Learning how agricultural research can be more relevant to the poor



Can agricultural research be more relevant and useful to women, the poor and marginalized? Researchers in the CGIAR have long been grappling with this question and have developed a number of methodologies in response, the best known of which are farming systems research in 1970s and integrated natural resource management in the 1990s.  The methodologies have all tried to do the same thing: make agricultural research more grounded in the context of its application and more driven by a problem solving approach. Gibbons et al., (1994) has described this as  Mode 2 research contrasting it with  Mode 1 academic, investigator-initiated and discipline-based knowledge production.  

Despite the protracted effort to develop and embed  Mode 2 research approaches in the CGIAR none have become mainstream. In 2011 the CGIAR funded the CGIAR Research Program on Aquatic Agricultural Systems (AAS) to change this as the authors of the programme proposal made clear:

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