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Moore K.M.,Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University | Lamb J.N.,Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University | Sikuku D.N.,SEATEC Community Development | Ashilenje D.S.,Manor House Agricultural Center | And 2 more authors.
Journal of Agricultural Education and Extension | Year: 2014

This article investigates the extent of multiple knowledges among smallholders and connected non-farm agents around Mount Elgon in Kenya and Uganda in order to build the communicative competence needed to scale up conservation agriculture production systems (CAPS).Our methodological approach examines local conditions through the analysis of farmers and non-farm agents' perceptions of agricultural norms and practices or technological frames across four sites. Responses to a list of 20 questionnaire items characterizing three ideal types of technological frames (conservation agriculture, conventional modern agriculture, and risk averse agriculture) were analyzed through inter-group comparisons and multiple regression.The findings indicate that there is a fundamental gap between the perspectives framing the knowledge of farmers and those of the service sector/community agents with respect to agricultural production norms and practices. Specifically, agricultural service providers and other community agents are significantly more supportive of conventional modern farming than farmers, and significantly less supportive of mixed crop and livestock farming; however, farmer perspectives also vary across sites.Recognition of multiple knowledges, their relationship to agro-ecologies and the technological frame gap between farmers and non-farm agents is important for effectively negotiating dialog among farm and non-farm knowledge networks.Our exploration of variation in local knowledges provides insights into how individual proclivities, adaptation to the agro-ecology, and a supporting set of network partners contribute to the mindset changes needed for establishing CAPS. © 2014 © 2014 Wageningen University.

Odhiambo J.A.,University of Wyoming | Norton U.,University of Wyoming | Ashilenje D.,Manor House Agricultural Center | Omondi E.C.,1000 E. Uni | Norton J.B.,1000 E. Uni
PLoS ONE | Year: 2015

Weed competition is a significant problem in maize (Zea mays, L.) production in Sub-Saharan Africa. Better understanding of weed management and costs in maize intercropped with beans (Phaseolus vulgaris, L.) during transition to conservation agricultural systems is needed. Changes in weed population and maize growth were assessed for a period of three years at Bungoma where crops are grown twice per year and at Trans-Nzoia where crops are grown once per year. Treatments included three tillage practices: minimum (MT), no-till (NT) and conventional (CT) applied to three cropping systems: continuous maize/bean intercropping (TYPICAL), maize/bean intercropping with relayed mucuna after bean harvest (RELAY) and maize, bean and mucuna planted in a strip intercropping arrangement (STRIP). Herbicides were used in NT, shallow hand hoeing and herbicides were used in MT and deep hoeing with no herbicides were used in CT. Weed and maize performance in the maize phase of each cropping system were assessed at both locations and costs of weed control were estimated at Manor House only. Weed density of grass and forb species declined significantly under MT and NT at Manor House and of grass species only at Mabanga. The greatest declines of more than 50% were observed as early as within one year of the transition to MT and NT in STRIP and TYPICAL cropping systems at Manor House. Transitioning to conservation based systems resulted in a decline of four out of five most dominant weed species. At the same time, no negative impact of MT or NT on maize growth was observed. Corresponding costs of weed management were reduced by $148.40 ha-1 in MT and $149.60 ha-1 in NT compared with CT. In conclusion, farmers can benefit from effective and less expensive weed management alternatives early in the process of transitioning to reduced tillage operations. © 2015 Odhiambo et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

Lamb J.N.,Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University | Moore K.M.,Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University | Norton J.,University of Wyoming | Omondi E.C.,University of Wyoming | And 4 more authors.
International Journal of Agricultural Sustainability | Year: 2016

Participatory approaches to agricultural technology development have not yet fully lived up to their promise to incorporate farmer knowledge. This paper introduces a social networks approach (SNA) to improve participatory research processes for co-innovation. Drawing upon findings from a collaborative project developing conservation agricultural production systems for smallholders in western Kenya and eastern Uganda, the paper explores farmer support networks to improve participation in technological innovation and development. Key research themes include: identifying farmers’ agricultural production networks; the local articulation of agricultural production networks and mindsets; using networks to facilitate meaningful participation in technology development; and disadvantages and advantages of using a social network approach. The introduction of SNA improved participatory research by building external and internal legitimacy for determining who participates, discouraging participatory attrition, and providing a meaningful forum for participation of all stakeholders. As a result, the introduction of SNA is demonstrated to show strong promise for improving processes of participatory technology development in agriculture. © 2015 Taylor & Francis.

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