Technical ReportPDF Available

Why Low Adoption of Agricultural Technology

  • Centre for African Bio-Entrepreneurship
  • Future Agricultures Consortium / TEGEMEO Institute of Agricultural Policy and Development
Association for Strengthening Agricultural
Research in Eastern and Central Africa (ASARECA)
Why the low adoption of agricultural
technologies in Eastern and Central Africa?
Prepared by
Hannington Odame, Leonard Haggai Oduori, Lydia Kimenye, Charity Kabutha, and
Dawit Alemu
Centre for African Bio-Entrepreneurship
Tel: +254(0)20-600040
Cell phone: +254724226893
21 October 2011
Table of Contents
1. Introduction.............................................................................1
1.2 Objectives of the study............................................................ 2
2. Background............................................................................3
2.1Overview................................................................................ 3
2.2.Technology adoption trends in ECA 4
2.3 The study rationale 5
3.1Analytical framework 6
3.2 Prioritized enterprises/ technologies 8
3.3 Methods of data collection and analysis 8
4.1. Causes of poor / lack of adoption 11
4.2 Conclusion 27
5.1 Overview 28
5.2 High Adoption of Upland Rice in Yunnan Province, China 28
5.3 The success of conservation agriculture in Zambia 30
6.1. Agro-ecological targeting based on politics, ecology and commodity 32
6.2.Promote market linkages and commercialisation of enterprises 32
6.3. Promote linkages with finance institutions to ease access to credit...33
Appendix 1: List of key informants 43
Appendix 2: List of FGD participants 47
Appendix3: List of participants at the validation workshop, 29 August 2011.....53
List of Tables and Figures
List of Tables
Table 1: Select countries and technologies ............................................. ..................... ............ 15
Table 2: Key activities, actors and challenges in the maize Longe seed supply chain ............. 16
Table 3: SWOT analysis of the Banana technology adoption ................................................... 17
Table 4: Key problems, root causes and solutions for low adoption of bananas ....................... 17
Table 5: Access to Production Inputs Increases Women’s Productivity .................................... 30
List of Figures
Figure 1: Analytical Framework ................................................................................................ 14
Figure 2: Rating of technology targeting ................................................................................... 20
Figure 3: Performance rating of seed systems in ECA ............................................................ 21
Figure 4: Percentage rating of extension performance client/farmer targeting.......................... 24
Figure 5: Percentage ranking of access to markets .................................................................. 33
List of Boxes
Box 1: Case of Cassava in DRC: Technology Appropriateness and Markets Trigger High Adoption 22
Box 2: Case of Maize in Ethiopia: Ceating Enabling Environment in Maize technology Adoption23
Box 3: Case of Vegetables in Sudan: Beyond resource potential and private individual efforts in the
.................................................................................................................................... 28
Box 4: Case of Vegetables in Sudan ........................................................................................ 29
Box 5: Case of ZeroGrazing in Kenya: Technology Appropriateness, Targeting and Market of the 32
Box 6: New Rice for Africa (NERICA) .............................................. ..................... ................... 37
Box 7: Challenges and Lessons learned .................................................................................. 39
This report is a joint effort of consultants working under the auspices of the Nairobi-based Centre for
African Bio-Entrepreneurship (CABE). The Association for Strengthening Agricultural Research in
Eastern and Central Africa (ASARECA) contracted CABE to conduct a regional study on why there has
been very little or no adoption of available proven agricultural technologies by potential users in
countries of the sub-region, and to recommend how adoption can be enhanced. The report would not
have been possible without the support of several individuals and organisations.
We deeply appreciate the ASARECA Secretariat, especially the Deputy Executive Director, Dr Eldad
Tukahirwa, for entrusting us with this assignment. Special thanks go to Lydia Kimenye, Programme
Manager, Knowledge Management and Up Scaling (KMUS), for her technical guidance and
administrative support during this assignment. We also thank Itaza Muhirwa, Procurement and
Contracting Officer, for ably facilitating the contract.
We appreciate the ASARECA focal persons for their guidance in selecting both illustrative technologies
in the value chains of four commodity/enterprise clusters (viz. natural resource management, staples,
high-value crops, livestock) and the national resource persons in the study countries: Democratic
Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Kenya, Sudan and Uganda. Here special mention goes to Thomas
Mondjalis-Poto (Institute National Pour L’etude et la Recherche Agronomique , INERA ), Ahmed Eshetu
(Ethiopian Institute of Agricultural Research ), Peter Wandera (Kenya Agricultural Research Institute,
KARI) and Regina Musaazi (National Agricultural Research Organization (NARO) for their planning and
logistical support, and for participating in our meetings. In addition, we thank the national resource
persons in the five countries for working under tight time schedules to review literature, set up
appointments with key informants and organise focus group discussions. These persons include:
Faustine Nseye Mara (INERA), Makonnen Sime (EAIR), Charles Waturu (KARI-Thika), Innocent Kariuki
(KARI-Muguga), Afaf Elgozouli (Ministry of Agriculture, Sudan), Alawia Hassan (Agricultural Research
Corporation (ARC), and Losira Nasirumbi Sanya (NARO). We also thank the key informants and
participants of FGDs in the five countries for their valuable insights on why there is low adoption of
available proven agricultural technologies by potential users.
We acknowledge the tremendous efforts of Leonard Haggai Oduori of CABE Secretariat who was
instrumental in reviewing broader literature on technology adoption in ECA, preparing the checklist to
guide fieldwork and analysing information received from the study countries. He also participated in
preparing and revising this report.
We are grateful for the support of our colleagues in CABE, in particular Elosy Kangai Mathiu for
bringing together the study team and preparing the initial proposal for ASARECA, and Dr. Oscar
Okumu for providing technical and administrative support to the team. The consultants are greatly
indebted to the participants of the validation workshop for their comments and contributions, and
especially their recommendations for enhancing technology adoption in the region. Finally, we thank
Robert Watt of Institute of Development Studies/Sussex for an excellent review of the draft report.
However, we bear full responsibility for its content.
AfDB African Development Bank
AHLI Animal health and livestock institutes
ASARECA Association for Strengthening Agricultural Research in Eastern and Central Africa
AIS Agricultural Information Systems
CABE Centre for African Bio-Entrepreneurship
CIMMYT International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center
CIRAD Centre de Cooperation International en Recherché Agronomique pour le
CMD Cassava mosaic disease
EIAR Ethiopian Institute of Agricultural Research
ECA Eastern and Central Africa
FAO Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
FDRE Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia
FGD Focus group discussion
GTZ German Technical Cooperation
IFDC International Fertilizer Development Center
IITA International Institute for Tropical Agriculture
INERA Institute for Study and Agronomic Research
IRRI International Rice Research Institute
MAAIF Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries
MDG Millennium Development Goal
NARO National Agricultural Research Organisation
NARS National agricultural research systems
NGOs Non-governmental organisation
NRM Natural resource management
NRP National resource person
QPM Quality protein maize
SAARI Serere Agricultural and Animal Research Institute
SECID South-East Consortium for International Development
SIDA Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency
R4D Research for development
USAID United States Agency for International Development
VCA Value chain analysis
Executive summary
For several years the Association for Strengthening Agricultural Research in Eastern and Central Africa
(ASARECA) has supported research for technology development implemented by national agricultural
research systems (NARS) within the Eastern and Central Africa (ECA) sub-region. These projects have
generated and promoted demand-driven, proven technologies and innovations for uptake by end users.
But most of these technologies have had very little or no adoption and impact. The purpose of this
study was to identify, analyse, establish and, where possible, engender the underlying causes for the
poor adoption, provide examples of successful and best practices on dissemination and out-scaling
approaches from adoption case studies, and recommend strategic interventions that may address the
causes identified for the poor adoption.
The ASARECA member countries covered were Ethiopia and Sudan (representing northern Africa),
Kenya and Uganda (representing east Africa), and Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC; representing
francophone and central Africa). The consulting team engaged NARS in the selected countries to
prioritise technologies using four commodity/enterprise clusters: natural resource management
(chemical fertiliser, organic farming and minimum tillage); staples (cereals—maize, sorghum and
millet—and tubers—cassava, potato, sweet potato and cooking bananas); high value crops (fruits,
vegetables, beans and peas); and livestock (dairy, beef and poultry).
The following selection in each country was based on the importance of the enterprises to the national
economy and available proven technologies along a given enterprise value chain:
DRC: Organic farming (NRM), cassava (staple root-crop), beans (high-value crops) and
beef (livestock).
Ethiopia: Lime and chemical fertilisers (NRM); hybrid maize (staple cereals), pulses—
haricot beans and chick pea (high-value crops); and dairy (livestock).
Kenya: Chemical fertilisers (NRM); hybrid maize (staple cereals), vegetables and tomato
(high-value crops); and dairy (livestock).
Sudan: Chemical fertilisers (NRM); hybrid maize (cereal for livestock feed); vegetables—
okra and onions (high-value crops); and dairy (livestock).
Uganda: Conservation agriculture—minimum tillage (NRM); maize - Longe series, cooking
bananas (staple cereal); dessert bananas (high-value crops); and Saari chicken (livestock).
The analytical framework brought together three approaches: 1) adoption models with a cognitive (or
sense-making) lens as the basis of this study; 2) a value chain analysis, to identify the position of
technology in the enterprise chain, the actors involved and their roles and linkages in technology
delivery; and 3) an agricultural innovation systems as the organising framework. This ensured that the
micro-level adoption factors for selected technologies were put in context and linked with the main
macro adoption issues, especially the political economy of commodities, market and service delivery
infrastructure, gender-based constraints, policy and institutional environment. These approaches
helped us elicit, categorise and prioritise main root causes of low adoption of the selected technologies
from which strategic recommendations were derived.
Important insights on the root causes of poor adoption and limited out-scaling of successfully adopted
technologies/innovations came from primary data collected from key informants covering policy experts,
technical personnel in the ministries of agriculture and livestock, focus group discussions (involving
farmers, traders and researchers) and review of literature. The analysis leads to the conclusion that
apart from the micro-level factors of adoption (related to farm systems, farmer characteristics and
preferences), which have been studied and addressed over time, there are major macro-level factors
responsible for low adoption. These factors are related to the performance of the technologies, their
delivery and management mechanisms, access to extension and other support services,
commercialisation of commodities (market systems), gender-based constraints and the overall policy
and institutional processes responsible for creating an enabling environment for adoption.
The following key messages were enriched by comments and contributions of researchers, technical
personnel from ministries, farmer representatives and private extension organisations, and by
participants at the validation workshop, especially on how to enhance technology adoption in ECA.
Further, we drew international lessons from successful technology adoption stories of upland rice
varieties in China, and zero tillage practice in Zambia.
Key messages
1. Improve technology performance by appropriately aligning technology attributes with end-
user preferences that take into account socio-economic and agro-ecological conditions. This
requires well-crafted, enterprise-specific policies that are synchronised with micro and macro factors
that enhance technology adoption, and are backed by media/information communication technologies
(ICT) to facilitate participation and engagement. The successful promotion of upland rice in Yunnan
Province of China demonstrates the importance of agro-ecological targeting of technology, and macro-
economic support.
2. Urgent institutional reforms are necessary to promote the efficiency and effectiveness of
technology delivery systems. Success in adopting commodities with an assured market is
demonstrated by the dairy sector in Kenya and the successful promotion of zero tillage in Zambia. All
players in the extension service need to learn soft skills that motivate competitiveness such as working
habits, practices, trust, empathy, dedication and sacrifice. Process audit systems that can help develop
metrics to measure service efficacy and results are needed.
3. Adopting comprehensive gender-mainstreaming strategies is a prerequisite for effectively
addressing gender-based constraints which undermine adoption and productivity of agricultural
technologies. Some of the countries, for example, DRC and Sudan, have no mechanisms to
mainstream gender in research. However, some effort exists in extension, albeit not very strong. Efforts
to mainstream gender in the other three countries are inadequate, largely focusing on gender
capacities, but with limited attention to other key gender-mainstreaming pillars such as overall support
and commitment by leadership, accountability necessary to hold all actors responsible for gender
mainstreaming, and a gender-responsive organisational culture. To overcome this situation,
organisations must develop and adopt comprehensive gender-mainstreaming strategies that
incorporate the four pillars—commitment, capacity, accountability and a facilitating culture. Some
technologies like zero tillage reduce the drudgery in farming and if the environment is conducive will be
well-received in other countries in Africa just as they have been in Zambia.
4. Commercialisation of enterprises through vertical integration that promotes interaction for
knowledge sharing can create the impetus needed for technology adoption. Market structures,
ICT platforms and Internet access need to be developed to create room for price incentives to attract
new technology adopters. In ECA, the value chain framework is only partially developed, except in the
dairy sector in Kenya where notable success has been achieved. Coordinating all actors in the chain
(cf. disaggregated farmers) is the major weakness. Therefore, commercialisation requires incentives for
increased production, good marketing infrastructure for aggregation, and development of the cold
chain. Increased vertical integration and franchising product marketing supported by credit from
financial institutions can spur adoption.
5. Governments in ECA need to strengthen the enabling policy environment. The influence of
political power in enterprise policy design should not be overlooked since smallholders are fragmented
and lack lobbying power to influence enterprise-specific policy and to promote technology linked to
marketing systems. Thus, there ought to be deliberate policies that coordinate activities of farmers and
promote their collective action such as those cited in the success of upland rice in Yunnan Province.
