Implementation Pathways

A delivery system constitutes a vehicle such as a printed leaflet or a web page which is used to communicate agroecological information to an end-user, such as a farmer (see Delivery systems). However, an implementation pathway is a necessary further step towards achieving an outcome such as a farmer adopting and using an SPP. It usually involves some form of participatory social strategy such as farmer to farmer (“Campesino a Campesino”) which often includes the involvement of “farmer teachers”. 

In this approach, on-farm workshops are often a key part of this approach, promoting an endogenous participatory social strategy, crucial for successful technology adoption by farmers (Lélé, 1991; Altieri and Toledo, 2011; Warner, 2007). Warner (2008) invokes Bruno Latour’s “circulatory system of science” as a theoretical framework for these types of social interactions (Latour, 1999). Such a methodological approach has been used in Central and South America (Altieri et al. 2011), Africa (Khan et al. 2000) and Asia (Altieri et al. 2011; Gurr et al. 2016). When farmers return to their communities after being involved in these on-farm interactions, they take part in ‘horizontal’ participatory meetings (i.e. with peers) where their learned knowledge is propagated. Different authors claim that success in the implementation of different agroecological techniques is due largely to this participative approach (Altieri and Toledo, 2011; Altieri et al. 2011; Amudavi et al. 2009; Holt-Giménez, 2002; Warner 2007). For example, in Kenya, the push-pull procedure, developed by Khan et al. (2000) uses plant odours to ‘push’ pests out of crops and “pull” them into a trap crop (Khan et al. 2011). Currently, 125.000 farmers deploy this agroecological technique (Khan, pers. comm.).

Examples of some implementation pathways used to share scientific advances

  • Farmer to farmer methodology in action. Photo from
  • Peruvian Highlands farmers sharing their knowledge about a Quinoa (Chenopodium quinoa Willd.) cultivation.
  • African farmer showing how to establish Napier grass (Pennisetum purpureum Schumach) in the context of push-pull strategy. Photo: Philemon Orondo / ICIPE.
  • Farmers in Cameroon using a simple tool to create contour lines to reduce soil erosion in tea plantations (Camellia sinensis Kuntze). Photo: CENDEP.
  • A young farmer explaining weed management and crop diversification before crop establishment in southern Chile. Photo: Mauricio G. Chang


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Altieri M, Toledo V, 2011. The agroecological revolution in Latin America: rescuing nature, ensuring food sovereignty and empowering peasants. J. Peasant Stud. 38: 587–612.

Amudavi DM, Khan ZR, Wanyama JM, Midega CAO, Pittchar J, Hassanali A, Pickett JA, 2009. Evaluation of farmers’ field days as a dissemination tool for push-pull technology in Western Kenya. Crop Prot. 28: 225–235.

Gurr GM, Lu Z, Zheng X, Xu H, Zhu P, Chen G, Yao X, Chen J, Zhu Z, Catindig JL, Villareal S, Chien HV, Cuong LQ, Channoo C, Chengwattana N, Lan LP, Hai LH, Chaiwong J, Nicol HI, Perovic DJ, Wratten SD, Heong KL, 2016. Multi-country evidence that crop diversification promotes ecological intensification of agriculture. Nature Plants 2, 16014.

Holt-Giménez E, 2002. Movimiento Campesino a Campesino: The political ecology of a farmers’ movement for sustainable agriculture in Mesoamerica. University of California, Santa Cruz. 267p.

Khan ZR, Pickett JA, van den Berg J, Wadhams LJ, Woodcock CM, 2000. Exploiting chemical ecology and species diversity: stem borer and striga control for maize and sorghum in Africa. Pest Manag. Sci. 56: 957–962.

Khan ZR, Midega C, Pittchar J, Pickett J, Bruce T, 2011. Push-Pull technology: A conservation agriculture approach for integrated management of insect pests, weeds and soil health in Africa. International Journal of Agricultural Sustainability 9: 162-170.

Latour B, 1999. Pandora´s hope: Essays on the reality of science studies. Harvard University Press. Boston. United States. 336p. Sustainable development: A critical review. World Dev. 19: 607–621.

Warner KD, 2007. Agroecology in action: Extending alternative agriculture through social networks, Renewable Agriculture and Food Systems. The MIT Press, Massachusetts, United States.

Warner KD, 2008. Agroecology as participatory science: Emerging alternatives to technology transfer extension practice. Science, Technology and Human Values 33: 754-777.