Reflections on farmers’ social networks: a means for sustainable agricultural development?

Chaudhuri, Sriroop, Roy, Mimi, McDonald, Louis M. and Emendack, Yves (2021) Reflections on farmers’ social networks: a means for sustainable agricultural development? Environment, Development and Sustainability, 23 (3). pp. 2973-3008. ISSN 1387585X

[thumbnail of EDS2021.pdf] Text
EDS2021.pdf - Published Version
Restricted to Repository staff only

Download (1MB) | Request a copy


Sustainable agrarian development has emerged as a key agenda in many recent global development dialogues, owing to its intimate links with rural development. Agrarian development paradigms, however, mostly root for technocratic solutions (agro-systems’ modernization), overlooking the social dimension (social networking/learning) of agricultural innovation. In view of the above, this refective article summarizes existing worldviews on the role of farmers’ social networking/learning on agrarian development, with special emphasis on India. Cyclic interactions between water (irrigation), food (agriculture) and energy have led to dire socioenvironmental crises (e.g., groundwater depletion, energy shortage, irrigation systems’ failures, food insecurity, livelihood loss, etc.) in India that demands focused policy interventions. Under the circumstances, participatory action via farmers’ social networks provides an efective tool to harnesses resilience. With illustrative examples from India and the world, the study demonstrates that social learning is key to adoption of new paradigms (new technology/crop/cropping methods, etc.). Dissemination of new knowledge/idea is fundamentally keyed to extent of farmer-to-farmer interaction (friendship-/peer-advising network). In the process, the study highlights key barriers to establish functional networks among farming communities. Particular emphasis is laid upon the Water Users’ Association in India, to enumerate growing concerns around farmers’ involvement in Participatory Irrigation Management schemes. Pitfalls in existing network literature are highlighted, ranging from sampling issues to unaccounted efects of “unobservable” variables. The fnal section attempts to outline certain strategic interventions that might be pursued at the policy level to harness social capital. Overall, the study was a plea to the concerned authorities, research bodies and stakeholders in India, to forge substantive collaborations for new knowledge creation in the theory and practice of social
networking/learning and identify contextualized means to integrate them in the development matrix.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: Capacity building | Institutional governance | Participatory action | Social networking | Sustainable agrarian development | Water–food–energy nexus
Subjects: Physical, Life and Health Sciences > Agricultural science
JGU School/Centre: Jindal School of Liberal Arts & Humanities
Depositing User: Mr. Syed Anas
Date Deposited: 31 Dec 2021 09:20
Last Modified: 17 Jan 2022 16:13
Official URL:


Downloads per month over past year

Actions (login required)

View Item
View Item