Political space is necessary to lobby for technology support and marketing infrastructure, insurance,
extension, use of ICT in technology promotion and adoption, as reflected in the zero tillage farming in
Zambia. In ECA, for example, the capacity for seed distribution, especially for staples and livestock
pasture, is inadequate mainly because the distributors (agro-dealers) are concentrated in urban centres
and supportive infrastructure such as roads and properly equipped storage facilities is poor. Some
countries have strong seed regulatory systems while others have limited regulatory frameworks, leading
to poor-quality seed. In this respect, harmonising and rationalising seed policies championed by
ASARECA, which have had positive consequences in some countries, should be fast-tracked in all
1. Introduction
The role of agricultural technology in growth and poverty reduction has been broadly discussed, in
particular for low-income African countries (Diao et al. 2007). Sub-Saharan Africa is the only region in
the world where poverty is still strongly a rural phenomenon, where undernourishment has been
increasing over the past 20 years and where those living on less than $1 a day have become poorer
(World Bank 2005c). This weak economic performance is closely linked to low technology adoption
which slows productivity growth in the agriculture sector (Wolgin 2001, Mwambu et al. 2004, Byerlee et
al. 2005, Diao et al. 2006; Christiansen et al. 2007). The recent crisis in world food prices further
highlights the urgent need to significantly improve the agricultural performance of African countries.
Food insecurity is a major problem in sub-Saharan Africa despite concerted efforts by donors and
scientists to promote technology adoption. The prevalence of food energy deficiency among the
populations of some of the study countries ranges from 37% in Uganda to 76% in Ethiopia (Smith et al.
2006). Problems of diet quality associated with the region’s high rates of micronutrient deficiencies are
Much emphasis is placed on technology as a prime mover of enhancing agricultural productivity that
improves food security and human welfare. Yet, according to Hall et al. (2009), evidence suggests that
agricultural research has largely failed to make its promised contribution to social and economic
development. Furthermore, research-led technology transfer has been ineffective in bringing about
innovation. Scientists have generated a plethora of technologies, which, unfortunately, continue to
gather dust on the shelves of national agricultural research organisations. Hence, improvements in
human welfare in sub-Saharan Africa remain elusive. Part of the solution lies in paying greater attention
to socio-economic perspectives, including gender-based constraints. Empirical evidence from Burkina
Faso, Kenya, Tanzania and Zambia shows that allocating land, labour, capital and inputs (fertiliser)
equally could increase production by between 10% and 20% (Blackden et al 1998)).1 The Asian and
Latin American approaches to technology delivery and adoption are reported to have strong enabling
policy by governments, high investment in research and infrastructure, and public and private
collaboration among stakeholders. The success of zero tillage in Zambia and upland rice in Yunnan
Province of China (see Chapter 5) demonstrates this commitment.
ASARECA views improved delivery, uptake and adoption of scientific knowledge, technologies and
innovations and providing policy options as powerful instruments for the sub-region’s agricultural
systems to contribute to improved food security and growth in agricultural production. This is in line with
the objectives of the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP), which
targets a 6% annual rate of growth in agricultural productivity by 2015, and is also in line with the
Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) of halving the number of hungry by 2015. The most current
FAO State of Food and Agriculture Report2(FAO, 2011) emphasises that gender inequality is one of the
reasons agriculture in developing countries is under-performing, and recognises the reinforcing nature
of MDG 1 (Poverty and food security) and MDG 3 (Gender equality).
Agricultural technology adoption in sub-Saharan Africa has been widely studied. However, most of the
studies have focused on micro factors related to farm resource and farmer characteristics, farm
systems, market-related factors, and variables related to access to services (Kaliba et al. 1998, Tesfaye
et al. 2001, Abay and Assefa 2004, Tura et al. 2010). Similarly, farmer preferences as factors that
significantly influence the decision to adopt have been considered in some studies (Adesina et al. 1997,
Sally et al. 2000, Alemu and Mamo 2007). Although these micro-level adoption studies have identified
important factors, their macro-level application to spur adoption has been limited because they cannot
1 Blackden and Bhanu (1999); Blackden and Bhanu (1998). Gender, Growth and Poverty Reduction: Special
Program of Assistance for Africa, Status Report on Poverty in the Sub-Saharan Africa.
2 FAO. 2011. State of Food and Agriculture: Women in Agriculture-Closing the Gender Gap for Development.
address important political economy issues (Doss 2005). In the context of agricultural innovation
systems (AIS), these adoption studies have focused on the technology (product) per se with limited
consideration of processes, marketing systems and institutions (Knickel et al. 2008).
This study sought to establish why most of the available proven technologies have very low or no
adoption and impact by looking into technology adoption from a systems perspective—involving AIS
along with value chains—to bring together the micro-level adoption factors with the main macro
adoption issues. In other words, we sought to establish the macro foundation of the micro factors of low
technology adoption.
The strength and configuration of bridging institutions across ECA is a product of past and existing
political economy forces that determined erstwhile policy formulation and implementation. The study
provides ASARECA and its stakeholders with a better understanding of why the technologies and
innovations are not widely adopted by intended users. It also provides recommendations for improving
adoption rates, including some best practices and promising approaches and methods for scaling-up
adoption of technologies and innovations in the ECA sub-region.
1.2 Objectives of the study
The overall objective of this study was to establish the factors constraining adoption of the available and
proven agricultural technologies by potential users in ECA, and to recommend how adoption can be
enhanced. The specific objectives were:
1.2.1. Identify, analyse and establish the causes of the poor and/or lack of adoption and scaling out of
the available proven technologies and innovations in ECA.
1.2.2. Provide analysed examples of best practices including case studies of dissemination and scaling-
out approaches, and methods relevant and applicable to ECA that have resulted in high levels
of adoption.
1.2.3. Recommend strategies that may improve dissemination, adoption and scaling out of proven
technologies and innovations.
This report is organised as follows. Chapter 2 provides the background information to the study while
Chapter 3 presents the methodological approach and overview of the country studies. The syntheses of
findings with both successful and unsuccessful country case studies are presented in Chapter 4; and
illustrative successful adoption stories from China and Zambia are highlighted in Chapter 5. Chapter 6
provides conclusions and recommendations of the study.
2. Background
2.1 Overview
The main reasons for low productivity in sub-Saharan Africa are dependence on rain-fed agriculture,
diverse food crops of low hectarage, poor infrastructure (markets, roads, water and electricity), policy
discrimination against agriculture, low investment in technology, and gender-based constraints that
reduce technology adoption and effective management. In most societies, women tend to have a
limited asset base with regard to land, incomes, knowledge and overall decision-making compared to
men. These gender disparities directly and indirectly limit economic growth, productivity and welfare
(Blackden et al 1998). Many resources have been invested in developing agricultural technologies that
increase yields of crops and livestock. Key among these are new crop varieties, agronomic practices,
disease and pest control techniques and natural resource management techniques. New varieties of
crops number more than 8000 (World Bank 2008) and improved breeding methods for livestock such
as artificial insemination, embryo transfer technology and feed formulation are also available. However,
these productivity-enhancing technologies have not been adopted as expected, as reported by World
Bank (2008) and reflected in statistics in the various ASARECA countries.
ASARECA is a regional body comprising the national agricultural research organisations (NAROs) of
the 11 member countries: Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Ethiopia, Eritrea, Kenya,
Madagascar, Rwanda, Sudan, Tanzania and Uganda. The Association aims to overcome the
challenges facing agriculture and overall regional development by developing and implementing
strategic priorities that cut across national boundaries. ASARECA serves as an avenue for
strengthening agricultural research and relations between NAROs and international agricultural
research systems. Its vision is “to be a regional leader in agricultural research and development for
improved livelihoods in Eastern and Central Africa”. The ASARECA mission is “to enhance regional
collective action in agricultural research for development, extension and agricultural training and
education to promote economic growth, fight poverty, eradicate hunger and enhance sustainable use of
resources in Eastern and Central Africa (ECA)”.
This study covers 5 of the 11 member countries of ASARECA: DRC, Ethiopia, Kenya, Sudan and
Uganda, where between 1997 and 2011 ASARECA has supported the development and dissemination
of agricultural technology in collaboration with the respective NAROs. Scientists in the national
agricultural research systems (NARS) in the region have developed available and proven technologies.
This study focuses on the poor adoption of these technologies for staples, high- value crops, livestock
and natural resource management (NRM). It uses a SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and
threats) analysis in a value chain framework with gender and cognitive (sense-making) lenses to elicit
constraints in representative enterprises for the four clusters selected. The value chain framework is
used as an organising tool to analyse actors and their roles in the three domains of the innovation
systems—agricultural knowledge, agribusiness and bridging institutions.
NARS representatives selected enterprise clusters based on the enterprise’s importance in the national
economy and agro-ecological zones, and predominance among small-scale farmers. The staples
cluster used maize, rice and cooking bananas; the high-value crops cluster entailed domestic
vegetables; the livestock cluster analysed dairy and beef cows and indigenous chicken; and chemical
fertilisers, organic farming and minimum tillage represented the NRM cluster.
2.2. Technology adoption trends in ECA
According to expert opinion from the ministries of agriculture and livestock, in both Kenya and Uganda
adoption of dairy technologies is less than 20%, of hybrid maize 40–70%. Adoption of high-value
domestic vegetables and NRM technologies remains below 20% and is mainly confined to high-
potential areas. The development of new seed technologies for maize, tomato, onion and cabbage has
raised productivity. Maize yields now average 1.7 t/ha, (Mbwika 2006), and tomato 10–40 t/ha.
The dairy sector has continued to improve because farmers have adopted better breeds and are using
artificial insemination (AI) in breed selection. Among the countries studies, Kenya is leading in dairy
productivity followed by Sudan, as reflected in the increase in numbers of dairy animals among
smallholders in the last 20 years. The main breeds adopted were Friesian and Guernsey which
accounted for 62% (Bebe et al. 2003), and Jersey and local crosses at 22%.
In DRC most farmers do not have access to improved varieties of common beans, groundnut, soybean,
cassava, banana, sweet potato, maize and sorghum. Decline in soil fertility and high levels of soil
erosion were ranked as the first and second major problems affecting agricultural productivity
(Kasereka 2003) in South Kivu. Every year an estimated 80 kg/ha of nitrogen, phosphorus and
potassium nutrients are lost from the soil in eastern DRC where farming is concentrated (Vandamme
2008). Soil fertility improvement and conservation techniques are limited to the use of simple practices
such as crop rotation, incorporating crop residues into soil, mulching, and applying compost, kitchen
ash and manure (Lunze 2000). Adoption of fertiliser has been reported to be at 32–52% across the
different agro-ecological zones of ECA. Moreover, manure has been in short supply following the
decline in livestock populations in South Kivu in DRC (Lunze 2000).
Use of fertiliser in sub-Saharan Africa has stagnated at very low levels largely because of poorly
developed produce markets and high farm input prices. This is one of the main reasons for the region’s
low agricultural productivity relative to Asia. On average, sub-Saharan African farmers must sell about
twice as much grain as Asian and Latin American farmers to purchase a kilogramme of fertiliser, given
its high price. Low volumes, high prices, high transport costs, and undeveloped private input markets
are major barriers to fertiliser use in sub-Saharan Africa.3 Soils are degraded as a result of a
combination of shorter fallows periods, expansion to more fragile land driven by rapid population
growth, and low use of fertiliser in the region. About 75% of the farmland is affected by severe mining of
soil nutrients (World Bank 2006). This problem is acute in areas with high population density that has
reduced land sizes; high soil erosion and mono-cropping is common. For example, the estimated
annual productivity loss in the Ethiopian highlands from soil degradation is equivalent to 3% of
agricultural GDP a year (Berry 2003). Clearly the decline in soil fertility is one of the main reasons for
sub-Saharan Africa’s low yields; reversing it must therefore be a high priority.
To reduce risks and increase profitability, Asia provided credit, support prices and input subsidies to
farmers. In sub-Saharan Africa, governments intervened heavily in markets through price and
movement controls which denied farmers remunerative prices for farm produce. Although Kenya,
Malawi, Zambia and Zimbabwe initiated maize-based revolutions using hybrid seed and fertiliser, the
programmes have been difficult to sustain due to high marketing costs, fiscal drain and frequent
weather shocks (World Bank 2008). Negative macroeconomic policies and much lower public
investment in agriculture than in Asia have also reduced incentives to private agents and limited the
supply of public goods such as research and development (R&D), irrigation water, electricity and roads.
2.3 The study rationale
Technology adoption is touted as a key ingredient in efforts to reduce hunger and extreme poverty in
Africa. However, these efforts have not borne fruit since food insecurity and poverty levels remain high
while unemployment has continued to rise. Donor funding for technology development and
dissemination may dry up if results cannot be seen in improved and more secure livelihoods and
increased sustainability in agricultural production. This study was commissioned to identify the
underlying causes of low technology adoption in order to help stakeholders and ASARECA develop
better strategy and to scale-out technologies.
