Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy
Sustainable Agriculture; Sociology
Robert E. Mazur
In recent times, there has been growing interest in adopting the use of innovation platforms (IPs) to facilitate multistakeholder involvement in agricultural research for development. This is based on realization that traditional linear and non-participatory approaches that have been used to generate, promote and disseminate agricultural innovations to end users have shown limited progress in promoting technology adoption. An IP is a network comprised of multiple interdependent stakeholders, often with different backgrounds and goals, who jointly collaborate through interactive learning processes to effectively diagnose a problem and find solutions to the identified problem. However, farmers’ involvement in networks for collective action is not straightforward. Their ability to engage in these networks depends on the anticipation that joining and participating in joint decision-making and implementation will generate benefits that exceed the costs associated with the process of establishment and maintenance of such relationships. This study examined linkages among variations in social capital, motivations to join an IP, smallholder farmers’ participation in various stages of an agricultural research process, access to productive resources, and adoption of integrated soil fertility management (ISFM) practices and technologies.
Data from 324 smallholder bean farmers in Masaka and Rakai districts were collected using a survey and analyzed using SPSS and STATA. Results indicated that farmers are motivated to join an IP by anticipated social and material benefits (e.g., strengthening their social status within their communities, acquiring agricultural inputs such as seed) and economic benefits (e.g., access to better markets and prices for farm inputs, access to high yielding bean varieties). Participation in various stages of the research process is associated positively and significantly with higher levels of anticipated social and material benefits and economic benefits, having a large network size, farmers’ interaction with IP actors living outside their villages, and contact with extension agents.
Farmers’ higher access to farm inputs was influenced by their participation in all stages of the research process (planning, trainings, monitoring and evaluation and finance/marketing). Participation was significant for planning and training across all three types of social networks for market information, but other results were mixed. Relatedly, participation in all but the finance/marketing stage of the innovation process was associated with adoption of more labor-, knowledge- and capital-intensive ISFM practices and technologies.
Based on social capital attributes, the study revealed that having a large network of IP actors with whom to interact during the research process is associated with higher access to marketing information, and adoption of more labor-, knowledge- and capital-intensive ISFM practices and technologies. Interaction with IP actors who reside within the same villages as the farmers and those who reside outside their villages was positively associated with higher access to farm inputs but not with marketing information, and adoption of more labor-, knowledge- and capital-intensive ISFM practices and technologies. Furthermore, farmers’ contact with fellow farmers during the research process was positively associated with higher access to farm inputs but not with marketing information, while contact with extension agents was associated with higher access to marketing information but not with farm inputs, and with adoption of more labor-, knowledge- and capital-intensive ISFM practices and technologies.
Having access to credit, farm inputs, and marketing information was associated with more labor-, knowledge- and capital-intensive practices and technologies adopted, while access to technical information only affected adoption of labor-intensive practices.
Key policy implications include promoting establishment of structures such as IPs that enhance creation of social relations among diverse stakeholders, and enhance smallholder farmers’ ability to mobilize resources necessary to catalyze agricultural innovation and adoption. In instances where farmers have already established networks with local organisations that operate in their communities, building on such existing network structures to establish IPs may significantly contribute to long term sustainability of IPs as network structures which can be used to mobilize other actors and attain agricultural development impact.
Bwambale, Naboth, "Smallholder farmers’ social capital, resource access and adoption of integrated soil fertility management technologies and practices in the Masaka bean innovation platform" (2019). Graduate Theses and Dissertations. 17413.