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Type: Thesis
Title: Values in agricultural research and development management for pro-poor impact: the case of PETRRA Project, Bangladesh.
Author: Salahuddin, Ahmad
Issue Date: 2011
School/Discipline: School of History and Politics
Abstract: In spite of many years of quality agricultural research and overall agricultural and economic growth, there has been slow progress in the reduction of rural poverty in many developing countries. There is agreement that technology alone is unable to solve the problem of poverty. There are many other issues that need to be considered - some are agroecological and some are social-economic-cultural-institutional-infrastructural. There has recently been fruitful discussion on poverty-focused agricultural research within national and international agricultural research systems. But the actual application of these new ideas and discussions in research has been limited. Although all agree that there is a need to discover ways to achieve greater impact on poverty from research that has been conducted, there is as yet no clear evidence of achievement based on practical experiences. There is little or no real discussion in the literature that demonstrates whether the approach to research affects poverty status. This thesis revisits different interventions and identifies gaps in the literature in understanding approaches to agricultural research. It examines whether working directly with poor men and women farmers in partnership with organisations can contribute to poverty reduction. It also explores a range of values, asking whether they can make pro-poor research and development more effective and, more importantly, whether a value-based research management approach can significantly contribute to poverty elimination. The experience of a recently completed IRRI-managed and DFID-funded project, the Poverty Elimination Through Rice Research Assistance (PETRRA) project, which claimed to have used a value-based approach to agricultural research management, was used as a case study to learn about the effectiveness of such an approach. The project was implemented in Bangladesh for 5 years with more than 50 national and international partners and in close collaboration with the Bangladesh Rice Research Institute (BRRI). A qualitative research methodology was used to explore the effectiveness of the value-based research management approach utilised by the project. The values included working with the poor men and women farmers on their demands and priorities, conducting research that ensures participation of men and women farmers, working with partners who work with the poor farmers, and developing networks and linkages to sustain technologies and innovations and communicate results to a large number of poor farmers for impact. Under PETRRA, a competitive research commissioning approach was used in the selection of partners. The research method involved interviewing the research partners that led research and development subprojects 4 years on from the completion of the project. This group represents the intermediary group that made the link between two large groups: i) the national-international agricultural research and development system and ii) the users, the poor men and women farmers or the farmer groups. During the interviews, the partners of PETRRA evaluated their experience with the value-based approach that was adopted by PETRRA and analysed its effectiveness. The research revealed that the experience of engaging with values and the value-based management approach was mostly positive. The scientists from national and international research centres and development professionals from government, non-government, and private organizations were successful in linking agricultural research, values, and the need for a management approach to achieve the objective of poverty reduction. They were able to see the strengths of the values when they were used in combination to complement each other. They observed the superior effectiveness in poverty reduction of research outputs in the form of technologies and other innovations that were developed through a value-based approach. They also identified the need for and effectiveness of the contribution of continuous capacity-building efforts on the part of the project management unit in support of a value-based approach. There was clear evidence of capacity-building impact on individual partners and their respective organizations as many of these individuals and organizations sustained the learning after the project ended. Many technologies and innovations, networks, and tools that were developed in the respective subprojects were successfully used by poor farmers, some were replicated by other organizations, and some were mainstreamed and internalised within the organizations that developed them. Many partner organizations involved were substantially changed. Those who had no previous agricultural programme became champions in agriculture, and those who had never worked with resource-poor men-women farmers became leader organizations in conducting such programmes. Many individuals and organizations became advocates and became known nationally. All such evidence indicates the effectiveness of the value-based agricultural research management approach. The thesis concludes that pro-poor agricultural research and development is possible, even within a traditional setting. The challenge is to create a management approach around research and development activities that is value-based and that can facilitate a learning environment where all actors can contribute, play their due role, and get credit for it.
Advisor: Mayer, Peter Baldwin
Elias, Juanita Marie
Dissertation Note: Thesis (Ph.D.) -- University of Adelaide, School of History and Politics, 2011
Keywords: agriculture; rice; pro-poor agricultural research; values-based research management; women; capacity for values; facilitated learning; partnership; national and international agricultural research centres; NGOS; International Rice Research Institute (IRRI); Department for International Development (DFID); South Asia; Bangladesh
Provenance: Copyright material removed from digital thesis. See print copy in University of Adelaide Library for full text.
Appears in Collections:Research Theses

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