The introduction of innovations in agriculture still seems to puzzle Greek agronomists (whether scientists or extensionists). Following the failure of a project aiming at introducing Integrated Crop Management (ICM) in a Greek village the project is critically reviewed. ICM in this case was taken as, on the one hand, an innovation vis-à-vis intensive cotton monoculture as well as, on the other, an intermediate step towards shifting to organic farming. Through evaluation research, a number of drawbacks is identified. Among them the, despite sustainable rural development rhetoric, top-down and agro-scientific approach as well as the misunderstanding of intervention per se and the multifaceted nature of such projects are identified as crucial ones. It follows that the project implementers failed to conceive of innovation as both a social as well as a technical process, a nonlinear process, and a process of interactive learning; facilitation of the processes of human interaction from which learning emerges was neglected. Nowadays, the village farmers still value some of the recommendations provided during the project and follow them albeit within the existing conventional paradigm. The ICM project’s failure further relates to deficits concerning Higher Education curricula in agronomic studies in Greece.
|Keywords:||Interactive Learning, Sustainable Innovation, Projects, Extension and Education|
Assistant Professor, Department of Agricultural Economics and Rural Development, Agricultural University of Athens, Athens, Greece
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