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Tropentag, September 14 - 16, 2022, Prague

"Can agroecological farming feed the world? Farmers' and academia's views."

Rural development opportunities through contextual interventions: A systematic review

José Tomás Undurraga

University of Freiburg, Faculty of Environment and Natural Resources, Chair of Silviculture, Germany


Rural development interventions targeting local resource users through classic technical assistance approaches have shown important successes, but have been criticised for being expensive, creating dependency on smallholders, aggravating the gap with poorer families that may become even more marginalised, and destructive to traditional socio-ecological systems. In comparison to the classic technical assistance approach, an alternative to supporting more effectively rural families in tropical agrarian frontiers is to consider the structural constraints that currently limit local opportunities to consolidate and improve their livelihoods. The improvement of such Contextual Elements has the potential to unlock the individual and collective capacities of local resource users for economic and sustainable development. We carried out a systematic literature review of rural development literature to assess what the body of knowledge suggests about the effects of Contextual Elements on local resource users and the possibilities for context-focus interventions. Particularly, this study provides an overview of the diversity and scope of Contextual Element research and knowledge; assesses the methodological quality of the studies on this topic; and identifies and describes qualitatively the economic, social and environmental effects reported in the body of knowledge. Findings suggest that although Contextual Elements literature increased considerably in the last 40 years with a strong focus on governance issues, there are still many blind spots and possibilities for further research, particularly on the effects of education, extension and telecommunications. Rural development literature suggests there are realistic possibilities to effectively promote sustainable impact pathways and to support poor local resource users located in agrarian frontiers in the rural tropics by investments in improved CEs through context-focus intervention approaches.

Keywords: Agrarian frontier, contextual elements, Latin America, rural development, smallholders, sustainable pathways

Contact Address: José Tomás Undurraga, University of Freiburg, Faculty of Environment and Natural Resources, Chair of Silviculture, Stühlingerstrasse 15, 79106 Freiburg Im Breisgau, Germany, e-mail: jose.undurraga.q@gmail.com

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