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Wageningen University (2019)

Farmers’ motivations to adopt agronomic innovations and other livelihood improvement strategies : a case study of smallholder farming systems in the Central Rift Valley and Jimma, Ethiopia

Teeuwen, Aleid

Titre : Farmers’ motivations to adopt agronomic innovations and other livelihood improvement strategies : a case study of smallholder farming systems in the Central Rift Valley and Jimma, Ethiopia

Auteur : Teeuwen, Aleid

Université de soutenance : Wageningen University

Grade : Master of Science (MS) Plant Production Systems 2019

Résumé
To ensure that enough maize will be produced to feed Ethiopia’s rapidly increasing population, the limited adoption of agronomic innovations by smallholder farmers need to be addressed. Despite the focus of agricultural research for development (R4D) on this issue, farmers’ reasons for (not) wanting to adopt agronomic innovations have not been sufficiently understood. Previous research has also not assessed whether farmers’ perceive the agronomic innovations to be superior to other livelihood improvement strategies already known to them. This research addressed this knowledge gap for two innovations, improved fertilization and an increased planting density, introduced by researchers into two regions in Ethiopia, the Central Rift Valley (CRV) and Jimma. Through open ended interviews, this study identifies farmers’ goals, perceived livelihood improvement strategies and factors enabling or constraining implementation of those strategies. On the basis of these findings, a second round of closeended interviews was performed to quantify the performance and advantage of the two innovations. The results revealed that farmers’ most important goals were to increase the food security and living standard of their families. Both strategies applicable to farmers production of maize only, and strategies affecting the entire productivity of their farms (e.g. allocation of maize land to cash crops) were considered to be well aligned with these goals. One of researchers innovations, increasing the planting density of maize, was among those well aligned strategies, but the other, improved fertilizer management, was not. In Jimma farmers’ perceptions of the relative advantage of the innovation may be attributed the many constraints inhibiting farmers from adopting it. In CRV, however, farmers’ poor perception of the performance of increased planting density can probably be attributed to the fact that no response in maize yield to increased planting density was observed. In addition to researchers’ innovations, many other livelihood improvement strategies were identified. Many of these strategies tended to be complementary, which implies that knowledge about farmers perceptions of them is needed to understand farmers adoption decisions. Combined implementation of both maize strategies and wider farm management strategies was put forward as the most promising means for farmers to achieve their goals. Most farmers, however, were not currently able to implement such management changes as they were constrained by their lack of financial capital, labour, knowledge, land and access to good quality inputs. These constraints would need to be addressed through policies or strengthened institutions for farmers to be able to improve their livelihoods.

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Page publiée le 1er novembre 2019