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This study assessed the extent to which participatory methods had been used by CIMMYT, and how the scientists perceived them. Results suggest that participatory approaches at the Center were largely ‘functional’ – that is, aimed at improving the efficiency and relevance of research – and had in fact added value to the research efforts. The majority of projects surveyed also placed emphasis on building farmers’ awareness. This is understandable if we think that the limiting factor in scientist-farmer exchange is the farmers’ limited knowledge base. Thus, in situations such as marginal areas and in smallholder farming, exposure to new genotypes and best-bet management options would be a first requirement for effective interactions and implementation of participatory approaches.

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