Research Axes

The SAM Program is organized according to three main axes, which correspond to three objectives:

  • Prioritizing development issues from local to regional scales through a problem-driven, interdisciplinary perspective (axis A);

  • Defining alternatives to unsustainable agricultural practices by matching an innovation demand identified in axis A with an innovation supply (axis B);

  • Proposing institutional settings and accompanying policies towards sustainable natural resources management (axis C).

The three research axes are closely related to each other:

Based on development issues identified and prioritized through axis A, promising innovations are documented and compiled into a database. Their geographic recommendation domain is defined using a provincial GIS. Then technical innovations are tested in real conditions through an on-farm experimental network that is managed in partnership with development agencies and extension services (axis B). Innovation diffusion can be further monitored using GIS-based tools developed under Axis A.

Axes A and B thus provide the scientific background for a knowledge base that is used by local and regional decision makers to define locally adapted alternatives to non-sustainable agricultural practices. Axis C aims at institutionalizing our integrative approach and implementing the “research – development – policy formulation” continuum at a significant scale in order to lower the time laps between a research finding and its actual implementation in farmers’ fields. Scientists then play a role as facilitators in the negotiations among stakeholders. In order to achieve a real impact on rural development our research approach combines both a relevant, scientifically sound knowledge base and a communication / coordination platform.