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Guidelines for Training in Rapid Appraisal for Agroforestry Research and Extension

Amelioration Of Soil By Trees

image of Guidelines for Training in Rapid Appraisal for Agroforestry Research and Extension

These guidelines are for training research and extension personnel in rapid appraisal methods for development of agroforestry in peasant land use systems. The guidelines are illustrated through reference to a training and research exercise where an agropastoral farming system in Shurugwi Communal Area, Zimbabwe was appraised in 1998.



Four key principles underlie the methods used:

• agroforestry interventions are identified and developed through working with and learning from farmers and the local community, as well as through conventional research assessment – “interactive research”

• interactive research is best learned through real application not lectures or classroom exercises and simulations – “learning by doing”

• “interdisciplinary” is a key to successful interactive research

• agroforestry interventions are developed from an understanding of constraints and conflicts existing within the rural community over access to production resources

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Appraisal of Potential Agroforestry Interventions

Step IV was concerned implicitly with 'appraisal' in that infeasible, unfundable or unwanted options raised and informally discussed during these steps will already have been abandoned. Although a few proposals were rejected during appraisal, this step is not a formal appraisal of a wide range of options as recommended by planning text books. Instead, we assume that the interventions identified in Step IV are in principle acceptable to local people, and that what now has to be done is to assess the suitability of the interventions for various kinds of household, their compatibility with local institutions, their acceptability by Government departments, their complementarity and interactions as part of an agroforestry strategy, and the priority for their implementation.

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