uptake pathways). In an effort to provide high quality, relevant and effective research outputs, NARO is strengthening its adaptive research by involving Farmer Research Groups (FRGs) and having location specific research based on the needs of clients. It is also forging linkages and partnerships as well as encouraging networking.
Preliminary indications of core elements for successfully meeting the clients needs seem to include community mobilisation and action, partnership between researchers, farmers and extensionists, voluntary participation, active feedback from clients, and blending scientific ideas with farmers' own knowledge and practices. Farmers' active participation in monitoring and analysing of the changes as well as sharing experiences among themselves had a positive contribution. There are however, possible challenges from attitudes by all stakeholders at individual, institutional and organisational levels. This calls for a well managed transition to a new paradigm. The incentives particularly in terms of improved livelihoods seem to be low for farmers to actively participate in the process.