Participative Approaches To Enhance Adoption Of Fasciolosis Control Strategies In Cattle In Yogya-Karta Province, Indonesia
Fasciolosis is a widespread, significant, endemic problem in cattle in rice-growing areas of Indonesia. Its effects are usually sub-clinical so it remains largely unrecognised by farmers and extensionists. Indonesian and Australian parasitologists have developed a suite of control strategies. Initial attempts to promote these strategies through Transfer of Technology (TOT) approaches achieved increased awareness, but little lasting change in farmer practices was evident 4 years later. This paper reports on the process, and early promising results from, an initiative to trial a Participatory Action Research (PAR) methodology to stimulate an extension process whose outcome is effective, sustainable fasciolosis control in Yogyakarta Province, Indonesia. In PAR, groups of farmers, extension agents and scientists work closely in a cooperative and flexible process, to resolve commonly identified problematic issues. The emphasis is on working with rather than for people through an interactive process to enhance opportunities for learning by doing. The process involved working through a four-step process to gain credible access to four farmer groups in three villages identified as having a fasciolosis problem. This was followed by a 9-month long series of activities, coordinated through farmer group meetings, which included (1) creating awareness through developing a media package, and then maintaining farmer involvement through (2) design and execution of field trials, (3) monitoring results, and (4) presentation and discussion of results with farmers. Group meetings were an important part of the information exchange process, and the use of learning aid tools was regarded as complementary for interpersonal communication.
Of the four recommended control strategies, two were already practised for reasons other than fasciolosis control, one was acceptable but had prohibitive cost, and the fourth was unattractive because it was technically difficult to implement. A significant development was a new strategy generated within a farmer group that was adopted readily by other groups. We conclude that adoption of technical innovations by farmers depends largely on two issues: (i) the nature of the associated farming systems, and (ii) the way in which the innovation is presented through extension agency activity. A participative approach appears to have considerable potential for stimulating significant practice change, particularly if it incorporates farmer involvement in generation and dissemination of locally relevant knowledge and recommendations. PAR fosters such a reflexive approach.
Keywords: Fasciolosis control, participatory action research, adoption process.