Family Farming Knowledge Platform

The need for ground-up transitions: exploring the knowledge politics of agroecology in Gujarat, India

Despite a plethora of emerging alternatives under the broad rubric of agroecology, sustainable transitions in Indian agriculture are caught between institutional inertia and lock-ins of its vast agricultural establishment on the one hand and a pro-active state promoting a natural farming. This push for Zero-Budget Natural Farming (ZBNF), while welcome as an alternative, also raises several questions on the nature of knowledge production and dissemination. This paper explores the knowledge politics around top-down “skilling regimes” and the principles and paradigms that emphasize social learning. We explore the multiple practices, meanings of agroecology among farmers, government agencies, and civil society organizations in the state of Gujarat. The action research included a survey of practices of 250 farmers in 12 districts, interviews, and stakeholder workshops. Insufficient investments in community-based extension mechanisms and lack of collaboration between state and civil society were features of the policy implementation. The absence of innovative platforms to facilitate knowledge dialogs and learning among actors to advance agroecology increases the gap between policy goals and its actual realization in practice. Programs for upscaling agroecology, we suggest, need to embed the diversity of technical and institutional processes through creating learning alliances to facilitate knowledge dialogs across dissimilar actors.

Title of publication: Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems
Volume: 48, 2024
Issue: 5
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Author: C. Shambu Prasad
Other authors: Arnab Chakraborty, Deborah Dutta
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Year: 2024
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Country/ies: India
Geographical coverage: Asia and the Pacific
Type: Article
Content language: English
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