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Wageningen Universiteit (2007)

Seeing beyond fertiliser trees : a case study of a community based participatory approach to agroforestry research and development in western Kenya

Kiptot, E

Titre : Seeing beyond fertiliser trees : a case study of a community based participatory approach to agroforestry research and development in western Kenya

Auteur : Kiptot, E

Université de soutenance : Wageningen Universiteit

Grade : PhD thesis 2007

Résumé partiel
The thesis explores and describes various processes that take place in the implementation of a community based participatory initiative known as the village committee approach by a collaborative agroforestry programme between the Kenya Forestry Research Institute (KEFRI), Kenya Agricultural Research Institute (KARI) and the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF) which has since 1988 been undertaking soil fertility research to address the problem of nutrient deficiency in smallholder farms within the western Kenya highlands. Over the years, various agroforestry technologies have been developed to address the problem of soil fertility. Issues that this thesis explores in detail are the processes of participatory learning, adoption/adaptation/non-adoption, dissemination and diffusion of the technologies. Overall, the thesis is guided by the technographic approach which makes use of diverse observational and analytical methods and frameworks to arrive at hypotheses about likely mechanisms affecting the operation, transformation or adoption of technological processes. One such framework adapted to the needs of this thesis is the context-mechanism-outcomes configuration (CMOC). This framework rests upon realist assumptions. This study drew upon the qualitative methods used by ethnographers. But some issues to do with learning and adoption were assessed from the perspective of a sampling approach. Attention was paid to the integration of quantitative and qualitative approaches. Multiple sources of data were used, including formal and informal surveys involving structured/semi-structured/unstructured interviews with farmers, in-depth interviews with key informants, case studies, participant observation and secondary data. Findings presented show that the use of the village committee approach was misplaced as the approach assumed that groups are fully appropriate vehicles for technology development and dissemination. The groups did not play a major role in agroforestry dissemination, as was hoped by the programme. This may partly be attributed to the fact that agroforesty as a technology was not high on the agenda of most groups and therefore farmers did not give it much thought. In addition, group formation and success depended on being able to exclude some of the most needy persons through imposing membership requirements, such as fees. The thesis shows that groups work, but only for those who have assets to begin with. This suggests the possibility that wealthier farmers benefit from cooperation only when they can exclude poor resource farmers. Second, agroforestry is apparently treated as a kind of ritual requirement helping groups access assets that really make sense – namely livestock distribution through the pass-on system. The possibility must be faced that agroforestry in western Kenya is valued more as a networking opportunity than as a mechanisms for transforming land management. In short, the context was not thoroughly understood, and unanticipated mechanisms (associated with village power politics) kicked into play, resulting in outcomes that diverged from those intended by the agroforesters.

Mots clés : agroforestry / communities / innovation adoption / soil fertility / participation / farmers / kenya / east africa

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