3. Methodology
3.1 Analytical framework
The analytical framework brings together three approaches: 1) adoption models which were the basis of
this study (the adoption studies for prioritised technologies in ECA showed both low and high adoption
rates which allowed identification of the successful and missing elements of technology); 2) value chain
analysis (VCA) of given agro-enterprise/commodity cluster was used as an organising tool to track the
stages of the technology, actors and their roles, and links in technology delivery and use; and 3)
innovation systems approach, which complemented the VCA, emphasises going beyond a narrow
focus of the attributes of productive technologies to encompass ‘innovation systems’. The main
“qualitative” elements of innovation systems are actors, their roles and linkages, and interactions of
producers and users of technologies and mediating institutions (Hall 2006). This social process is
underpinned by sense-making issues including gender inequalities and subsequent gender-based
constraints, and enabling environment.
Most studies on adoption of agricultural technology have so far focused on factors related to farm
resources and farmer characteristics—education, age, gender, wealth, farm size, labour, credit, tools,
etc.; farm systems—cropping system, soil type, climate, etc.; market-related factors—risk, output
market, storage, input market, information, etc.); and variables related to access to services—access to
credit, membership in cooperatives (Kaliba et al. 1998, Tesfaye et al. 2001, Abay and Assefa 2004,
Tura et al. 2010). Similarly, farmer preferences for technology-specific characteristics as factors that
significantly influence the decision to adopt have been considered in some studies (Adesina et al. 1997,
Sally et al. 2000, Alemu et al. 2007). These micro-level adoption studies have identified important
factors, but their macro-level applicability for improved adoption has been a challenging task as they
cannot address important macro issues like policies, institutions, infrastructure and the dynamics of
technology adoption (Doss 2005). In addition, within the context of an agricultural innovation system
(AIS), these adoption studies have focused on the technology (product) per se—including improved
variety, breed or practice—with limited consideration to processes, marketing systems, institutions—
technological, social, and organisational (Knickel et al. 2008).
This study looked into technology adoption from an AIS perspective along the value chains of selected
enterprises/commodities to ensure that micro-level adoption factors are analysed within the main macro
adoption or systems framework (Figure 1). The essential elements within an innovation system are: 1) a
knowledge and education domain; 2) a business and enterprise domain; and 3) bridging institutions that
link the two domains (Spielman et al. 2008). The knowledge and education domain consists of
agricultural research and education systems. The business and enterprise domain comprises a set of
value chain actors and activities that use outputs from the knowledge and education domain, and
innovate independently. Linking these domains are the bridging institutions—extension services,
political channels and stakeholder platforms—that facilitate the transfer of knowledge and information
between the domains. These domains are supported by enabling public policy and institutional
environment (Spielman et al. 2008). The adapted analytical framework in Figure 1 also provides an
additional supportive domain of resources including ecology, climate, land, capital and human
Publicpolicies &Institution(informalinstitutions‐ practices,behaviours,attitudes;
and Organisations–culture,learning,orientation communicationpractices)
AgriculturalResearch and
EducationSystems AgriculturalVal u e Chain
Agricultural Research
•Public sector
•Civil society
Consu mers
Resource s
Agricultural Producers
Political Channels
Stakeholder Platforms
Agricultural Extens ion
•Public sector
•Private sector
•Civil society
Source: adapted from Spielman and Birner (2008).
Figure 1: Analytical framework.
Gender and other social dimensions have not been well-integrated into the technology adoption models
(Okali 2011), which confines the analysis to technical and economic dimensions. Excluding social
dimensions in the generation, delivery and use of technologies creates a major false start.
Doss (2005) gives three micro-level reasons why farmers do not adopt improved technologies:
The first reason is simply that they are not aware of them, or that they are not aware that the
technologies would provide benefits for them. Farmers may also have misconceptions about
the costs and benefits of the technologies. Negative or positive conceptions arise from the
technological frames (terminology coined to reflect perception among actors) that influence
actor’s technical choices, according to Kaplan et al. (2008).
Second, the technologies are not available or are not available at the times that they would be
Third, the technologies are not profitable given the complex sets of decisions that farmers are
making about how to allocate their land and labour across agricultural and non-agricultural
activities. Also, gender-based constraints act as a powerful force against adoption of
technologies. Women’s typically lower asset base and more limited control over benefits act as
major deterrents to adoption (World Bank 2001).
Researchers’ beliefs about the technology embodied in their evaluation routines influence technical
choices (Garud et al. 1994) and this affects their interactions with end users. The interactions among
the various actors may eventually construct a collective frame (Porac et al. 2001) and in the process
influence the direction of technology evolution. There is need to attain a dominant frame or popular
language of framing a given technology from all the competing technological frames harboured by the
actors in the innovation system for successful adoption. This is because a technology that is much
discussed using favourable terminology finds reception easily among the actors in the innovation
system. The multiple directions of arrows in Figure 1 show the necessary interactions among actors.
The presence and prominence of multiple actors in technology production and delivery in a given
country depends on an enabling policy environment, infrastructure, favourable institutions and
appropriate gender-mainstreaming actions.
3.2 Prioritized enterprises/ technologies
To prioritise technologies, the consulting team engaged the NARS of five selected countries to select
enterprises based on the importance in national economies and the number of proven and available
technologies and innovations. Most countries prioritised one enterprise from each of the four
enterprise/commodity clusters: NRM, staples, high-value crops and livestock (Table 1).
Table 1: Select countries and technologies
Technology clusters DRC Ethiopia Kenya Sudan Uganda
Natural resource
management Organic
farming Lime and
fertilisers Chemical
fertilisers Conservation
agriculture (minimum
Staples Cassava Hybrid
maize Hybrid
Maize (Longe series)
Bananas (for cooking)
h-value crops Beans Pulses Ve
etables Ve
etables Bananas
for dessert
Livestock Beef Dairy Dairy Dairy Saari chicken
Source: Authors’ compilation.
3.3 Methods of data collection and analysis
The literature review was based on new thinking on studies of adoption—gender, innovation systems
and processes. This helped in assessing the micro and macro-level factors of adoption in addition to
identifying issues for primary data collection in the selected countries. Regarding gender, the study
sought information on prevailing gender inequalities in the sector, impacts of these constraints on
technology adoption and institutional efforts to redress the situation.
Primary data in the selected countries was generated through key informant interviews and focus group
discussions (FGDs). The key informant interviews were conducted with national policy makers (see
Appendix 3 on list of key informants) while FGDs brought together representatives of given
enterprise/commodity value chain—farmers (male and female), NGOs/community based organisations,
agro-dealers/stockists, extension workers, agro-processors, two traders (wholesaler and retail),
researchers, and financial institution (see Appendix 4). Two FGDs were conducted in each country for
the four enterprises clusters. In Sudan, for example, the first FGD examined technologies and
innovations in chemical fertilisers (NRM) and vegetables (high-value crops); while the second FGD
focused on technologies and innovations in hybrid maize (staples), and in livestock feed and dairy
The FGD process entailed the following steps: First, FGD participants identified available technologies,
actors and their roles and linkages in the enterprise/commodity value chains of input acquisition,
production, processing, marketing, financing and consumption. They also identified key challenges to
effective participation for men and women and possible solutions at each stage of the
enterprise/commodity value chain. An example of this step has been provided in Table 2, which
summarises the analysis of the supply chain of maize longe series seed in Uganda.
Table 2: Key activities, actors and challenges in the maize Longe seed supply chain
Activity Actors /source Challenges
Input acquisition (seed,
fertiliser) Stockists, open markets (traders),
farmer exchange /selling, farmer-
owned seed
NGOs, National Agricultural Advisory
Services (NAADS), seed companies,
Uganda Organization (NARO), etc.
Fake seed and/or adulterated seed with lo
Inadequate and untimely supply of some
Some varieties are susceptible to diseases
High cost of seed
Rejection by farmers due to
Poor perception
Poor seed handling by farmers and
Production NAADS, extension, stockists, farmer
to farmer, NARO Limited access to information
Information not harmonised (viz. extension
vs. NAADS)
Farmer resistance to take extension
Poor approach (in central region, women
attend workshop/training but men obtain
information from stockists). But in the east
and north, men attend training yet it is
women who are involved in production
Women’s inadequate compensation for
their participation
Women’s heavy workloads—competition
between productive and reproductive work
Processing/storage Stockists, extension, NARO/
universities, traders, NGOs, farmer
groups/ associations
Limited and poor storage facilities
Infestation by storage pests and diseases
Fake pesticides
Marketing NAADS, NGOs, farmer assoc. Min. of
Trade, stockists, processors, World
Food Programme (WFP), Uganda
Commodity Exchange
Limited market information
Poor transportation
Fluctuating and low prices
Financing Banks, government, Min. of Finance,
microfinance, etc.
Lack of credit, particularly by women due to
lack of collateral
Source: FGDs in Uganda.
Second, using SWOT analysis, FGD participants discussed strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and
threats of adopting available technology(ies) along a given enterprise value chain. Third, focusing on
identified weaknesses, FGD participants prioritized three to four key factors of low adoption, their root
causes and proposed strategic solutions, and responsible actors for improving technology adoption and
up-scaling. (See, for example, SWOT analysis of banana technology in Tables 3 and 4).
Table 3: SWOT analysis of the banana technology adoption
Strengths for technology adoption Rank Weaknesses for technology adoption Rank
Produce big bunches
Tolerant to diseases
Generate income
Early maturing
Tolerant to drought and perform
better on poor soils
Tissue culture plants tend to have
uniform maturity
Poor extension service provisioning
Unavailability of planting materials
Poor market systems
Have undesirable pale colour after
Poor taste, if harvested less than
six months to maturity
Timing maturity is difficult
High production costs
Weak farmer–extension–research
Strengths for technology adoption Rank Weaknesses for technology adoption Rank
Few women reached by
extension—maximum 30% and in
some cases, as low as 10%
Few women control factors of
production: land, finance
Low farmer participation
Inadequate PHHS technologies
Opportunities for technology
adoption Threats for technology adoption
High demand locally and regionally
Presence of extension workers
Banana leaves and pseudo stems
can be used as animal fodder
Banana is grown almost in every
part of the country
Gender equity in sharing roles,
resources and benefits at
household level
Climate change
Competition with other income
Emerging diseases and pests
Rural–urban migration affects
labour availability
Increasing population affects land
Source: FGD in Uganda.
Table 4: Key problems, root causes and solutions for low adoption of bananas
Key problems
Root causes Solutions/responsible actors
1. Poor extension services
(clustered under this
problem included high
production costs, weak
research linkages, low
farmer participation,
inadequate post-harvest
handling technologies).
Poor facilitation and supervision of
extension services
Extension workers poorly motivated
Poor work ethics
Low interest of extension staff, high
farmer: extension ratio
Inconsistent policy on extension services
Poor farmer participation
Limited updated information
Formulate clear policy on
extension service delivery and
farmer participation
Better communication strategy
Provide incentives to motivate
extension staff
2. Unavailability of planting
material High cost of planting materials
Lack of proper strategy for multiplication
and popularisation
Promote community
technology development sites
3. Poor market systems Inadequate market information
Limited quantities and poor quality of
Unorganised farmers, poor infrastructure
Organise farmer marketing
Source: FGD in Uganda.
Overall, data collection involved updating data on actors involved in R&D, stages at which they are
involved, human resource allocation, infrastructural support, varieties released, partnerships and
sources of funding, outcomes in terms of yield improvement. To guide the discussion, a checklist of
specific survey questions was developed and used. In addition, a national resource person from the
NARS in each country collected the data, assisted in setting up interviews and assembling documents
related to the technology in question. Along with the prioritisation of commodities/enterprises in each
country, issues identified through the key informants and FGDs were discussed and analysed. The
underlying reasons and intervention options were then prioritised and synthesised within the framework
of adoption models linked to the innovation system along the value chain of the different enterprises as
discussed in the synthesis section. The subsequent section on conclusions and recommendations for
enhancing technology adoption in ECA has been enriched by comments and contributions of
participants during the validation workshop held on 29 August 2011 in Entebbe, Uganda (see Appendix
5 for list of workshop participants). As well, important lessons have been drawn from successful
technology adoption stories of upland rice in China and zero tillage in Zambia.
4. Synthesisofstudyfindings
4.1. Causes of poor / lack of adoption
Findings from key informant discussions and FGDs reveal that the major macro-level factors
responsible for low adoption are related to: 1) soil fertility and ecological targeting problems; 2) seed
systems; 3) extension services; 4) livestock technology delivery mechanisms; 5) performance of the
released technologies; 6) inadequate attention to gender-based constraints in technology design and
delivery; 7) lack of commercialisation of commodities; and 8) the overall political economy processes
that influence the creation of an enabling policy environment.
4.1.1 Soil fertility and ecological targeting
Soil fertility is a key challenge for agricultural production in densely populated areas of ECA. The study
revealed that in some of the countries, continuous decline in soil fertility is affecting the adoption of
technologies. The policy and technical evaluation for DRC and Uganda (Figure 2) showed that soil
fertility is poorly prioritised, which may indirectly affect adoption of technologies that thrive on high soil
mineral use. Findings of an earlier research show that the decision to adopt soil conserving and/or
output-enhancing technologies begins with the perception of soil erosion and soil fertility effects on farm
income (Ervin et al. 1982, Norris and Batie 1987, Pender and Kerr 1998, Shiferaw and Holden 1999).
