2020-01-30Zeitschriftenartikel DOI: 10.3390/su12030998
Exploring Farmers’ Perceptions of Agricultural Technologies: A Case Study from Tanzania
The low agricultural productivity of key crops and food insecurity continue to be key issues in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) and Tanzania. The growing population, depleting resources, and changing climate further amplify these issues. Globally, many agricultural technologies (AgTs) are available as pathways for improved agricultural productivity and food security, however, they have had relatively little success in SSA and Tanzania. This is because the uptake of AgTs is a complex process, which is highly localized, involving multiple actors, stages, and spatial and time dimensions. Smallholder farmers often experience issues of sustainability, constraints for adoption, and scaling-up throughout the uptake process of AgTs, all of which vary by region. This indicates a need for a systematic and simultaneous understanding of sustainability, constraints for adoption, and scaling-up of AgTs to better guide agricultural strategy and policy interventions in SSA and Tanzania. Moreover, in order to understand the local settings better, a consideration of the perceptions of the farmers themselves, who are the primary actors in the uptake process of AgTs, is key. Acknowledging this, the study takes on a case study approach, using the scaling-up assessment (ScalA) method and three focus group discussions with a total of 44 smallholder farmers to systematically and simultaneously assess the sustainability, constraints for adoption, and scaling-up of three AgTs (use of fertilizers, improved seeds, and small-scale irrigation) in Tanzania. The study finds that the farmers perceive all three AgTs to be sustainable for the study region. Adoption rates are perceived to be medium for use of fertilizers, high for improved seeds, and low for small-scale irrigation. The most significant constraints for adoption experienced by the farmers are lack of technical physical inputs, marketing facilities, and know-how. Scaling-up is perceived to be well fulfilled for use of fertilizers and improved seeds, but only partially fulfilled for small-scale irrigation, which is the most limited of the three AgTs. The most significant constraints for scaling-up experienced by farmers are a lack of confidence in the added value of the AgTs beyond project activities, marketing facilities, and technical physical inputs. The overall success potential is high for the use of fertilizers and improved seeds, and the average for small-scale irrigation. The farmers’ perceptions partially indicate why the bundle of AgTs is lacking in the study region and provide a basis for discussing targeted agricultural and policy interventions in Tanzania.
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