Rural barangay transformation and the adoption of agroforestry innovation in the Philippines
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameDoctor of Philosophy
The complexities of human and technical elements involved in rural barangay transformation and the adoption of agroforestry innovations in the Philippines are explored through case studies conducted in Aklan. Seven months' fieldwork was undertaken in 1998 while living in Sibalew, Feliciano and Linayasan, where the Aklan State College of Agriculture (ASCA) introduced demonstration projects. Participatory Rural Appraisal was conducted with locals, staff of ASCA and others to explore social, cultural, political, economic and technical factors, and the changes to rural lifestyles, when demonstration projects were introduced. Qualitative, descriptive analysis compared and contrasted their ideas and opinions. The results are presented in two case studies which identified conditions that hindered the adoption of new technologies. Concentrated development in one area, over a long period, facilitated diversification of farming methods, created new economic activities, built social networks, established institutional alliances and introduced urban lifestyles. The complexity of life increased. However, changes threatened traditional cultural practices and the natural environment. Gender issues and unequal power relations impeded access to and control of resources. For short-term projects, there is an increased likelihood of major obstacles preventing success. Unique barangay features and a variety of economic conditions affected the full participation of locals. The leadership style of local officials and institutional alliances also determined the results of rural development. This research shows how necessary it is to analyse and understand important cultural values, local politics and traditional practices if development programmes are to achieve their real potential. The conclusion of the thesis indicated that successful rural development projects depend on complex elements associated with the cultural practices of locals, the leadership of local officials, and alliances between development institutions and linkage agencies combining in a given social and political situation to advance/impede development. The process of development seeks constantly for new approaches that are appropriate to the needs of locals' social, economic and political conditions, and that suit the geographical location. The changing social and natural environments challenge the current state of rural development in the Philippines.