This perception is a product of the investment costs of soil conservation, rates of return on investment,
opportunity costs, land tenure security, preferred livelihood strategy, interest rates, and market access
for the farm products. Perception is also influenced by the education levels and intensity of extension
service providers. And this affects the level of awareness of the household about soil and plot
characteristics such as plot size, slope, and soil quality (Vandamme 2008).
A recent study in Ethiopia (Zelleke et al. 2010) documents the seriousness of the issues in soil fertility
that has necessitated strong government intervention through purchasing and distributing lime. The
problem requires approaches that include, but go beyond, the application of chemical fertilisers—one of
the few technological practices applied at scale in the country. Although lack of fertile land can be a key
constraint to technological adoption, as is the case of planted fallows in densely populated Rwanda,
labour is still considered a major constraint especially to ‘low external input’ technologies. Zelleke et al.
(2010) report that core constraints to adoption and to improved productivity include: 1) topsoil erosion;
2) acidity (affected soils covering over 40% of Ethiopia); 3) significantly depleted organic matter due to
widespread use of biomass and dung as fuel; 4) depleted macro and micro-nutrients; 5) destruction of
soil physical properties; and 6) a rise in salinity.
Without public funding, mitigating such widespread soil degradation is difficult because of the uncertain
ownership of land which discourages investment in land development, the low returns to crop and
livestock farming and the challenges arising from unreliable weather. Thus, Ethiopia has approached
the problem as a national concern to ensure adequate resources are made available to help stem the
decline. The rankings made by key informants and group discussions point to policy shortcomings such
as poor ecological targeting of technology. This problem is especially apparent with the staple crops
being promoted in regions where optimal production of hybrids is not possible.
Figure 2: Rating of technology targeting
Source: Field data.
4.1.2 Seed systems
The dependence on formal or informal seed systems in each of the ASARECA countries is varied and
different, but with considerable influence on adoption levels. Sudan and Kenya have strong formal seed
systems where private and public seed companies organise the production and marketing of seed. This
is unlike Uganda, DRC and Ethiopia where informal seed systems are dominant. The common
weaknesses of the seed systems in the countries visited include: poor demand assessment, poor
responsiveness to production risks, poor seed distribution, and the pull–push challenges related to
decentralisation and centralisation of seed systems, weak seed regulatory system, and lack of
integration of formal and informal seed systems (Figure 3).
Poor demand assessment: Assessing the demand for seed in ECA is poor as reflected in the sector’s
performance in meeting farmer expectations of seed quality and quantity. The low quality of data
available and inability to compile comprehensive data in the ECA constrains planning. The wrong
demand assessments made by relying on crop acreage grown in previous years creates a mismatch
between seed production and use, along with the huge costs incurred due to the leftover seed and
storage costs. Farmers are sometimes forced to buy inappropriate varieties. Formal seed systems for
vegetative crops do not exist. The few private and public tissue culture banana laboratories in Burundi,
Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda lack outreach strategies, and awareness among farmers is low. This
problem is due to inability, inadequate adaptive extension to show benefits of adopting new
technologies, especially with respect to price of planting vis-à-vis yields.
Poor responsiveness to production risks: In countries with weak institutions, the capacity to respond
to or to plan to mitigate production risks is lacking. The assessment made for different clusters of
technology showed huge gaps in resource availability and institutional establishments needed to
address production risks. As shown in Figure 3, the capacity for managing production risks for livestock
artificial insemination or use of pedigree bull systems is weak for all countries except in Sudan’s dairy
sector around Khartoum. The case for staples is about average for most countries, but they remain
vulnerable to production risks. In the World Development Report 2008, it is argued that good
governance is essential to agricultural development and ongoing processes of democratisation, civil
society participation, and public sector management reforms, and that controlling corruption holds great
potential for improving agricultural performance. For example, Detre et al. (2007) explored why
producer-owned hybrids, which are more investor-driven than previous patron-driven forms of collective
action, were increasing as an organisational form favoured by agricultural producers. The resource
availability and decision-making process and speed in government systems is sluggish while private
companies act expeditiously to avert risks that may cause loss of earnings.
Figure 3: Performance rating of seed systems in ECA
Source: Field data.
Poor seed distribution: The capacity for seed distribution in ECA was found to be inadequate
especially for livestock pastures and staples (Fig. 3), but high-value crops have good systems in place
because multinational companies dominate seed business for these. The weaknesses are partly
explained by the fact that agro-dealers are concentrated in urban centres and the supportive
infrastructure is lacking. Efficiency in timing, cost of transportation and storage, drying and packaging,
etc, were assessed to be among the major constraints of the seed system affecting access and
ultimately the adoption of demanded technologies in all visited countries. The conclusion is that some
new and potentially modern varieties have failed to reach farmers due to the inefficiency of the varietal
release and seed multiplication system. Potential investors in varietal release are not well-informed
about the costs and procedures while the mainstream seed companies are hampered by outdated
business models and bureaucratic processes that are not responsive to market dynamics.
Distributors cited three main problems: low demand for some seeds, risk of ending up with unsold seed
and lack of storage facilities. Since the agro-dealers are located mostly in commercial centres, which
are far from the farms, only a few farmers voluntarily take the trouble of travelling long distances on bad
roads to obtain seeds that are specific to the agro-ecological zones. The majority of agro-dealers lack
properly equipped seed storage facilities such as air-conditioning and dehumidifiers, two very basic
pieces of equipment needed to prolong seed shelf life. The most effective distribution system may
sometimes require multiple actors as demonstrated in the DRC for cassava when they were faced with
the cassava mosaic virus and required an urgent solution to ensure food security (Box 1).
Box 1: Case of cassava in DRC: Technology appropriateness and markets trigger high adoption
Cassava is the most important staple food in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), supporting over 70% of the
population, and is a source of income for households and the economy. In the mid-1990s, there was severe cassava mosaic
disease (CMD) transmitted via the white fly. CMD reduced production by as much as 26% (from 19 million to 14 million t).
A multi-partner group comprising of USAID, the International Institute for Tropical Agriculture (IITA), the Congolese
Institute for Study and Agronomic Research (INERA), the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO),
the South-East Consortium for International Development (SECID), and farmers dealt with the challenge. USAID provided
funding amounting to $5 million for 5 years (2001–2006); IITA provided implementation leadership and, jointly with INERA,
managed the germplasm. INERA was responsible for adaptive research that screened their varieties as well as improved
varieties from IITA. SECID multiplied and distributed planting materials preferred by farmers. FAO, SECID and other NGOs
multiplied existing INERA improved varieties with good level of tolerance to CMD. Training of technicians and farmers on
better post-harvest management and processing techniques to reduce drudgery, yield loss and ensure high-quality cassava
flour. Processing equipment consisting of combined cassava graters/chippers and hydraulic presses were introduced into
the country for evaluation and subsequent utilization.
By the end of the project, 11 varieties of improved cassava had been developed. Of these, four varieties contained high
levels of vitamin A, an important nutrient for children. By 2004, high adoption rates were registered, with a total of
117,138,500 meters of cuttings distributed to 291,563 beneficiaries. The project worked to ensure that both male and female
farmers participated and benefited. Out of 7,295 farmers who participated in cassava variety selection, women formed the
majority (72.92%). Household incomes have increased from sale of cassava, enabling families to spend more on education,
health and clothing. This case underscores the importance of:
Considering socio-cultural attitudes and practices in the design of technologies.
Strong and attractive markets, which ensure good returns on land, capital and labour, and act as a major driver for
ppropriateness of technolo
ies for all
ender lar
influences adoption levels.
The pull–push challenges related to decentralisation and centralisation of seed systems: Most of
the study countries have a decentralised seed system where both public and private seed actors play
important roles. However, in some countries like Ethiopia, this process has created a pull-and-push
challenge due to an overlap of responsibilities along with challenges in identifying the right roles of the
public and private sector. Is decentralisation likely to deliver change for disadvantaged groups? It could
be argued that this is unlikely if the institutional issues that underpin social hierarchy are not addressed
(Whitehead et al 2003). The system still remains weak in ECA, due mainly to: 1) the limited overall
coordination for effective use of research resources, both human and physical, among the different
actors of the national research systems, and 2) the limited agro-ecological coverage of the breeding
programme due to the huge agro-ecological diversity in the countries studied (18 major agro-ecological
zones are appropriate for agricultural production [IFPRI, CSA and EDRI 2006]).
Tensions exist between the technocracy and the political system due to the fact that technical designs
are sometimes overshadowed by political imperatives, sometimes misdirecting priorities and
investments away from the people and places that need them the most. Centralised approaches have
also come into conflict with the decentralised political-administrative system which has sought to
promote a decentralised seed system, in part due to the emergence of parallel federal and regional
state seed R&D initiatives running side by side. These have led to duplication of effort, wastage of
limited resources and unnecessary turf battles. Finally, tensions exist between the state and the
emergent private sector as the state seeks to liberalise the sector while retaining a strong hold over the
market, failing to recognise the contradiction of trying to have it both ways at once (Dawit 2010).
Weak seed regulatory system: The study has identified that some countries like Kenya have a strong
regulatory system, while others like DRC, Uganda, Sudan (privatised) and Ethiopia have limited
regulatory frameworks along the seed value chain. Belay (2008) reports that the evaluation and release
mechanism is not very strict, which may result in the release of poor-performing varieties in Ethiopia.
Such an occurrence has been indicated by the recent row among farmers in West Gojjam, the Amhara
Board for Agriculture and Rural Development, and a private seed company on the poor performance of
an imported hybrid maize variety from South Africa, which was officially released. Governments with
poor regulatory quality standards tend to engage in industrial protectionism and levy high indirect taxes
on agriculture (Krueger et al. 1991).
Lack of integrating formal and informal seed systems: In most of the countries studied, the informal
seed system, which mainly handles the local varieties, plays a dominant role in the overall seed system.
For instance, in DRC, Ethiopia and Uganda the informal seed sector accounts for more than 90% of the
seed used (IFPRI 2010). Therefore, it is important that the formal sectors integrate the informal system
to ensure that improved technologies are also aligned with the informal sector, as demonstrated in the
Ethiopia case study in Box 2.
Box 2: Case of maize in Ethiopia: Creating enabling environment in maize technology adoption
Technology development and adoption of maize is one of the success stories of NARS, in collaboration with the International
Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT). Over the last 4 decades, maize coverage has reached 2 million ha from a
being mere garden crop in Ethiopia. Currently, maize is leading in total production and yields per unit area, and is second to
teff in area among grains. The trends in national maize productivity levels show a small but consistent increase from about
1.5 t/ha in the early 1990s to 2.3 t/ha in the late 2000s, even though yields reaching 8 t/ha under model farmers’ fields have
been attained.
Collaborative effort among Sasakawa Global 2000 partners, the Maize Commodity Research Team (formerly Institute of
Agricultural Research) and the government national extension service in the early 1990s, formulated a maize technology
package and undertook massive on-farm demonstrations in the major maize agro-ecological zones, where millions of small-
scale farmers adopted the improved maize technology package. Linked with the liberalisation of markets and release of
hybrids, more than 10 private seed companies and 4 public seed enterprises are engaged in hybrid seed business. Overall,
the success story of maize technology development and adoption in Ethiopia is largely attributed to the supportive
government policies and institutional collaboration. Recent trends show that multiplication and distribution of the released
varieties is limited to few older varieties of maize, which is mainly linked to the poor performance of the formal seed systems
in terms of:
limited popularisation of newly released varieties and research–extension–farmer linkages.
low variety multiplication and distribution for their target agro-ecologies.
inadequate responsiveness of the system to demand shifts due to changes in rainfall patterns.
limited availability of the required type of seeds at the required time in the required amount
lack of incentives for increased productivity and production due to huge price fluctuation.
4.1.3. Extension services
Extension remains a public good in all ECA nations except for a few export commodities produced by
multinationals, and the approaches used are mainly paternalistic and top–down in terms of technical
and resource capacities.
The many reforms and changes in extension approaches over the years have not transformed the
attitudes of public extension managers despite the constant attempts to de-concentrate resources by
adopting grassroots approaches. According to the Strategy for Revitalizing Agriculture in Kenya (SRA
2004), there has been widespread inefficiency in the extension system, hence the need for reforms.
Experienced and highly qualified staff remained ensconced in urban head offices, leaving remote and
marginalised regions understaffed as reported in DRC (with only 230 field staff), Southern Sudan
(farming concentrated around Khartoum) and Kenya. Consequently the resource distribution is not
responsive to the needs of frontline extension workers, a situation that has been detrimental to service
efficacy (Figure 4).
Figure 4: Percentage rating of extension performance client/farmer targeting
Source: Field data
Although extension is supposed to be concentrated in rural areas close to farmers, this is not the case
in ECA because of the political influence on staff deployment. For instance, the current challenges for
the Ethiopian extension system include: lack of clarity in policies for both extension agencies and
agents; lack of a longer-term strategy, vision and plan; limited role of farmer organisations;
decentralisation not matched with capacity and accountability; poor financial, administrative
capacity/autonomy of woredas extension offices; absence of monitoring and evaluation indicators; ICT
underdevelopment (Ranjitha Puskur et al. 2006).
