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Welcome Forums Open Forum Communicating plant science to farmers

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  • #1812

    Why are we in academia?

    We create a path while going upstairs in science and we may forget the aim of doing so. And I don’t mean we must create practical knowledge only, but there is a huge void between our work and what happens in the field, in reality. Thomas Kuhn emphasizes science not shared is like it does not exist. And yes, Industry has been really close with scientists but we just cannot assume everyone has the facility to incorporate high technology and research in their problems.

    We must put effective science communication in front of making numbers and I think the best way to achieve this is by recognizing fieldwork by ourselves, getting involved in the day-to-day routine and the lifestyle of those people, since we also have to know how to communicate in that context.

    I have seen farmers using masks who don’t know how to read or write and people who graduated from universities being anti-vax. Science communication is an important part of whatever we want to change.

  • Communicating plant science to farmers

    Rigel Salinas-Gamboa updated 10 months, 1 week ago 4 Members · 3 Replies
  • Suzane Pols

    August 16, 2021 at 11:33 am

    Hello Eddy,
    After completing my MSc degree I worked for three years at a postharvest company, where I was privileged enough to work in close association with many growers/farmers from around the world. Drawing on these experiences, I can’t agree with your discussion point more! I always found the amount of technical information growers have about their crops/farm staggering.

    I also believe that ultimately we do our research to help these individuals, and it’s of the utmost importance that we bridge the gap between science and industry if we hope to make a significant impact in the world…the farmers/growers are more than willing to learn from us, but we need to overcome our prejudice and work towards communicating our research more effectively.

  • Yadukrishnan Premachandran

    August 18, 2021 at 11:23 am

    Hi Eddy,

    I deeply resonate with your thoughts. I agree that we should find ways to connect more with the farmers at the grassroots. The key question to address is how to establish this connection systematically by inculcating it as a practice, beyond just romanticizing its importance. I am sure everyone doing plant research – whether basic or applied – wants this to happen. The current academic system does not encourage lab-oriented plant scientists, especially those who work on basic biology, to engage with the farmers. In India, other than the agricultural scientists working in universities and institutes under a government body named ICAR (which is one of their major mandates), plant scientists hardly engage in direct interaction with farmers. Even this engagement is largely restricted to subjects that have direct field implications such as agronomy, horticulture, soil science, and crop protection.

    I think plant biologists should first reach out to and actively engage with people who currently act as direct links between academia and farmers. These links include field-level agricultural scientists and governmental/non-governmental agencies that involve in agricultural extension activities. Associating with these people during their field visits and getting familiar with the farming communities of the area can be our baby steps. First, we will hear the farmers, and slowly, they will be ready to hear us. With time, we can eliminate the need for intermediate links and will be able to connect with the farmers directly. Building mutual trust is a slow process, but it will be highly rewarding for both academia and the farmers in the long run.

  • Rigel Salinas-Gamboa

    August 19, 2021 at 2:50 pm

    This is such a necessary topic that it should be incorporated in most of the governments in the world! I think it would build more confidence on both sides: to give a better focused goal for the use of the knowledge that scientists are doing and to give better and more tools for more efficient agriculture. This would also save money eventually.

    I also agree with @Yadu about the way of how the government and society should start to approach with intermediaries. I´m sure that not only we scientists are going to teach valuable techniques and information to the farmers but also they will teach us quite some more.