Nyang’au, I.M.; Kelboro, G.; Hornidge, A.-K.; Midega, C.A.O.; Borgemeister, C. Transdisciplinary Research: Collaborative Leadership and Empowerment Towards Sustainability of Push–Pull Technology. Sustainability2018, 10, 2378.
Nyang’au, I.M.; Kelboro, G.; Hornidge, A.-K.; Midega, C.A.O.; Borgemeister, C. Transdisciplinary Research: Collaborative Leadership and Empowerment Towards Sustainability of Push–Pull Technology. Sustainability 2018, 10, 2378.
Transdisciplinary research approach requires that different scientists with their discipline-specific theories, concepts and methods find ways to work together with other societal players to solve a real-life problem. In order to put this into practice, Trans-disciplinary Action Research (TDR) approach was applied in this study using Push pull technology (PPT) as a boundary object. The study was conducted in Bako Tibe, Jimma arjo and Yayu Woredas (Districts) in the Oromia region of Ethiopia from August 2014 to April 2015. PPT is a biological based mechanism developed by researchers for stemborer pest control in maize. It involves inter-cropping maize with a stemborer moth-repellent silverleaf or Greenleaf Desmodium (push), and planting an attractive trap crop, Napier or Brachiaria grass (pull), around the maize crop. On farm PPT implementation was used to provide an opportunity for collaboration, interaction and learning among heterogeneous set of stakeholders comprising of researchers from Ethiopian Institute of Agricultural research and the practitioners from the ministry of agriculture and smallholder farmers/traders. The data was collected using mixed methods approach comprising of key informant interviews, Focus Group discussions, workshops, on-farm practical demonstrations and participant observations. The findings shows that; collaborative leadership provides a chance for the stakeholders to participate in the technology learning and decision making by enabling them to jointly contribute skills towards development, refinement and adaptation of PPT. In situations where there are conflicts, they are embraced and become opportunities for in-depth learning, finding solutions and adaptation rather than being sources of contradictions or misunderstandings. Leadership roles taken by farmers play a key role in terms of ability to reflect on their own practices and drawing on scientific explanations from researchers. It also enables them take lead in new technology implementation and information sharing in free and easy manner with fellow farmers and other stakeholders. Although PPT perennial nature of cropping provides opportunities for continuous stakeholder interaction and learning, it requires a personally committed leadership and formal institutional engagements for the sustainability of its activities spanning over several cropping seasons. Market forces and the involvement of private sector players also has a role to achieve this as shown from the involvement of individual farmers and traders in Desmodium and Brachiaria seed production, collection and distribution.
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.