Project leaders: Prof Kerstin Kruger and Prof Jacquie van der Waals
The problems of the world are increasingly interconnected. These are "wicked" problems, messy in nature and complex in design. Agriculture faces many of these wicked problems, which are compounded by the growing threat of climate change and climate variability, and failure to address effective land transformation and farmer empowerment through extension services. This project aimed to identify the problem-focus and perception of farmers, researchers, extension agents, and policies with regards to crop and insect pest management and climate change in order to assist in bridging the perceived disassociation between stakeholders that obstructs the creation of streamlined agricultural decision support systems.
To identify this disconnection an initial analysis on how different stakeholders perceive threats and possible solutions was carried out. By mapping perspectives on a concept network, gaps were identified and can be bridged to pave the way for increased cooperation and collaboration between research partners, policy makers and practitioners. As both pest management and plant protection will be influenced by climate change these serve as useful points of analysis.
Informetric analyses provide the context-specific perspectives of stakeholders, including small-holders and subsistence farmers. This allows for the democratisation of science and a collaborative spirit with which to address wicked problems and optimise solutions. The project is a collaboration between members of the Department of Zoology and Entomology, Department of Plant and Soil Sciences and Department of Geography, Geoinformatics and Meteorology.