Today’s understanding of extension goes beyond technology transfer to facilitation, beyond training to
learning, and includes assisting farmers to form groups, dealing with marketing issues, and partnering
with a broad range of service providers and other agencies. Davies (2004) reports that many people are
now using the phrase “agricultural advisory services” instead of extension, which can imply a top–down
approach and may ignore multiple sources of knowledge.
There are many infrastructural variables and other factors that affect agricultural performance in
complex and contradictory ways, hence benefits are difficult to quantify (Anderson 2007, Birkhaeuser et
al. 1991). Extension as an input is also difficult to measure, and usually proxies are used (Birkhaeuser
et al. 1991). In view of these uncertainties, the limited use of recommended technological changes was
attributed mainly to assumed characteristics of the farmers (for example, ignorance, laziness,
conservatism), even though poor-quality extension services might actually be the cause of problems.
Another shortfall is the lack of effective linkage and coordination among organisations engaged in
agricultural research, technology development and multiplication, technology dissemination, and
extension services. The common problems of the extension services across these countries include:
lack of a well-resourced coordination platform; inappropriate extension approaches (methods of
dissemination); poor targeting of clients/farmers, poor mobility of extension workers; lack of training
facilities and resources; and poor work ethics.
Lack of a well-resourced coordination platform: Researchers and extension workers are considered
to be superior to farmers in designing the required technological interventions. Extension services are
sometimes ad hoc and preoccupied with more short-term objectives dependent on donor funding for
projects; they lack a long-term vision and hide behind paper strategic planning, which is never
implemented. Belay (2003) found that extension coverage was biased, mainly benefiting well-to-do
farmers and limited to high-potential areas.
Inappropriate extension approaches (methods of dissemination): The group approaches touted in
agricultural extension service planning documents have been found to lack innovative methods to
facilitate and coordinate farmers and their organisations’ access to knowledge and information,
especially on markets. This confirms what Christapolos (2010) reports that coordination with
stakeholders is either very weak or lacking. Extension agents are evaluated based on the number of
farmers they have managed to reach, not the impact of the package on farmers’ agricultural
productivity, incomes and livelihoods.
Poor targeting of clients/ farmers: It emerged from the study findings that in most countries (DRC,
Uganda, Kenya and Ethiopia), men participate in most extension training yet women undertake most of
the farm work, thus undermining the effectiveness of the knowledge and skills gained because of poor
communication between spouses. In cases where women receive training, they are constrained by
resources and overall decision-making power in male-headed households. The ECA region has many
crop and livestock enterprises due to its high variation in agro-ecological zones but extension workers
are expected to extend messages on everything without prioritising among members of households,
competition for farm resources and land space. The situation is made worse by the unknown demand
for these products in the market.
Poor mobility of extension workers: The extension workers cover large geographical areas and high
populations of dispersed farmers without adequate facilitation in terms of vehicles, fuel and allowances.
In some regions, there is an absence or low numbers of service personnel, as is the case in DRC
(which has just 230 agents countrywide!). In some countries, extension personnel are concentrated in
politically influential regions, with some operating in semi-urban areas. The study countries have
different approaches, actors and priorities in the provision of extension services. Extension staff remain
in the old paradigm where they are regarded as ‘experts’ and farmers are seen as either ignorant in
technology matters or just plain anti-development. As shown in Figure 4, client targeting for most
technology clusters in all countries ranged from low to average (25–50% rating).
Lack of training facilities and resources: Extension agents lack soft skills, knowledge on group
dynamics, marketing and ICT. These agents need to be skilled technicians who are also brokers of
sorts, being able to connect farmers to markets and other institutions that farmers demand (Davis
Poor work ethics: This is reflected in the poor organisation of work, low commitment and misuse of
resources. Hall et al. (2006) in a World Bank paper argues that the scope of innovation includes not
only technology and production but organisations (in the sense of attitudes, practices and new ways of
working), management and marketing changes, therefore requiring new types of knowledge not usually
associated with agricultural research, and new ways of using this knowledge. In the same vein,
assessing extension services in ECA reveals poor management of the service. This confirms the
contention by Rivera and Qamar (2003) that extension organisations must revitalise their management
systems and programmes. They suggest four key management functions in extension: good leadership,
high-level employee training, increased budgets and salaries, and combating resistance to change by
extension personnel.
4.1.4. Livestock technology delivery mechanisms and service management
While the ongoing livestock revolution is likely to result in a rapid increase in the demand for quality
livestock services, the policies and institutions in a number of countries are not set up to meet the
challenge. The policy priorities and directions for service delivery are often influenced by decision
makers. Those trained in veterinary science argue that it is poor animal health that is the main
constraint to livestock production, nutritionists point to the poor availability of feed and fodder, and
breeders to poor genetics.
The adoption levels of livestock technologies is in general very low owing to the high costs of
establishment, poor supply system for improved animal breeds, poor forage seed system, poor quality
and affordability of feeds, poor artificial insemination services and limited availability of parental stock
(as the case of SAARI chicken in Uganda and beef in DRC). Researchers have shown that most
farmers have not adopted the technologies due to lack of access to requisite inputs, lack of information
and knowledge about the technologies, and weak extension–research–linkages (Amudavi et al. 2009).
Ability of states in the region to implement and monitor government policies and programmes is also
limited and overextended.
In this context, it is instructive to quote Leonard (2000), “That a larger number of African states are
confronted with most of the following: corruption, (Klitgaard 1990); patronage (Joseph 1987); inflated
public payrolls; severe fiscal scarcity and a consequent ‘budgeting by cash-flow’ constant shortages of
critical inputs (Moris 1977), and political authorities who are insecure, indecisive, arbitrary, and
interventionist (seek to control all resources) (Moris 1977, Jackson and Rosberg 1982).”
The low prioritisation of livestock in DRC means livestock services are not easily available. The same
situation was found to be the case in western Sudan. Many governments and donors sought to promote
privatisation and decentralisation of services which was never acceptable to professionals in
government. In support of veterinary services to ensure “safe trade”, FAO and the World Bank argued
for the formal recognition of veterinary para-professionals and the establishment of statutory bodies
responsible for their licensing and registration in each member country. In many ways this is a big step,
light years away from the perennial scepticism and professional snobbery among veterinary
professionals of only a few years ago (Scoones et al. 2006). However, decentralisation of services
creates other conflicts and dangers of disease surveillance, as noted by Kasirye (2005) in Uganda.
The level of coordination and regulatory capacity of state or provincial administrations has been limited,
with conflicts arising between down-graded central veterinary authorities and their decentralised
counterparts. Such conflicts become particularly problematic when dealing with notifiable diseases that
must be reported country-wide. As a consequence, Tanzania and Uganda are currently reviewing their
approach to decentralising veterinary services to look at ways of bringing disease reporting under
centralised control (Kasirye 2005).
4.1.5 The performance of technologies
All ASARECA countries have put in place technology release mechanisms for crops, but have limited
promotion mechanisms for livestock and NRM technologies. In Ethiopia, the technology release
mechanism has weakness. It fails to ensure that the newly released technologies perform better than
the already released ones (Alemu et al. 2010). However, this study revealed that the poor performance
of available technologies is related to:
Inappropriateness of technology targeting (agro-ecology and socioeconomic conditions): In
East Africa, low agricultural productivity is attributed to several constraints including
inappropriateness of technology, and poor delivery of agricultural extension services (Amudavi
et al. 2009). In terms of technology delivery, the targeting of released varieties for the target
agro-ecologies is limited. A recent study by Dawit et al. (2010) shows that 13 types of varieties
cover more than 80% of the formal seed supply for the major crops in Ethiopia and these
varieties are mainly targeted at high-potential intermediate agro-ecology, even though there are
a number of varieties released for the three major agro-ecologies (highland, intermediate and
lowland areas). Thus, it will be important to promote agro-ecology-based technologies and their
delivery mechanisms.
Poor maintenance of released technologies: According to a World Bank report of 2008, poor
maintenance of released technologies can result in serious disease outbreaks. For example,
Ug99 that attacked wheat and is spreading to the Middle East.
Limited effort to boost end-users’ technology perception (technology sense making): Farmer’s
individual perception of the degree of a given problem may influence their decision on possible
solutions. The same situation applies to farmers’ preferences for certain technology based on
real experience or perceived characteristics. Past findings show that certain taboos, cultural
norms or practices in various socio-cultural settings in Africa, influence farmers’ perceptions
and technology adoption. Indigenous knowledge and local traditional practices may be
considered part of this social and cultural framework (Drechsel et al. 2009).
High cost of technology itself and heavy investment required: The introduction of new
technologies may increase demand for complementary inputs and when the supply of these
inputs is restricted, adoption will be constrained. High yield “green revolution” varieties require
increased water and fertiliser use. McGuirk and Mundlak’s (1991) analysis of the adoption of
high-yield varieties in the Punjab showed that adoption was constrained by the availability of
water and fertiliser. Private investment in drilling wells, private and public investment in
establishing fertiliser production and supply facilities removed these constraints and contributed
to the diffusion of modern wheat and rice varieties in the Punjab.
High production risks and lack of mitigation measures: When a new technology has a yield-
increasing effect (for example, high-yield variety), and if it is also perceived to have higher risk,
poor farmers would rather select low yielding but more drought/pest-resistant varieties unless
there are price-support policies that would tend to increase its relative profitability (McGuirk et
Poor quality of some technologies: Some new varieties of maize, like Pioneer, have been found
to be highly susceptible to pests and have a low shelf life, which discouraged farmers from
adopting them. The high biomass of some varieties such as sunflower cause high soil nutrient
depletion and farmers felt the change in yields was not compensating the deterioration in soils
and so discontinued their production. Key informants in Sudan and Kenya mentioned that high
feed consumption, low quality of milk and meat from Friesian cows discouraged farmers from
adopting them despite the breed’s high milk production.
The long gestation period needed for benefits of conservation agriculture to materialize may
serve as a barrier to farmers with short-term planning horizons. However, the political economy
matters in the interplay of resources (such as water, land and labour), private entrepreneurship
and public support to enhance performance of technologies. This situation is exemplified by
fruit and vegetable production in Sudan (Box 3).
Box 3: Case of vegetables in Sudan: Beyond resource potential and private individual efforts in the performance
of fruits vegetable
Many cultivars of fruits and vegetables can be produced year round due to the climatic variation plus available land and
water in Sudan. Yet horticulture crops represent only 12% of national agricultural income, compared to 17% for cotton and
29.6% for cereals and oil seeds. This is due to low priority and funding given to them compared with cash crops such as
cotton, gum Arabica and staple food grains. Various vegetables are grown in both irrigated and rain-fed plots –on an area
of about 273,000 Ha. This accounts for about 3% of the total cultivated area and produces an average of 3.4 million tons
of vegetables. The most important vegetables grown are onion, tomato, potato, okra, egg plant, water melon, cucumber,
pumpkin and several leafy vegetables.
Vegetables are grown in small plots irrigated with pumped water, including in the national corporation in Gezira Scheme
where 30,000 ha are devoted to vegetables. Horticultural production in the Sudan is mainly under irrigated farming along
valleys and streams. Other vegetables like carrot, cabbage and cauliflower are grown on the outskirts of the large cities.
Vegetable acreage increased tremendously in the last 5 years due largely to increased urbanisation, awareness of their
nutritive value and high returns per unit area. At present, horticultural production is a growing enterprise in the country due
to relatively high demand locally and abroad. For instance, per capita local consumption of fresh vegetables is 43 kg, of
fruits 32 kg.
Despite the increase in the area under vegetable production, productivity (in yields) remains low , indicating high potential
for improvement through adoption of improved varieties, and pests and disease control. Major constraints to technology
adoption for fruit and vegetable production include:
inadequate financial and credit facilities
Production of poor quality vegetable seed
inadequate extension service
low productivity due to dependence on inefficient traditional cultural practices amid high incidences of weeds,
pests and diseases
high costs and improper transportation
in addition, huge losses occur in the horticultural crops due to poor post-harvest practices
This case study shows that in spite of the huge resource potential (land, water, and climate) and efforts of private
individuals in horticulture production, there are only slight increases in fruit and vegetable production for local and export
markets. Thus, to spur adoption and up-scale available technologies requires targeted horticultural policies in particular
and overhauling agricultural policies in general. Elbashir et al. (2010) conclude that in Sudan: ‘(An) Agricultural scheme
should be adopted and financed, taxation policies should be revised to make the sector competitive in the international
market.’ Yet, priority setting and public funding are political economy issues.
4.1.6 Inadequate attention to gender-based constraints to adoption
Gender inequalities are pervasive in all the five study countries and range from women’s heavy
workloads that create inefficiencies in production, limited access to and control over factors of
production (land, finance, skills), and overall control over benefits associated with their inputs. From the
focus group discussions carried out for this study, there was evidence which showed that all ECA
countries studied have conducive macro environments for gender mainstreaming, as reflected in the
existence of gender and women policies, strategies, work plans and implementation structures,
however, both research and extension organisations have not adequately addressed the issue.
Ethiopia, Kenya and Uganda had gender-mainstreaming structures in their research and extension
organisations while Sudan had made substantial effort within extension. However, DRC had no
structures in both research and extension while Sudan had none in research. While acknowledging the
efforts by these countries, concern was raised about the inadequate institutions to address gender
issues in research, extension and within households where technology adoption decisions are made.
