Full Length Research Paper
Smallholder farms are complex systems, constantly adapting to context and rely on local, place-based knowledges. The vital role of local knowledge in smallholder farming systems has seen attempts throughout low- and middle-income countries to entwine local knowledge with scientific knowledge to improve outcomes from agricultural extension. Using a systematic review and exploratory meta-synthesis of selected literature, this research explored the use of local knowledge in agricultural extension. The synthesis found local knowledge plays a vital role in the adoption of new technologies or practices because as the dominant form of knowledge in communities they give learners confidence and they provide a context upon which new information can be introduced. However, effective use of local knowledge requires a realistic perspective which recognises that some combination of local and scientific knowledge, developed in a participatory process, will likely result in extension delivering greater outcomes to farmers.
Key words: Local knowledge, agricultural extension, smallholders.
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