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Mowo J.G.,African Highlands Initiative | German L.A.,Center for International Forestry Research | Kingamkono M.N.,African Farm Radio Research Initiative | Masuki K.F.,African Highlands Initiative
Acta Horticulturae | Year: 2010

This paper reviews a methodology for tracking the pattern and extent of spillover of introduced technologies, using improved banana (Musa spp.) germplasm in Lushoto, Northeast Tanzania, as a case study. Such tracking is important in understanding the factors responsible for the spread of technologies and the accompanying farmer innovations. Spillover of technologies, as used here, refers to the spontaneous flow, or spread, of technologies between farmers using their social networks without external interference. Formal surveys, farmers' records and focus group discussions were used to establish the path taken and distance covered by the technology, the barriers encountered, and modifications made by farmers on the technology. Lessons derived from the study show that farmers made different modifications to the introduced technologies in order to fit them into the existing farming systems. The pattern of spillover is very much related to existing social networks in the community. Kin (nuclear and extended families) accounted for 53% of the spillover of improved banana germplasm, compared to 47% in non-kin (friends and neighbor) social networks. Improved banana suckers, introduced in Lushoto, were found as far as in Dar es Salaam; more than 300 km away. Gender bias was exhibited in the spontaneous sharing of cash generating technologies (cash crops) like banana, with exchanges between women being negligible. This paper highlights the key challenges and lessons, as well as illustrates the application of the findings, in improving delivery of research and extension services.

Masuki K.F.G.,African Highlands Initiative | Mowo J.G.,African Highlands Initiative | Mbaga T.E.,Selian Agricultural Research Institute | Tanui J.K.,African Highlands Initiative | And 2 more authors.
Acta Horticulturae | Year: 2010

Diagnostic surveys conducted in the mountain district of Lushoto, Northeastern Tanzania revealed a decline in banana (Musa spp.) production largely attributed to deteriorating soil health, soil erosion, low adoption of proven banana technologies, and at least partially, due to a lack of innovative scaling out approaches. Further, most farmers were not practicing soil and water conservation (SWC) because it is labor intensive. Focus group discussions and key informant interviews established that improved tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum), cabbage (Brassica spp.) and banana germplasm were the three most preferred technologies, and hence were considered important entry points. The uptake of these technologies was however different. Banana uptake was slowest because of the high cost of planting material. Limited planting materials were supplied by the African Highland Initiative (AHI) for multiplication using primary schools and farmer research groups. Improved banana technology was linked to SWC technologies that included stabilizing the soil by fodder species and increased manure from well-fed livestock to address the multiple constraints of erosion and declining soil fertility. In this paper, entry points refer to interventions addressing priority needs as identified by farmers, while linked technologies refer to integrated, complementary technologies that holistically address multiple constraints, leading to multiple benefits. Results show that in Lushoto, for example, the increase in farmers adopting improved banana germplasm from the original adopters, who were in direct contact with researchers, was about 1,125% within two years. The study shows that the use of innovative scaling out approaches increases the adoption of technologies that appear expensive and less attractive to farmers.

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