Farmer-led experimentation

Participatory technology testing and adaptation through farmerled experiments

Farmer-led experimentation is a type of action research initiated and carried out by farmers in their own fields. This approach enables farmers to identify technological options suited to local agroecological and socioeconomic conditions. The farmer-led experimentation process is taken up within existing farmer groups. This approach is closely related to the ‘participatory innovation development’ and the ‘participatory technology development’ approaches as discussed in Kolff et al. (2005).


  • The common issues concerning farmers in growing crops include pests and diseases, yield decline, inappropriate crop varieties, and the introduction of new varieties. Rather than technicians providing farmers with ready-made solutions to their problems (that may or may not work), farmer-led experimentation allows farmers to carry out their own trials to try and solve specific problems.


  • Local farmers collectively solving problems by identifying and using the most appropriate local solutions
  • Local farmers designing, testing and disseminating alternative technologies adapted to local conditions
  • Strengthening joint learning by farmers and development actors

WOCAT database reference: QA NEP3

Location: Nepal

Land use: Cropland

Climate: Humid subtropical

Related technology: Improved cattle shed for urine collection (QT NEP1); Legume integration (QT NEP3); Organic pest management (QT NEP4); Improved  compost preparation (QT NEP7); Better quality farmyard manure through improved decomposition (QT NEP8); Improved farmyard manure through  sunlight, rain and runoff protection (QT NEP9); Cultivation of fodder and grasses  (QT NEP23); Urine application through drip irrigation for bitter gourd production  (QT NEP24)

Target groups: Land users

Compiled by: SSMP

Date: May 2007