Community Participation in Agroforestry Development and Extension: Experience of the Kenya Wood Fuel and Agroforestry Programme (KWAP), Busia District, Kenya

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Noordin, Q.
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This paper discusses the role of the community in agro forestry technology development and the extension approaches that have been used to spread sustainable agro forestry practices. It begins by stressing the importance of active community participation in the development of appropriate and sustainable agro forestry interventions for small holder farmers in the tropics. This is seen as essential because farmers understand their complex biophysical, socio-cultural and economic environment better than anyone else. It is therefore imperative that the community be involved in the whole process of technology development right from problem identification to technology transfer. Similarly, problem identification and prioritisation by consensus of the community is seen as crucial, the role of indigenous knowledge in designing technologies that are cost effective, relevant and easily adoptable. Equally important is that interventions be tried out with a few farmers before involving the whole community and that farmers develop a monitoring system within their means that is effective in assessing the performance of these technologies. The paper concludes that a community-based extension system should be institutionalised in order to ensure sustainability in the transfer of the technologies. The system should be able to lead to the building of the capacity of the local farming community to continue utilising and transferring these technologies to solve their problems and ultimately creating sustainable farming systems.
East African Agricultural and Forestry Journal, 62 (2), pp. 261-270