Why are many apparently simple, technical solutions to agricultural problems not widely adopted? Why don't people change their behaviour when provided with information that ought to be useful? Is there more to soil than can be captured by its physical and biochemical properties alone?
These are difficult questions, which require an understanding of how people think and how they relate both to their environment and to their community. Questions that need social sciences to approach an answer.
In this episode of the Thrive podcast, Katherine Snyder, a senior social scientist with the International Centre for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT), shares her views on silver bullet solutions to agricultural development dilemmas.
Katherine Synder is an anthropologist who spent many years living and working in rural Africa. She is based in Nairobi, Kenya, where she brings her academic background in anthropology to bear on the social, economic and institutional issues surrounding the use of water, land and ecosystems.
If you would to know more about Snyder's approach, take a look at a tool called ELMO - Evaluating Land Management Options - that she and her team have developed to help researchers use a participatory approach to work with farmers and gain their perspectives on how best to manage their land.