This is caused by inadequate gender mainstreaming resources, limited commitment to gender by
institutional leadership, low gender mainstreaming capacity in most countries, and absence of
accountability mechanisms necessary to hold individuals and programmes responsible for gender
mainstreaming. In Uganda, Ethiopia and Kenya, both in institutions and households, the attitude
towards gender was found to be negative as revealed by key informant interviews, thus creating a
major bottleneck to institutional transformation and technology adoption.
These inequalities cut across institutions, programmes, projects and households that participate in
activities along the value chain (Kabutha 2002). Because shifting from subsistence to the commercial
sector requires the use of market inputs such as fertiliser, seed, credit, skills and knowledge, these
inequalities undermine adoption and overall performance of technologies. Women work 13–18 hours a
day in most countries, thus reducing their effectiveness in production, processing and marketing
(MoARD 2009). An exception was in central and northern Sudan where women operate within the
household and are not much engaged in agriculture. Limited access to factors of production and
business establishment due to limited access to credit, land, knowledge and skills poses a great
challenge to adoption of technologies. To address these issues effectively, we need strong commitment
from leadership, strong gender capacity, a gender friendly organisational culture that nurtures
productivity, and overall institutional accountability to gender. Accountability in gender means holding all
staff fully accountable, engendering research programmes as well as outcomes. Investment in gender
mainstreaming has great pay-off as illustrated here:
The 1998 Special Program of Assistance for Africa (SPA) status report on poverty in sub-
Saharan Africa examined whether gender-based asset inequality limits economic growth in
sub-Saharan Africa (Blackden and Bhanu 1999). It compiled micro-level case studies
addressing gender inequality in access to agricultural resources and productive inputs and the
impact on productivity and growth. The report argued that gender differences in access to
assets limit the options of women farmers in the sector, gender differences in labour
remuneration lead to conflict and affect labour allocation in households and gender differences
in labour and other factors of productivity limit economic efficiency and output.
Comparative evidence from Kenya suggests that men's gross value of output per hectare is 8%
higher than women's. However, if women had the same human capital endowments and used
the same amounts of factors and inputs as men, the value of their output would increase by
some 22%. If these results held true in sub-Saharan Africa as a whole, simply raising the
productivity of women to the same level as men could increase total production by 10% to 15%
(Saito et al. 1994).
Table 5: Access to production inputs increases women’s productivity
Experiments with food crop farmers in Kenya, 1990 % increase in yield
Effects of giving female farmers men’s age, education and input
levels 22
Effects of increasing land area to male farmers’ levels 10.5
Effects of increasing fertiliser to male farmers’ levels 1.6
Source: Saito et al. (1994).
From Okali’s (2011) point of view, the gender relational model found persisting among most
respondents in ECA is based on a stereotypical, functionally discrete, nuclear family unit, consisting of
husband, wife and offspring. Within this unit, women as wives are presented as primarily family workers
whose economic interests are congruent with those of their husbands, and whose work is subsumed
under that of the husband. The exception is of course in northern Sudan where Islamic principles
delineate gender roles and women enjoy more power and social protection. Innovations are fed through
the gendered division of labour and family relations that have far-reaching consequences for women
and their ability to work independently and accumulate wealth (Subrahmanian 1996). Gender relations
are embedded in existing social institutions that need to be addressed if change is to occur that would
provide advantages to disadvantaged women.
Several issues emerge on gender mainstreaming in ECA. First, gender inequalities are pervasive in all
the ECA countries. Gender inequalities include: women’s heavy workloads which constrain adoption
and effective management of technologies, women’s limited access to and control over factors of
production—land, information and skills, finance—and women’s limited access to and control over
benefits accruing from their contribution to family farms, mainly because they have limited decision-
making. Second, gender inequalities constrain overall productivity of technologies, as exemplified in
Box 1. Third, in most of the ECA countries, macro policy environments for addressing gender
constraints have been developed through gender policies and mechanisms for gender mainstreaming.
Even in DRC and Sudan, where gender mainstreaming is at formative stages, the macro policy
environment is conducive to gender mainstreaming. But mechanisms for enforcing gender
mainstreaming are either absent or weak and implementing agencies, among them research, extension
and the private sector, have not made decisions on whether or not to institutionalise gender concerns,
for example, in Sudan and DRC where research in gender is minimal.
Fourth, gender-mainstreaming work in research and extension—even in countries where it has taken
root—is fairly narrow, focusing mainly on capacity building without sufficient investment in other key
pillars of institutional gender mainstreaming—commitment and support by leadership who will ensure
that gender is reflected in policies, strategies, resource support and visibility; demand for
accountability—holding all departments and programmes accountable for gender mainstreaming and
ensuring that an M&E system is gender sensitive through a proactive citizenry and civil society; and a
gender-responsive organizational environment that supports maximum productivity of staff and
programmes. Gender capacity must be built up and not assumed to be an automatic by-product of
setting up small departments of gender (see also section on recommendations).
Lastly, gender mainstreaming is a strategy for making the concerns and experiences of women, men
and children an integral part of the design, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of policies and
programmes in all political, economic and societal spheres, so that women and men benefit equally and
actually synergise efforts directed at technology adoption and growth in productivity that is inclusive.
4.1.7 Marketing system/commercialization
Empirical findings show that technologies for commercialised enterprises linked to marketing systems
are better adopted compared with enterprises with poor marketing systems. Evidence from Zambia
indicates that price changes following market liberalisation favoured technologically more advanced
producers who were able to cope with price and yield variability and deal with the demands of agro-
processing (Binswanger et al. 1987, 1993). The missing market elements in ECA for technology
adoption are discussed.
1. Incentives for increased production and productivity. The influence of marketing factors on
the adoption of agricultural technologies includes the impact of unequal access of farmers to
markets, price volatility, low profit margins, high risks, and market uncertainties (Castaño et al.
2005). Reduced price volatility and market uncertainty help extend farmers’ planning periods
and encourage investments in land productivity (Castano et al. 2005). Moreover, farmers often
need to know in advance their future income if they are to invest in expensive modern
marketed inputs. So fluctuations in incomes tend to discourage productivity-enhancing
investments, as seen in the case of Ethiopia (Beyene et al. 2008).
2. Improve links with agro-industries. According to recent evaluations, the effectiveness of
value chain interventions remains a concern. Most areas of the ECA lack linkages with agro-
industries interested in their commodities and most rely on numerous middlemen to get their
produce to the market. The case study (Box 4) highlights some of the reasons for the dairy
sector’s good performance in Kenya.
Box 4: Case of zero grazing in Kenya: Technology appropriateness, targeting and markets
In 1979, the Kenyan and Dutch governments introduced the zero-grazing system or stall feeding with the aim of
addressing the constraints of smallholder dairy farming. These were lack of grazing land, low productivity of dairy
cows, low-quality fodder, prevalence of diseases and low income due to depressed markets for cash crops. The
technology package consisted of: the zero-grazing unit, improved dairy breeds, artificial insemination/bulls, on-
farm high-yielding fodder, and farmyard manure.
Zero-grazing has performed well because of the efficiency and effectiveness of interventions targeting based on
agro-ecological potential, delivery systems, and the linkages among research, extension and farmers. Dairy co-
operative societies have been set up to provide links among processing, bulking and marketing of produce. Zero-
grazing has been accepted by small-scale farmers because it uses fewer, better fed, improved cow breeds, which
increased incomes and improved livelihoods.
At the national level, this technology is underpinned by a policy environment with appropriate and supportive dairy
policies, targeted research, strategic public–private partnerships and competition in the private sector. Recently,
regulations for the informal market, which dominates the dairy sub-sector, have been transformed from being
actively hostile to broadly supportive.
Despite the high adoption rate, lack of credit facilities has been the main constraint particularly for the informal milk
sub-sector. The initial establishment costs for the zero-grazing units, costs of animal feed and concentrates,
artificial insemination, clinical services, farm equipment and labour required to maintain zero-grazing systems are
quite high for most small-scale farmers. During the rainy season, milk losses occur because of failure to access
markets. Poor road infrastructure inhibits efficient milk collection, access to inputs, access to market information,
extension/training/ health and breeding services. These result in plummeting milk prices, and the high technology
costs of maintenance reduce the incentives to increase production and expansion.
Children and men are usually committed to other activities such as studying or other business and leave the
burden of zero-grazing—grass cutting, manure application, feeding animals, stall cleaning, milking, fetching water,
heat detection, seeking AI services and sale of milk—mostly to the women. Dissemination of this technology has
sometimes not targeted women for training. Rural–urban migration is leaving an aging population to take care of
the dairy sector.
This case study shows that balancing the successes and challenges of adopting zero-grazing in Kenya
will require addressing the dynamics of technology, targeting, market and social issues –including gender
and youth.
The 2009 Portfolio Review similarly gives the International Fund for Agricultural Research (IFAD) credit
for having given more attention to value chain aspects in the programmes which it supports, but it
concludes that the area of market access remains one of the weakest in terms of IFAD effectiveness
(IFAD, 2009c,).
2. Weak market coordination and commercialisation of enterprises. Technology adoption can be
highly stimulated by strong market coordination if it improves farm profitability. The ECA region
is beset with serious market access and efficiency concerns (Figure 5). Linkages even within
regions are poor or lacking due to poor roads, conflicts, lack of trust, high transportation costs,
constraining government policies, regional insecurity and information asymmetry. The colonial
model of roads from the ocean to the hinterland or from rural areas to capital cities still persists;
even regions with high population are not connected to those with high potential for agricultural
production within ECA. ASARECA has policies geared towards market-led development of
technology in the region through AR4D approach. But markets on their own do not stimulate
production due to price fluctuations. For example, whenever there is a glut in maize production,
farmers resort to producing low-yielding varieties with multiple use-attributes, especially for the
local market. The findings from focus group discussions revealed that the livestock sector
enjoys better access to organised markets across ECA. There is adequate demand for staples
locally but high-value crops have difficulties accessing markets, except in Kenya where foreign-
led export markets for some vegetables are highly sophisticated.
Figure 5: Percentage ranking of access to markets
Source: Field data.
Without increased demand for products and efficient markets to distribute them, growth in agricultural
productivity could quickly run into declining prices that counteract the benefits of productivity growth for
producers and discourage investment (Poulton et al. 2006). According to key informants and FGDs,
consumers in Uganda love their matooke, especially the colour and taste attributes, and they feel that
the research products have not incorporated their preferred characteristics into matooke. Even with
dessert bananas, research products are not favourable compared with the Bogoya cultivar. Consumers
have called for regular market surveys and development of supply chains around smallholder farmers,
with complementary investments in all links in the supply chain. However, coordination problems, rent
seeking and risks pose serious difficulties in making such simultaneous investments in poor rural areas.
Farmers in focus group discussions expressed the need to understand the costs of marketing to ensure
that traders are not earning abnormal profits, and to see the need to trust traders. Market information
collection and dissemination was weak across ECA, thus affecting choice of technology and
investments in enterprises that capture consumer needs/tastes and make profits.
The problems of small markets, seasonality and lack of economies of scale in production and marketing
cut across the ECA region. The exception is in Central Sudan where irrigation and intensive dairy
production are practised to a large extent. Commercialisation was noted mainly for dairy in Kenya,
Sudan and Uganda but the rest of ECA still lags behind in commercialisation to create incentives for
increased production and productivity. Such incentives entail stabilising markets (minimum price, cold
chains, value addition, export avenues, etc.), strengthening links between domestic production and
agro-industries and empowering the value chain actors through horizontal and vertical integration,
establishing mechanisms for accessing markets with premium prices for product quality, and promoting
the organisation of markets through group marketing.
4.1.8 Strengthen linkages with finance to ease access to credit
The most critical issue is that financial services do not match economic or agro-ecological realities and
lack cross-agency forums that can focus on delivering what regions say they need to succeed. The
distribution of loan funds is not rationalised for all eco-zones due to the varying levels of influence in
government and ecological zones. Analysis of regional distribution of financial institutions reveals that
some regions have better access to credit than others and past policies over-emphasized high-potential
areas, thus affecting the capacity of technology adoption for neglected regions. It is also important to
note that where collateral in form of physical assets is required, women and other vulnerable groups will
be constrained from accessing such credit. An important question is how much yield increase is
required for farmers to adopt a given technology and especially using credit. According to Baum et al.
(1999), the net benefit should usually be between 50 and 100%, which corresponds to a benefit-cost
ratio of 1.5:2. If the technology is new to the farmer and requires that they learn new skills, a minimum
rate of return near to 100% is a reasonable estimate to assume adoption.
Organised markets that can ease the flow of farmers’ income and improve repayment capacity are the
exception rather than the norm in ECA. Without planned production and increased demand for products
accompanied by efficient markets to distribute them, growth in agricultural productivity could quickly
turn into gluts and result in declining prices that counteract the benefits of productivity growth for
producers and discourage investment, as other researchers have found (Poulton et al. 2006). It is also
important to note that male and female farmers have different levels of access to credit, particularly if
collateral is required.
