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How to reconcile product standardization and diversity of agricultural pratices? A challenge for research-action in partnership : The case of farmers' organizations in Costa Rica exporting marginant verde and pineapple

Faure G., Hocdé H., Chia E.. 2006. In : Innovation Africa Symposium, 20-23 November 2006, Kampala, Ouganda. s.l. : s.n., 15 p.. Innovation Africa Symposium, 2006-11-20/2006-11-23, Kampala (Ouganda).

To continue exporting in competitive markets, small producers need to sell products which fit increasingly strict standards. Nevertheless, the diversity of agricultural practices raises some questions dealing with the coordination between farmers to obtain a product meeting clients' demands. An action-research methodology was designed with two farmers' organizations, one exporting fresh pineapple and the other ornamental plants, to identify socio-technical and organizational innovations with farmers. The diversity of agricultural practices was analyzed and then a debate within farmers' organizations was organized to identify practices which fit the market demands. The conclusions show that different technical sequences at the plot level can be used according to the farmers' objectives and resource availability. The farmers' organizations designed technical specifications to describe these agricultural practices, to train their members, and to negotiate with their clients. In conclusion, the authors emphasize the special role of the technical specifications in the innovation process and the learning process within the research-action stakeholders group.

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