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Rodenburg J.,Africa Rice Center | Both J.,Wageningen University | Heitkonig I.M.A.,Wageningen University | van Koppen C.S.A.,Wageningen University | And 3 more authors.
Society and Natural Resources | Year: 2012

To contribute to the development of strategies for sustainable agricultural land use and biodiversity conservation in landscapes without formal protection status, we investigated the local use and management of noncultivated plants as important ecosystem functions of inland valleys in south Benin and Togo, and local perceptions on changes in plant biodiversity and causes for these changes. Local users of noncultivated plants perceived agriculture and construction as major factors contributing to the reduction of (noncultivated) plant biodiversity. However, they also collect many useful species from agricultural fields and the village. A small community forest reserve and a 2-ha community garden were the only organized forms of conservation management. Observed ad hoc conservation initiatives were selective harvesting of plant parts, preserving trees during land clearing, and allowing useful weed species in the field. Future development and conservation efforts in unprotected landscapes with multiple ecosystem functions should acknowledge knowledge, interests, and needs of local communities. © 2012 Copyright AfricaRice.

Demont M.,Africa Rice Center | Zossou E.,University of Liege | Zossou E.,Africa Rice Center | Zossou E.,Ghent University | And 5 more authors.
Food Quality and Preference | Year: 2012

In Benin, traditional parboiling is still widely practiced among rice processors, resulting in inferior grain quality. A new parboiler was introduced to improve the milling yield and intrinsic quality of local rice. We conducted Vickrey second price auctions to elicit rural Beninese consumers' willingness to pay for rice obtained through the new parboiler and two locally innovated parboilers. The individual auctions were followed by a group discussion during which consensus was reached on socially acceptable prices. Relative to traditionally parboiled rice, consumers were willing to pay price premiums of 9-13% for rice obtained through a local parboiler using a container of which the bottom is a perforated metal, 27% for rice obtained through a local parboiler using wooden sticks at the bottom of the pot, and 25-34% for rice parboiled through the improved parboiler. Bids were influenced by the presentation order of the products according to perceived quality. Bids were also higher when participants had been informed on the benefits of improved parboiling techniques, which is a crucial insight for developing marketing and communication strategies for this improved quality product. Group bids were not significantly different from individual bids which suggests that the latter are within the range of socially acceptable prices defined through group consensus. © 2011 Elsevier Ltd.

Bentley J.,Agricultural anthropologist | Van Mele P.,Agro Insight
International Journal of Agricultural Sustainability | Year: 2011

Civil servants, agricultural researchers, extension people and media experts often think that videos for farmers need to be filmed locally, so that the audience identifies with the actors. But this is not so. Farmers in southwestern and northern Nigeria reacted to videos on rice seed health (made in Bangladesh), on parboiling (filmed in Benin) and rice cultivation (from Mali). The farmers criticized the videos freely, but their remarks were about the technical pros and cons of the technologies presented in the videos. The farmers had no preference for watching videos featuring West African or Bangladeshi actors. The farmers only cared about the technical content of the film. This is an important, practical conclusion, because it is much easier and cheaper to dub a film into a second language than to film it over again. © 2011 Earthscan.

Chowdhury A.H.,University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna | van Mele P.,Agro Insight | van Mele P.,Africa Rice Center | Hauser M.,University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna
Journal of Sustainable Agriculture | Year: 2011

Sustainable agriculture requires suitable group learning approaches that trigger capital assets building. Drawing mainly on face-to-face extension, methods and approaches used in sustain-able agricultural projects aim at triggering learning and capital assets building. To target and to reach out to a large number of resource-poor households the potential role of media, such as video, has received less attention. In Bangladesh, videos on sustainable rice seed practices were developed with farmers and then shown in multiple villages. This study reports on the contribution of farmer- to-farmer video-mediated group learning to capital assets building of women in resource-poor households. Data were collected using structured interviews with 140 randomly selected women in 28 video villages and 40 women in four control villages in north-west Bangladesh. Video-mediated group learning enhanced women's ability to apply and experiment with seed technologies. It also stimulated reciprocal sharing of new knowledge and skills between them, other farmers and service providers. Rice yields increased by 15%, which improved the women's social and economic status and intra-household decision-making. Over 20% of the households attained rice self-sufficiency, with no changes observed in control villages. This study has provided insights into the potential use of farmer-to-farmer video in sustainable agriculture to strengthen human, social and financial capital and to reduce poverty. © Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.

Bentley J.W.,Agro Insight | Van Mele P.,Agro Insight | Harun-ar-Rashid M.,Agricultural Advisory Society AAS | Krupnik T.J.,International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center
Journal of Agricultural Education and Extension | Year: 2015

Purpose: To describe the results of showing farmer learning videos through different types of volunteers. Design/Methodology/Approach: Semi-structured interviews with volunteers from different occupational groups in Bangladesh, and a phone survey with 227 respondents. Findings: Each occupational group acted differently. Shop keepers, tillage service providers, agricultural input and machine dealers reached fairly small audiences. Tea stall owners had large, male audiences. Non-governmental organisations and community-based organisations, reached more women. The cable TV (dish-line) operators showed the videos on local TV, but some were reluctant to do so again. The Union Information Service Centres showed the videos and reached women viewers. Half of the official government extension agents surveyed also showed the videos publically. Practical Implication: This video featured maize, wheat and rice seeding machinery. Because the machinery is complex and requires hands-on training, this first video aimed to expose tillage and sowing service providers and farmers to the machinery, without trying to teach them how to use it. But some farmers were so interested that they watched the video many times to learn more about the equipment. Before farmers and service providers decide to buy machinery for direct seeding, they still want to see and learn from demonstration plantings, to examine first-hand how the crop behaves when planted with the new equipment. Originality/Value: Video can be an effective way of sharing high-quality information with a large audience, if properly distributed. © 2015 Wageningen University

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