4.1.9 Issues related to enabling environment
The adoption of agricultural technologies in the study countries was hindered by the lack of an enabling
environment to align the socio-political prioritisation and funding emphasis for technologies in different
agro-ecologies, and limited infrastructure for technology adoption. With considerable variability, the
ECA countries are endowed with diverse agro-ecologies, but which have very unequal representation
among top policy makers. The Ministry of Agriculture in Ethiopia identifies 32 major agro-ecologies
(MoARD 2005) whereas Kenya has 7 agro-ecologies (Wellington et al. 2007). These agro-ecologies are
distinct in production potential and their technology requirements but the differences in political
influence are usually assumed away. Huge challenges arise from the broader mix of crops grown in the
region; the agro-ecological complexities and heterogeneity of the region; the lack of infrastructure,
markets, and supporting institutions; and the gender differences in labour responsibility and access to
assets (World Bank 2008). Governments can use macro-economic policy, trade regulations, input
subsidies, regulations or education and extension to alter the decision-making environment in which
farmers choose one practice over another. However, many programmes promoting conservation have
been relatively ineffective because of contradictory signals and incentives from other policies or subsidy
programmes. For example, policies designed to promote sustainable agriculture can be undermined by
other, typically richer, policy measures in support of highly erosive cash crops or by weak or slow-to-
respond research and extension efforts (FAO 2001). While it is possible to overestimate the influence of
policies on farmer decision making (Winter 2000), there is increasing recognition that the provision of
public support in the form of guaranteed output prices, input subsidies, deficiency payments, cheap
credit, or disaster relief has encouraged and facilitated massive investment by farmers in expanding
production capacity.
While neutral dialogue is necessary, it does not always lead to rational choices. “Rules of the game” are
often biased against those who are not represented in the rule-setting corridors. The poor are often
excluded from policy-making tables, and government departments, international development agencies
and research institutions have not made adequate efforts to elicit the participation of the poor in
identifying their own needs and policy priorities. Capacity development not only needs promotion of
innovations and technologies in clusters in targeted geographical regions but also the interaction of
these with institutions (strong ethics, competent ways of working, high moral values and trust etc.).
4.2 Conclusion
The country studies have revealed several weaknesses that have contributed to low technology
adoption in ECA. First, there is limited alignment of technology attributes with user preferences, and
lack of agro-ecological targeting. Second, the prevailing weak interaction mechanisms (institutions)
result in lack of awareness and poor adoption by potential users of technology. This is largely due to
weak and disorganised or short-term, project-based education of users on technology benefits and
markets. Third, technology delivery systems are weak and work ethics are very poor. Fourth, research
and extension systems have low commitment and accountability to gender mainstreaming. In particular,
gender departments are not well-funded and staffed, and gender is just an added-on issue. Fifth,
commercialisation is inadequate because enterprise value chains are not developed. Thus, farmers
sometimes fear burning their fingers by adopting technology whose product market and price are
unknown or uncertain. Finally, enabling policy and institutional environment are weak—weak priority
setting, inadequate funding of technology, inefficient regulatory frameworks and the unhelpful attitude of
extension service managers --all constraining technology adoption. These issues are elaborated in
Chapter 6 on Recommendations, which draws important lessons from successful technology adoption
stories of upland rice in Yunnan Province of China, and zero tillage practice in Zambia.
5. Lessons from adoption stories in China and Zambia
5.1 Overview
The need to mitigate low technology adoption and solve the problems of food insecurity for millions of
people in developing countries through improving agricultural productivity is underscored by the multiple
technological approaches adopted in these countries. The generation, production / multiplication,
promotion and adoption of technology, where successful, have a history of policy and institutional
support through the concerted efforts of governments and international research and development
agencies. Support provided to farmers in both Asia and Latin America and allocating adequate
resources for research, extension, marketing infrastructure and developing farmer organisations
demonstrate the importance of political support in agricultural policy. Although varying in historical and
political economy contexts, the importance of these key factors in boosting agricultural technology
adoption are exemplified by the adoption stories of upland rice in Yunnan Province of China and zero-
tillage in Zambia.
5.2 High Adoption of Upland Rice in Yunnan Province, China
5.2.1 Background
Large parts of the Asian uplands are characterised by a high incidence of poverty, poor physical access
to markets, ill-functioning marketing institutions, and subsistence-oriented agriculture with low
productivity. These conditions obtain in much of Sub-Saharan Africa. And just like Africa, rising
population pressure and the consequent intensification of marginal areas in Asia for food production
have contributed to environmental degradation and a further reduction in agricultural productivity. The
Chinese government’s support to Yunnan Province through institutions (extension and legal
enforcement for soil conservation) and technology development for upland rice reflected good enabling
policy with appropriate agro-ecological targeting. These upland areas were deliberately targeted
because they are in a vicious cycle that perpetuates poverty, food insecurity and environmental
degradation (Heidhues et al. 2006). There were concerted efforts to provide the relevant technology
and also effective extension services.
Upland rice is dry land rice grown in soils that do not hold rainwater for a long time. After rains, water
drains out of these fields fairly rapidly, so that crops grow in soils that are aerobic. Upland rice thus
grows in hydrological conditions similar to those of other upland crops such as wheat and maize.
According to Heidhues et al. (2006), upland rice is grown on about 14 million hectares worldwide,
accounting for about 11% of the world rice area and contributes 4% of the total rice output. The indica
type of new upland rice variety was selected for the non-flooded, well aerated soils. It is superior to
traditional varieties on infertile soils, with improved lodging resistance, harvest index and input
responsiveness (Atlin et al. 2006).
5.2.2 The challenge
The rice farmers in Yunnan Province grow a range of non-rice crops such as maize, millet, yam, beans,
and cassava, which reflects a dietary orientation similar to many areas in Sub-Sahara African. Despite
this diversity, a general feature of the upland system is that it is inhabited by very poor farmers who
grow food crops mainly for subsistence using very few inputs other than labour. Yunnan areas are
remote with poor access to markets, and are generally inhabited by ethnic minorities that tend to be
socially and politically disadvantaged.
5.2.3 The Solution and results
Since 1995, documented evidence has shown steady yield increases in upland rice in three Yunnan
counties. The yield gains have been attributed to improved upland rice varieties developed by the
Yunnan Academy of Agricultural Science (YAAS), which has in turn benefited from IRRI germplasm,
including a variety released in 2000 as Luyin 46—an improved indica genotype B6144F-MR-6-0-0
developed in Indonesia. Contributing to this productivity gains are increased use of inputs due to
deliberate government efforts to improve seed delivery systems, and the mandatory construction of
terraces for upland crops on steep slopes. The area under upland rice grown on terraces has been
increasing by almost 60% per year, with the yield in terraced fields steadily increasing from about 2 t/ha
in 1995 to 3 t/ha in 2003, compared with an average yield on the slopes that has remained below 2 t/ha
(Pandey et al. 2005). The author’s survey of the 2004 crop in Yunnan found that improved upland rice
on terraces out-yielded traditional varieties on slopes by over 1 t/ha. On the slopes, improved varieties
out-yielded traditional varieties by 20%. The yield gains were translated into similar increases in net
return because markets were available for the crop harvested.
The advantage of upland rice is that labour is spread more evenly over the seasons of the year. It is
also harvested early and thus shortens the “hunger” period before the next harvest, if it is used for
subsistence. Institutions and policies play an important role in upland rice farming systems. Policy was
reformed to integrate upland systems with the rest of the economy by providing infrastructure and
market institutions to improve market integration and competitiveness of agricultural production
(Pandey et al. 2004). A parallel is drawn with NERICA rice in Africa, which has succeeded only in
Uganda among the ECA countries as explained in Box 6.
Box 5: New Rice for Africa (NERICA)
New Rice for Africa (NERICA) is based on the successful crossing of an African (Oryza glaberrima) and Asian (Oryza sativa)
rice. Field tests suggest the new varieties hold great promise with higher yield potential under a variety of soil and weather
conditions, more protein, a shorter growing period, and greater resistance to African pests and diseases. NERICA varieties
were developed at the main M’bé research center of the Africa Rice Center (Africa Rice), through conventional
crossbreeding. Results from a study conducted during the 2004 wet season in 8 countries on 19 sites gave lowland NERICA
yield ranging from 5–7 t/ha. Based on preliminary figures from Diagne et al. (2009), it was estimated that the area under
NERICA in sub-Saharan Africa was around 700,000 ha in 2009.
Markets for inputs and outputs are not necessarily well -established and the full benefits of the new lines may go unrealised.
An immediate problem is the supply of rice seed of the new group of high-yielding and stress-tolerant upland rice varieties.
There was high-level commitment by top leadership and development partners in Uganda; this lead to 50,000 ha of rice
being established due to rapid adoption rates. The effect was a reduction in the annual rice import bill by one-third and
decreased household poverty in 5 years. The major benefit was realising of more than 50% of farm income (farm income
share of total income: 85%) BUT sharing of benefits and costs is gendered Lodin (2010). Producing NERICA is time
consuming. In absolute terms: 12–13 hours/day for 1 month relative to other crops: not needed for those labour exhausting /
inducing drudgery; farmers, mainly women and children, run up and down the field, shouting, waving, clapping hands,
throwing stones, using rattles and drums to scare away pests. NERICA production is also time consuming relative to other
crops; (two or) three weedings instead of one which is labour exhausting / inducing drudgery (backbreaking work, relying
mostly on hand and hoe weeding combined while usually only hoe weeding is required for other crops. Weeding is mainly
carried out by women and children.This contrasts with the Yunnan case where the Chinese government has put in place
seed delivery systems. Diagne et al. (2009) report adoption rates of 4% for Côte d’Ivoire in 2000, 20% for Guinea in 2001,
18% in Benin in 2004 and 40% in Gambia in 2006. In Nigeria, Spencer et al. (2006) estimated that up to 30% of farmers in
the state of Ekiti, and 42% in Kaduna grew NERICA. Diagne suggests a range of social, economic and institutional hurdles.
Markets played a role; both land availability and participation in land markets boosted adoption. Programmes that increased
farmer awareness about characteristics of particular NERICA varieties were important.
Kijima et al. (2008) found that the percentage of households growing NERICA varieties in Uganda increased from 0.9% in
2002 to 2.9% in 2003, reaching 16.5% in 2004. Poorer households in Uganda tend to allocate a larger proportion of their
land to NERICA varieties, which may suggest that its adoption has the potential to reduce poverty and improve income
distribution. NERICA can bring hope to many small-scale poor farmers on the continent by reducing poverty and income
inequality within populations. But this is conditional on its wider dissemination, which can only take place if the seed supply
bottlenecks and the enabling policy constraints mentioned are addressed. NERICA will also continue to face challenges from
cheap and better-quality imports that are preferred by consumers, and from the development of local value chains that make
it more competitive on the market. This calls for strong private sector support in the form of vertical integration along the rice
value chain.
5.3 The success of conservation agriculture in Zambia
5.3.1 Background
Famous worldwide as a copper-producing country, Zambia is increasingly a success story for
conservation agriculture, with smallholders adopting it widely. Estimates range from 70,000 to 120,000
farmers who had adopted aspects of conservation agriculture by 2003 (Haggblade and Tembo 2003), or
10% of smallholders in Zambia. Adoption has been strongest in the semi-arid parts of Zambia, with
annual rainfall of 650–1000 mm. Farmers in these regions depend on mixed crop–livestock systems and
cultivate mainly maize, groundnut and cotton. Ideally, what we call ‘conservation agriculture systems’
comprise a specific set of individual practices—reduced intensity of soil tillage, cover crop for the soil
surface and diversified crop rotations—combined in a coherent, locally adapted sequence.
Conservation agriculture (CA) is intended to raise crop yields, lower labour use and improve timeliness
of field operations, weed control and farm incomes. Many stakeholders from the private sector,
government and donor communities have been promoting new conservation farming in Zambia. Chief
among them are ZNFU/CFU (Zambian National Farmers Union and CFU), Institute of Agricultural and
Environment Engineering (IMAG), Golden Valley Agricultural Research Trust (GART), Dunavant,
Cooperative League of the USA (CLUSA), Land Management and Conservation Farming—today (ASP
LM&CF), Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives (MACO).
ZNFU’s initial interest began when several of its commercial farmers travelled to Australia and the USA
in the early 1980s. Reducing fuel consumption was the principal incentive for these farmers to adopt
conservation farming; minimum tillage had the potential to reduce fuel consumption from 120 litres to 30
litres per hectare.
tremendous increase in the number of conservation farming adopters was observed
from 1999 to 2003, due to government and donor push. In 2000, the Ministry of Agriculture and
Cooperatives (MACO) formally embraced conservation farming as official policy of the Zambian
government (MAFF 2001). The government has supported conservation farming in various ways: policy
pronouncements, workshops, demonstrations and field support. The World Bank facilitated training for
all extension agents in agro-ecological region II including key staff from MACO headquarters, in ‘fast-
track technologies’ (MAFF 1999). The specific crops grown were chosen according to the requirements
of the agro-ecological region. Such technologies include use of cover crops, agroforestry, live fencing,
erosion control, manure and compost. Frontline extension officers, 620 in number, from Central,
Eastern, Lusaka and Southern Provinces plus Kaoma District of Western Province were concurrently
trained in fast-track conservation farming technologies at four training sites (Chalimbana, Katopola,
Palabana, ZCA-Monze). During the season 2002/03, Sida, Norad, FAO and WFP promoted digging
permanent basins through the programme Food for Work. At the same time, CARE International, CFU,
CLUSA, LM&CF, PAM and World Vision distributed 60,000 input packages to cultivate 1 lima of maize
and 1 lima of legume.
