, Volume 6, Issue 3, pp 4-12

Toward a knowledge of local knowledge and its importance for agricultural RD&E

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Local knowledge (both technological and sociological) and communication systems represent a logical starting point and a rich body of resources for successful agricultural research, development, and extension (RD&E). Drawing upon concrete examples from Asia, Africa, and Latin America, this essay presents an overview of definitions, topics, and applications of local knowledge in agricultural RD&E. Also noted are caveats, future research and training needs, and human values issues related to the study and utilization of local knowledge systems and their products.

Constance M. McCorkle is research assistant professor of Rural Sociology at the University of Missouri-Columbia, where she coordinates the Sociology Project of the Small Ruminant Collaborative Research Support Program (SRCRSP). In addition to authoring a variety of other works on agricultural RD&E in the developing world, she is editor of the recently published volumeThe Social Sciences in International Agricultural Research, Lynne Rienner Publishers, Boulder, CO, 1989.