A Transformative Approach to Extension: Innovative Technology Transfer Methodologies for Plantation (Matooke) on the Ecuadorian Coast
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This chapter highlights the reasons why there have been failures in the adoption of new methods and technologies in the history of the development of agriculture. The main reason of failure is the gap between farmers, practitioners, and scientists; the difficulty for one side to understand the rationale behind the other's explanation, or for farmers to accept the risk that might jeopardize their livelihoods. The adoption of new technologies is less accessible for women, as they tend to be the poorest, often do not have decision making power, and have less access to extension services. The authors explain the approach of Farmer Field Schools (FFS) and how these learning centers created the shift from lectures to hands-on demonstrations to allow farmers to understand the concepts behind the process. The results were not always what were expected as the adoption of the new practices (of integrated pest management) continued to be compromised by peer pressure, lack of means to acquire the necessary materials, lack of access to labor or inputs, and fear of having lower yields. Women's incorporation might face cultural constraints, access and mobility difficulties, and face educational or literacy obstacles. The authors present a new holistic approach to extension that encourages farmers to work through the cause and effects through themselves. This approach is called transformative education. The chapter presents the steps of the plantain course illustrated with photos. Results show that once the farmers understood the set of principles they adopted the related practice. This approach uses critical reasoning and thinking; a tool that can be used in other areas of their lives.