Farmer involvement is a key part of the SUNRISE work. The farmers are not only helping to support the project by hosting experiments on their farms, they are also providing key information in directing the research effort to find solutions which are applicable to them. UB have organised a number of “farmer days” where communities can come and learn about the latest research findings and to comment on future plans and research priorities.
We have also received structured feedback from the farmers through surveys. For example, a survey on the farmer’s opinions on the pine canopy trimming trial was published recently (1). This work highlighted that whilst the farmers generally agree that pine canopy trimming may be beneficial for coffee yields, to take up this management option they would require support (loans or subsidies) to cover the labour cost.
Surveys to assess the farmer’s knowledge have also highlighted important areas for research and outreach activities. For example, many farmers are unaware of the beneficial activities of earthworms within their plots. Female and male farmers also differ in how they conduct activities such as fertilisation, and how they describe soil properties.
Insights from these surveys have sparked new areas of work, for example the construction of glass-sided wormeries, allowing the farmers to see the vital work in soil aeration that earthworms perform. This is being coupled with experiments on the impact of different litter types on worm activity and growth.
- Edi Dwi Cahyono, Salsabila Fairuzzana, Deltanti Willianto, Eka Pradesti, Niall P McNamara, Rebecca L Rowe, Meine van Noordwijk, (2020). Agroforestry innovation through planned farmer behavior: trimming in pine–coffee systems, Land, 10, 363 - View publication on web