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Platform, participation, and power: how dominant and minority stakeholders shape agricultural innovation

Platform, participation, and power: how dominant and minority stakeholders shape agricultural innovation

Eidt, Colleen M., Pant, Laxmi P. and Hickey, Gordon M. (2020) Platform, participation, and power: how dominant and minority stakeholders shape agricultural innovation. Sustainability, 12 (2):461. ISSN 2071-1050 (Online) (doi:https://doi.org/10.3390/su12020461)

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Abstract

Within agricultural innovation systems (AIS), various stakeholder groups inevitably interpret ‘innovation’ from their own vantage point of privilege and power. In rural developing areas where small-scale and subsistence farming systems support livelihoods, dominant policy actors often focus heavily on participatory modernization and commercialization initiatives to enhance productivity, access, and quality. However, existing social hierarchies may undermine the potential of such initiatives to promote inclusive and sustainable farmer-driven innovation. Focusing on the chronically food insecure smallholder agricultural systems operating in Yatta Sub-county, Eastern Kenya, this paper explores how power dynamics between stakeholders can influence, and can be influenced by, participatory agricultural innovation initiatives. Findings suggest that there are often significant disparities in access to, and control over, platform resources between smallholder farmers and other stakeholder groups, resulting in large asymmetries. We discuss how these power dynamics may increase the risk of agricultural intervention, further marginalizing already disempowered groups and reinforcing power hierarchies to the detriment of smallholders. This study highlights the need for a deeper understanding of the institutional contexts that facilitate and maintain relationships of power within agricultural innovation systems, as well as the complexities associated with promoting transformational agricultural innovation.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: sub-Saharan Africa, rural livelihoods, subsistence, smallholders, sustainable food security, participatory development, sustainable agriculture, community engagement
Subjects: S Agriculture > S Agriculture (General)
Faculty / Department / Research Group: Faculty of Engineering & Science
Faculty of Engineering & Science > Natural Resources Institute
Faculty of Engineering & Science > Natural Resources Institute > Livelihoods & Institutions Department
Last Modified: 09 Jan 2020 09:54
Selected for GREAT 2016: None
Selected for GREAT 2017: None
Selected for GREAT 2018: None
Selected for GREAT 2019: None
URI: http://gala.gre.ac.uk/id/eprint/26573

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