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BNI March 2002 Vol 21. No. 1: Review

Williamson, S.

Challenges for farmer participation in integrated and organic production of agricultural tree crops. BNI 23 (1)


The effects of changes in cropping production technologies, systems and input and output markets on smallholders growing tree crops for export, and the consequences on pest management strategies, including augmentative and conservation biological control, are discussed in the context of pest and crop management research, technology development and farmer training. Evolving approaches in extension methodology are described, and the new knowledge and skills that changing markets require of farmers are identified. The limitations of conventional technology development and transfer methods, by both public and private sector commodity organizations and companies dealing with tree crop agroexports, are described. Case studies of some innovative experiences in farmer participatory training and research in different tree crops (cocoa, coffee, nuts and tea) and countries (Colombia, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, USA and Vietnam) are presented, and how far these are able to help farmers improve their pest and crop management practices and adapt to rapidly changing markets is discussed. Finally, suggestions are made for making tree cash cropping more beneficial in economic, social and environmental terms for smallholders and an outline of the training, institutional and policy needs for integrating tree crops into robust and flexible livelihood strategies.