Farmer and scientist perspectives on technology development in a food security project in Nepal

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Husak, Laura
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Using technology as an entry point, I employ the concept of the ecology of practice as a lens to interpret a specific food security intervention on small millets –neglected and underutilized crops important to rainfed agriculture. The “Revalorizing small millets: Enhancing the food and nutritional security of women and children in rainfed regions of South Asia using underutilized species (RESMISA)” project objectives each evoked technology to: increase production, decrease women’s drudgery, and increase the status of small millets. I examine networks of actors, ecologies and technologies in the Nepal project sites using a multi-sited ethnographic approach. Analyzing three types of technologies (seed, machines and practices), I found divergences between natural and social scientists’ perceptions on technology development. Interests differed among the worldviews of smallholder farmers that the researchers sought to engage as participants. Understanding practices in specific ecologies matters as research for development efforts seek to close the technology adoption gap.
food security, small millets, participatory technology development, ethnography