This paper deals with the scientific problems of regional agricultural economic research projects conducted in order to realize efficient farming and how to evaluate such research projects by means of economic surveys done in accordance with scientific characteristics. The main components of this paper are as follows: (1) a review of the main research projects involving agricultural economic policy after the year 1960. (2) Topics of agricultural economic research projects in response to recent social needs. (3) How to assess economic research projects to improve agricultural economics.
Recently, as greater expectation is placed on the university, and its social contribution has become a third mission in addition to education and research. The university agriculture and forestry economics instructor can make a significant social contribution. However, there are some problems. To begin with, let us describe their significant social contribution. Until now the agriculture and forestry economics instructor researched regional problems, with the result that their findings have been utilized in the region, with the improved practice of agriculture science amounting to a social contribution. This can also be said of agricultural economic science. On the other hand, there are some problems with the social contribution aspect. When the social contribution is emphasized, field research increases. But then it is no longer international or universal in content. The level of research ends up so specialized that it remains at the local level, where the number of papers is few. To surmount this problem, we first of all need to recognize the characteristic practice of field science in the agriculture sciences. Next, to become a leader in the field, the agriculture and forestry economics teacher needs to contribute to society, and make the evaluation of our research reflect this result.
The purpose of this presentation is to re-evaluate the African peasant world as a new paradigm that can break the impasse in which agricultural and forestry economics is currently mired. The discussion here will focus on two characteristics common to all 20th-century social sciences, including agricultural and forestry economics: (1) the principle of “productivity first”, which is based on the idea of homo economicus; and (2) the state-centered way of thinking. Today, interest in agriculture and rural life is growing rapidly among people all over the world, especially among city dwellers who are keenly interested in food safety and environmental issues. This situation requires that agricultural and forestry economists should formulate new values and ideas. The fact is, however, that most of them are still bound by paradigms of the 20th century: they still cling to the myth of “productivity” and overemphasize the role of the state. Consequently, the gap between the needs of the general public and the interests of agricultural and forestry economists is widening. Thus, in order to fill this gap and to make an actual contribution to society, agricultural and forestry economists must establish a new paradigm that meets the current needs of society. In this context, the African peasant world is worthy of notice. The African peasant world has been always considered as the most backward place on earth. But today it is very important and meaningful to us in that it is one of the few places in the world where the “economy of sharing”, which attaches more importance to social reproduction than to material production, still operates powerfully. In this respect, I believe that the African peasant world will serve as an important frame of reference for agricultural and forestry economists when they try to establish a new paradigm that meets the current needs of society, such as the need for “human development”.