A study of the emergence, evolution and role of grower groups in Western Australia

Beena Anil Biswas

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

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Abstract

This thesis examines the emergence, evolution and role of grower groups in agricultural research and extension within Western Australia. It attributes the emergence of grower groups to part of a wider set of processes, including the economic restructuring of agriculture and policy shifts that have seen government agencies gradually retreat from the direct delivery of research and extension. It argues that the emergence of grower groups was in part the result of changing views about extension and in particular a move from a model that simply 'transferred' scientific innovations to farmers, to more participatory and inclusive approaches. Collectively, these factors led farmers to 'selforganise' into groups aimed at meeting their own particular research, development and extension needs. This study contends that, from a theoretical perspective, the formation of these grower groups is closely aligned with the notion of a 'community of practice'. To better understand the evolution and role of grower groups, a detailed analysis was undertaken of five case study groups. These were selected on the basis of their geographical coverage and sectoral interests. The study examined the factors leading to the formation of each group, the nature of memberships, types of activities undertaken, modes of learning and the social interactions between members and with external stakeholders.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Publication statusUnpublished - 2012

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