Stakeholders' perceptions within a farming systems aid project:

Communication among stakeholders within international aid projects has long been recognised as problematic. The authors interviewed five different stakeholders on a Chinese-Australian project to explore whether (a) stakeholders have exclusive worldviews; (b) farmers and donor agencies see farming as a system; and (c) stakeholders can be arranged on a learning spiral, incorporating techno-centric, socio-centric and balanced socio-biological system views. In this sample, the stakeholders had distinct views, with only the donor agency espousing a balanced systemic view. For example, farmers trialling zero tillage were interested in yield advantages but not in the profitability or the possible environmental benefits which motivated other stakeholders. Different perceptions were arranged on a learning spiral which was used as a framework for reflection on the desirability of supplementary steps in the research and development process, particularly involving collective governance, which may create a more inclusive outcome for all stakeholders