Partnership with the Farmers Organization

The initial assumptions on the role of the farmers' organization in UruarĂ¡ and Porto de Moz were only partly confirmed. For example, the farmers' organization did have an interest in sustainable development and better management of natural resources. However, the establishment of a common strategy was not achieved. The initial model of strategy-building through the improvement of communication between farmers and researchers was found to be inappropriate. It was not possible to conclude that the choice of the farmers' organization was the most appropriate for PAR on natural resource management on the frontier. Researchers cannot expect that the representatives of farmers' organizations will necessarily state their own priorities and strategies at the beginning of the cooperation. Researchers interested in establishing partnerships with local organizations should bear in mind that from the outset, efforts must be made to identify each organization's critical fields of interest. For example, in the cases discussed here, factors that were important to the farmers' organization but were never explained to the researchers were (1) desire for recognition by the public and by local and national institutions, and (2) backing by the local farmers. Until the researchers finally understood this, they were viewed by farmers as competitors for local and national recognition.

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