Learning and Innovation: Still an Enigma? Failing to Introduce ICM in a Greek Village

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The introduction of innovations in agriculture still seems to puzzle Greek agronomists (whether scientists or extensionists). Following the failure of a project aiming at introducing Integrated Crop Management (ICM) in a Greek village the project is critically reviewed. ICM in this case was taken as, on the one hand, an innovation vis-à-vis intensive cotton monoculture as well as, on the other, an intermediate step towards shifting to organic farming. Through evaluation research, a number of drawbacks is identified. Among them the, despite sustainable rural development rhetoric, top-down and agro-scientific approach as well as the misunderstanding of intervention per se and the multifaceted nature of such projects are identified as crucial ones. It follows that the project implementers failed to conceive of innovation as both a social as well as a technical process, a nonlinear process, and a process of interactive learning; facilitation of the processes of human interaction from which learning emerges was neglected. Nowadays, the village farmers still value some of the recommendations provided during the project and follow them albeit within the existing conventional paradigm. The ICM project’s failure further relates to deficits concerning Higher Education curricula in agronomic studies in Greece.


Keywords: Interactive Learning, Sustainable Innovation, Projects, Extension and Education
Stream: Social Sustainability
Presentation Type: Virtual Presentation in English
Paper: , Learning and Innovation: Still an Enigma?


Dr. Alex Koutsouris

Assistant Professor, Department of Agricultural Economics and Rural Development, Agricultural University of Athens
Athens, Greece

Alex Koutsouris has obtained M(Agr)Sc and PhD degrees in Agricultural Extension & Education and is currently an Assistant Professor in the Dept of Agricultural Economics & Rural Development, Agricultural University of Athens, Greece. His research interests revolve around sustainable rural development focusing on topics such as extension & communication, training & education, agrotourism, project design and evaluation, with emphasis on systemic and participatory approaches. He has published in international journals and conference proceedings on the abovementioned topics, been a co-editor in scientific journals and publications, participated in international projects and served as a member of the boards of relevant scientific societies and international conferences, seminars and meetings.

Ref: S08P0152