PARI news & events

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New Article Published: The potential of apps to study smallholder farming systems and more

A new article by Thomas Daum, Regina Birner, Hannes Buchwald and Ansgar Gerlicher, published in the magazine Rural 21, discusses the potential to use mobile tools for research and for project monitoring and evaluation purposes.

The digital revolution does not only offer new development opportunities for users in developing countries, it also provides fascinating new pathways for researchers and development practitioners. The authors report on their experience with the smartphone app Time Tracker, which was developed and tested in the context of PARI, to record daily activities of survey participants. They conclude that mobile tools and apps could enable us to get a much more nuanced understanding of complex smallholder farming systems in particular, and new and improved general insights into developing countries.

read full article here

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How to Unleash Farm Mechanisation in Africa and How to Tame it

Agricultural mechanisation has emerged as a priority on the African development agenda. It is a powerful, but double-edged sword, which must be used carefully. On the positive side, mechanisation can play a key role in tapping underutilized agricultural potential, especially where access to labour, rather than land, constrains farmers. It can also reduce the burden of heavy physical work – often under hot, tropical weather conditions – that characterizes the work of the 70% of African farmers that use hand tools only. On the negative side however, mechanisation can cause an unequal distribution of land and wealth, and can lead to environmental problems. The challenge is thus to find ways of mechanisation that are economically, socially, and environmentally sustainable.

read full article here.