Bringing farmers into the game: Strengthening farmers’ role in the innovation process through a simulation game
This article in the journal Agricultural Systems discusses the participation of farmers in knowledge co-production within multi-stakeholder settings. While farmers are recognized as equally weighing sources of innovation in the Agricultural Innovation Systems (AIS) framework, their participation in knowledge co-production within multi-stakeholder settings such as innovation platforms is still often limited. Farmers participate more in implementing than in designing innovations or in shaping innovation process. Drawing on the companion modeling approach and critical companion posture, we designed a simulation game based method that we tested with dairy farmers in the irrigation scheme in the North-West Tunisia. The objectives were to engage farmers in a research project as equal knowledge producers, to support the process of collective construction of improved farm strategies and to create conditions for farmers to get empowered to pursue their innovation ambitions. The LAITCONOMIE game, based on the self-design principle, creates conditions for farmers to mobilize their knowledge and knowledge of others to respond to their local innovation needs. Despite a modest scale, the game experiment brought results in terms of knowledge co-production and of change in farming practice of the participants.
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