My Meeting Notes

Strengthening Social Science and Policy Research- 24th Annual Conference of AERA was held on 15-17 December 2016 at ICAR – Indian Veterinary Research Institute, Izatnagar, Uttar Pradesh, India

Among the Social Sciences in Agriculture, the field of Agricultural Economics appears to be better placed when we look at the conferences being organized, level of participation, professionalism and continuous improvement in the quality of journals being published.  Dr Mahesh Chander narrates the experience of his participation in the 24th Annual Conference of Agricultural Economics Research Association, India, especially in the Session on Strengthening Social Science and Policy Research.

Dr Mahesh Chander, is Principal Scientist & Head, Division of Extension Education at ICAR – Indian Veterinary

Research Institute, Izatnagar-243 122 (UP) India. Email:



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  • Thanks for circulating report of Dr. Mahesh Chander on his experience of participation in the 24th Annual Conf. of Agri Econ Research Association. I studied the report and was pleased to note from the report that in the Conf. there was stress on involvement of Social Scientists in Agriculture Research. It was my considered view since long that Agri. Res. can be more development supportive if scientists from SOFT and HARD sciences join hands..I wish to draw attention of AESA network members on the following Association / Involvement of Social Scientists, as also of Anthropologists, in Agriculture (crop and animal sciences) research is very useful only if the research is aimed at supporting development and is not purely academic research. However, in majority of cases researchers are not concerned about fate/usefulness to farmers of Products of Research. A Good Research recommendation or Technology is one that is not only Technically sound, Economically beneficial but is also Socially acceptable. I wish Dr. Mahesh Chander would have stressed that involving Sociologists and Anthropologists in Animal Science Research is essential since livestock production is much more influenced by Socio-Cultural aspects than crop production. Such approach in Livestock research was stressed a few decades ago. A good example is Small Ruminant Coordinated Research Project in Latin America taken up in 80s and early 90s (referred as SR–CRSP), supported by USAID and University of Missouri was involved.. A similar approach was taken by scientists of University of Chiapas in Mexico working on Chiapas sheep in late 90s. Reports / papers from these projects are worth referring. International Conf. on Ethnoveterinary Research and Development organized at Pune in 1997 provided good opportunity for scientists from hard and soft sciences to come together and discuss various aspects related to Ethnovet R & D. I am tempted to mention that Sociology background of my late wife (Sangeeta) was very useful in undertaking studies on women in livestock production and understand Perception and Priorities of women (different from men folk) and recommend changes in planning training and extension programs in the BAIF.working on Chiapas sheep. I sincerely wish that National Research Institutes like IARI, IVRI take initiative in changing research paradigm and adopt multidisciplinary approach to demonstrate usefulness of such research for livestock development.

  • A well-written meeting note about a well – organized scientific meeting. I would suggest extension scientists and students to attend conferences organized by IIMs especially Marketing departments (not agri – business management dept) to experience the true professionalism and intellectual experience. The Marketing conferences of IIM, Lucknow and Ahmadabad are of World class – highly competitive abstract selection (including high % of rejection), advance registration prior to publishing abstract/ extended summary book, no transportation to pickup delegates, no entertainment tours, collecting presentations about 15 days in advance and review of all oral presentations and posters, student research mentoring workshops, editor sessions, marketing legends sessions, specialized parallel workshops, few but highly competitive awards, and publishing most papers in high impact journals. Many delegates will get a chance to interact with legends in marketing disciplines, their down-to-earth behavior, highly interactive paper sessions, great venues etc.

  • It is time for change. To make real change in agriculture, social scientists should partner with biological researchers and other stakeholders…..Congratulations Dr. Mahesh Chander, recent times, it is one of the best written meeting notes……Very well structured notes…keep it-up….

  • Thanks a lot for your candid observations and positive feelings on AERA Conference and particularly about the interface between social science research and biological research and working independently is expensive and makes little sense. We have been arguing and working for closer interface but still a long way to go. Your observations and suggestions are encouraging and raise hopes for Achhe Din soon when biological science and social science are considered as two sides of the same coin.