[Stelling]“Climate-smart agriculture as a scientific field is a typical example of neo-colonial science.”

[Stelling]“Climate-smart agriculture as a scientific field is a typical example of neo-colonial science.”

He sent a text message to Ning Fan

PhD students explain their most provocative statement. This time it's the turn of Maria Rodriguez Barillas, who received her doctorate on December 19 to understand the dynamics of the farmer system in the transition to sustainable coffee production in Costa Rica.

“During my doctoral research, I observed that climate-smart agriculture as a scientific field is primarily influenced by actors from the Global North. This has a disproportionate impact on the direction and focus of the field. The voice of local farmers is often overlooked, even though they have generations of practical experience In their lands.

Take the coffee sector for example: valuable resources such as indigenous knowledge or traditional agricultural practices are taken from the local context and used without cooperation or recognition. Despite the potential profitability, this approach threatens to disrupt systems that local farmers have relied on for generations. Are local farmers consulted in the decision-making process, and are new technologies actually designed to suit their needs?

New ideas and technologies are tested without taking into account the desire or knowledge of these farmers. Why is some knowledge considered more “relevant” than others? Certain viewpoints, approaches or solutions that suit the interests of certain dominant groups are prioritized over the needs and knowledge of local communities. Is this a kind of neo-colonial science? I believe that in every scientific idea or research project, or commercial product launch, we must take the voice of local people into account. It is not only the voice of scholars that is important.

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