ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Patterns of Rural Mechanisation, Energy and Employment in South Asia: Reopening the Debate

During the 1970s, major policy debates on the role of mechanisation in agricultural and rural development in south Asia took place; by the early 1990s, such debates had largely faded. Yet today, countries such as Bangladesh possess some of the most productive, mechanised and labour-intensive agricultural industries in south Asia. This paper reopens these debates in the light of: (1) the highly diverse patterns of rural mechanisation that have taken place in Bangladesh, India and Nepal since the 1980s; (2) current renewed interest in rural employment and rural economic growth; and (3) changes in global trade patterns.

A Messy Confrontation of a Crisis in Agricultural Science

The 2008 food crisis sets the stage for this paper, which explores the processes involved in the International Assessment of Agricultural Knowledge, Science and Technology for Development. The insights drawn are situated in an historical recognition of the interface between agricultural crises and agricultural knowledge. The paper offers a window on both ongoing debates in agricultural science and the experiences of other recent international assessments of energy, the environment, and climate change. It is concerned with analysing how the iaastd was designed and written, for what it can tell us about the conclusions drawn and controversies raised. The democratic practices underpinning the set of iaastd reports and the integrated approach to agricultural knowledge, science, and technology, commodity production, and environmental and social goals, are central for understanding contemporary debates about agricultural knowledge.

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