Sustainable development in marginal areas, especially in those where rural poverty and environmental degradation are interwoven, is a great concern of development agencies worldwide, and much effort is put into development programmes, technology transfer schemes and so on. The problem is particularly acute in China, where increasing regional differences and inequality are eroding governmental poverty reduction efforts and exacerbating ecological crises. This book, based on extensive original research, examines the situation in China, especially in the Loess Plateau of Shaanxi Province. It explores in particular how farmers have organised themselves to initiate technical innovation, and considers communication networks and co-operative mechanisms. It discusses successful self-organisation, and how interfaces with external development agencies and with institutional innovation might be handled, highlighting the potential of farmer innovation initiatives, especially when they are linked with external development and environmental improvement programmes.
'The book is full of interesting observations and ideas and is a fortunate combination of theory and empirical verification. … The author (and his advisors) can be congratulated on a fine piece of work.' - Quarterly Journal of International Agriculture
'The book is a valuable addition to the studies on agricultural extension in China.' - The China Journal
Acknowledgements 1 Introduction 2 Sustainability and farmer innovation in the developing world 3 Marginal areas and marginalisation in rural China 4 Environment and innovation in rural Shaanxi 5 Environmental and development challenges in Zhidan 6 Farmer innovative capacity and communication networks 7 Farmer self-organisation for innovation: cases and model 8 Conclusion: sustainability and farmer innovation in China Appendix 1: Map of fieldwork location Appendix 2: survey map of Zhidan