5.3.2 Results and outcomes
The success of CA in Zambia cannot be attributed to technical factors alone. First, it was a result of a
complex institutional framework, the technical innovation in conjunction with an effective participatory
approach to adaptive research and technology transfer that tied farmers to a development strategy
suited to their agro-ecological and socio-economic conditions (Derpsch 2001). In particular, institutional
support was demand-driven and concentrated on providing training and education that equipped
participating farmers with the skills to adapt and refine zero tillage practices on their farms.
Second, gradually there was close collaboration among researchers, extensionists, the private sector
and farmers to develop, adopt and improve CA systems. This included on-farm trials and participatory
technology development. Over time, special attention has been paid to incorporating crop and livestock
in CA systems, including integrating poultry, hog and fish farming. A particular challenge is developing
rotational grazing patterns for cover crops that do not jeopardise the sustainability of CA systems. A
related key reason for adopting CA farming practices was to incorporate environmental considerations
to correct watershed degradation.
Third, there was an aggressive dissemination strategy providing technical, economic and environmental
information through the media, written documents, meetings and conferences, controlled and managed
by producer organisations. Farmer-to-farmer exchange of experiences was also emphasised. Fourth,
private–public partnerships and an agro-input company (Duvant) supported demonstration projects on
large and small farms by providing inputs and extension services. Lastly, targeted subsidies played a
significant part in supporting small farmer adoption of no-till practices. These subsidies included
acquiring manual- or animal-drawn equipment with financial support from the State under development
programmes (mainly FAO). Subsidised or free equipment is still made available to groups of farmers.
Box 6: Challenges and lessons
Conservation agriculture can improve welfare but major challen
es were encountered: adaptin
some of the
equipment, lack of appropriate and sufficient biomass for mulchin
, lack of re
ulations to control wild fires, pests
such as cut worms destroy seeds and seedlings of germinating plants, and stray animals graze on cover crops.
The equipment for minimum tilla
e were all imported, raisin
their prices, and there was no means of assurin
after pro
ect closure because manufacturers are reluctant to produce for a market whose demand is
unknown. The main lessons from the Zambian experience:
Stakeholders—from policy makers and donors to input suppliers and trainers—united around a simple
stem. The Ministr
of A
riculture and Cooperatives put in place a remarkable polic
framework b
that deserves mention.
Conservation farming as it stands today in Zambia is a water-harvesting and drought-miti
technology. It is adapted to arid and semi-arid areas but is not suited to wetter climatic conditions, where
in its present form it would lead to water lo
. It is at odds with other conservation a
techniques that are adapted to temperate or equatorial conditions
but not to dr
, or to areas
receiving a bimodal rainfall distribution.
Communal grazing is common throughout sub-Saharan Africa and is a ma
or problem in tr
to keep
soil covered under conservation a
riculture. This problem is acute particularl
where a
productivity is low and climatic risks are high, and where farmers capitalise on livestock (cattle mainly)
and frequently overgraze.
Time is a ma
or deterrin
factor in efforts to diffuse and adapt conservation farmin
. The technique
requires medium- to long-term investment, especiall
in terms of labour. Conservation farmin
providing quality trainin
to smallholders, careful monitorin
of the s
stem for several
ears, and ma
economically supporting adopters to share the risk of converting land and practices.
The benefits of conservation farming must also be rigorously demonstrated. Lacking at present are tangible data
on the benefits, as shown in impact assessments using control.
6. Recommendations
The study has traced bottlenecks to technology adoption along value chains of selected enterprises in
ECA in the framework of an innovations system. The findings from literature review, key informant
interviews, focus group discussions and a feedback workshop lead to following six important
6.1. Agro-ecological targeting based on politics, ecology and commodity
The agro-ecological targeting can be looked at in terms of the diverse agro-ecologies each country is
endowed with but which have competing commodities and varying population densities. Research
systems should target agro-ecologies (for some commodities) and seek to gain political influence on
how resources are located regionally to upscale technology dissemination. Commodity-specific
strategic thrusts have been the focus; these allowed wider targeting of diverse agro-ecologies, like the
dryland system strategic thrust of the International Centre for Research in the Semi-arid Tropics
(ICRISAT 2010) and the maize and wheat programme of CIMMYT. NARS in respective countries
recognize these thrusts. However, the core agricultural research targets in DRC, Kenya and Ethiopia
are three major agro-ecologies—highland, intermediate, and lowland agro-ecologies). In general,
technology generation may target the three main agro-ecologies but there is a need to encourage policy
makers and investors in agribusiness to adapt technology to location-specific agro-ecologies for
technologies generated and released in other countries. It is important to build the capacity of local
researchers and policy makers in adapting technology to agro-ecological zones, in end-user
preferences for technology attributes and in allocating resource to facilitate this process. NARS need a
platform to lobby support for their products from the political class who are influential in resource
allocation. While recognising the importance of ecological targeting, it is also necessary to appreciate
the circumstances, needs and preferences of different groups within these ecologies in order to provide
options for diverse clients—and not ‘one size fits all’ solutions.
6.2. Promote market linkages and commercialisation of enterprises
Weak links with industry and markets constrain technology adoption in ECA regions due to poor roads
(the ocean to hinterland, rural to capital city mentality persists), lack of information, high transportation
costs, constraining policies and regional insecurity. The ASARECA strategic plan has prioritised an
agricultural domain—HLL–high potential, low population, low access—and has policy geared towards
collective marketing in research for development. Regular and gender-sensitive market surveys, with
investments in all links in the supply chain, can enhance how public and private institutions coordinate
markets and interact and communicate through ICT platforms.
Raising the competitiveness of value chains to improve technology adoption will require strategies that
promote and strengthen market linkages among NARS, end users of technology and political leaders
and policy makers who determine resource flows for public investments. Sustaining competitiveness
requires addressing power imbalances among developers, extension and end-users of technology, for
equitable distribution of benefits and market information. One way of strengthening institutions to
support technology adoption and economic transformation in the region is through public–private
partnerships. These partnerships can use market development funds to build modern warehouses with
cold storage facilities to lease to private firms to operate franchises and contracts with farmers and
Success requires strong leadership in the private sector to drive change and address constraints
related to market access, finance, business development services, agronomic services, and market
information. Increasing technology adoption requires incentives to stabilise markets, facilitating farmers
to access markets with premium prices for quality, market coordination and transparency. NARS and
extension services should promote better leadership and recruit young people to embrace change and
spur innovation.
Universities and NARS must move quickly from basic research to commercial applications and consider
profiting from inventions through equity stakes in new companies. To facilitate technology adoption that
links with markets requires a business incubation fund that provides grants on a competitive basis to
innovations selected through peer review by experienced business experts. It is important to invest in
capacity building in ICT and in forums that build trust among participants to demystify processes,
regulations and cost/profit levels in the markets. Improving the business enabling environment requires
value chain-specific policies and regulations that increase interaction between adopters and marketing
There is need to educate technology end-users on e-marketing. Specifically, NARS, farmers and
intermediaries need capacity building and data on consumer habits and commodity demand and supply
levels in regional markets before they can competitively position their technology as viable brands for
adoption. It is necessary to go the extra mile and train intermediaries and the young generation in the
value of ethical relationships and the power of building trust within markets so as to spur adoption.
Policy makers and managers of NARS need capacity building in private–public partnerships, reflexive
thinking and in how to bring on board locally designed technology business systems and processes to
catalyse adoption and up-scaling.
6.3. Promote linkages with finance institutions to ease access to credit
The research findings showed that some technologies are expensive to acquire, for example, high-
yielding pedigree cows, while some require expensive accompanying inputs. Thus, adoption is
constrained by lack of funds. Funds can be raised by borrowing from finance institutions, particularly for
women who may lack collateral demanded by lending institutions. Although ASARECA and NARS have
not developed a policy to link with finance institutions, this policy can be achieved through sharing
information on the profitability of new technologies. At the same time, there is need to negotiate
arrangements that will ensure that women farmers, who have traditionally been left out, are able to
access credit. These negotiated arrangements should address the questions: What are the conditions
for accessing loans and who is able to easily meet these conditions? The example of warehouse
receipt system managed by the East African Grain Council and financed by Equity Bank in Kenya
provides a good ‘initial model’. The distribution of loan funds should be rationalised for all regions and
social groups, irrespective of their influence (voting power) and ecological zones. Extension, finance
institutions and MoAs should adopt digital technology to harness information on farmers’ credit rating,
resource capacity and available financial services, procedures and costs, and move aggressively to
cloud computing in order to improve services and cost efficiencies. Thus, capacity building is
In the use of social networking platforms to collaborate in sourcing funds, and linking financial
institutions with credit rating agencies so as to increase the transparency and performance of
technology in local markets.
For policy makers, NARS and technology end-users to bridge links with finance companies to
facilitate technology adoption and up-scaling. Facilitation to strengthen ethical relations and
networking is required.
To develop a wide range of financial products to meet the needs of diverse clients, both male
and female.
In use of digital platforms that host credit referencing data on technology end-users to ease the
capability of lenders to assess the credit rating of potential borrowers who want to invest in new
6.4. Gender mainstreaming in agricultural institutions
Gender-based constraints prevalent in all the countries undermine technology adoption, management
and overall productivity. While the significance of these constraints is well documented, the response of
both research and extension organizations remains weak. This is despite the existence of fairly
supportive macro environments provided through national policies, and mechanisms, and endorsement
of regional and international gender equality instruments. In summary, this study recommends that
institutions involved in research and extension comprehensively adopt gender-mainstreaming
strategies that encompass commitment to gender, build gender capacity, create enabling
organizational culture and build in mechanisms for accountability to gender mainstreaming. Some of
the key elements of these four pillars are:
Political will: policies, procedures, resources, support and enthusiasm to support gender
Technical capacity: Knowledge and skills to undertake practical aspects of gender analysis
and integration for enhanced programming and institutionalisation of gender-equitable
organisational processes.
Accountability: Setting up mechanisms to ensure that organisations walk the talk in terms of
gender mainstreaming. Accountability will need to be built into job performance contracts,
research and programme design, studies, monitoring and evaluation, among others. Of greater
significance is the location of the coordinating office. For it to have voice and respect, the office
needs to be high enough, if possible, reporting to the head of the organisation.
Organizational culture: Creating a gender-sensitive culture that values all personnel and
maximises on productivity. Developing measures to reduce historical inequalities will go a long
way in motivating staff to contribute to results.
There is need to ensure that men and women participate and benefit at all levels in the different value
chains; gender sensitive analysis is recommended to identify and address gender-based constraints.
The analysis should encompass the following phases:
Mapping gender relations and roles along the value chain—mapping men and women’s
participation and benefits along the value chains; identifying the factors that shape gender
patterns in the value chain operations.
Identifying gender-based constraints—identifying conditions of gender disparity; identifying the
factors that cause gender disparities; identifying how to deal with the laid back attitude among
women or men and formulating cause and effect hypothesis.
Acting to remove gender-based constraints—aiming at strategic and market-driven solutions.
Measuring success—developing well-designed, gender-sensitive indicators to monitor men
and women’s status and reduce gender inequalities over time. As much as possible, the
indicators need to measure outcomes rather than numbers.
6.5. Re-configure extension-research–farmer architecture
Institutional learning and change are vital elements for successful technology dissemination and
adoption and should inform the configuration and approach to technology promotion. When
implemented in a flexible, participatory and sustainable way, most of the models can lead to improved
extension performance and the impact policy makers are looking for in ASARECA countries.
Technology developers, disseminators and users need that “smart way” that allows them to partner and
become co-owners of the process and results. Some of the pertinent changes needed are forums for
learning and inculcating virtues that stimulate and sustain good performance.
All players need to learn skills that make them competitive at work and in society, such as working
habits, practices, honesty, trust, kindness, empathy, dedication and sacrifice. They need to sharpen
those skills in order to interact and build trust, share information and resources, support each other in
projects, and maximise value in areas of collective interest, i.e. build on each others’ strengths instead
of blindly competing for positions and resources. We need to accept the mix of foreigners and local
service providers as envisaged in the controversial economic partnership agreements with Europe. The
African and Caribbean partnership agreement with the European Union has been in abeyance for long
because African countries are reluctant to liberalise services. But technology development and adoption
thrives better in an environment where work ethics are strong, less adversarial and opportunities exist
for innovation, as has happened in Silicon Valley. ECA countries are too highly politicised, tribal and
divided to foster healthy competition in technology generation, promotion and adoption. The solution
lies partly in promoting a multi-cultural environment that is also linked to good markets such as the
European Union.
The extension service and NARS should use process audit firms that can develop metrics to measure
service efficacy. These firms should set benchmarks for performance contracting and evaluate them
instead of leaving it to employees in research and extension to set their own targets. Bureaucratic
structures and power relations in large organisations deny employees opportunities, and stifle initiative
and innovativeness which should be re-engineered to meet the challenges of technology adoption and
poverty alleviation. The NARS and extension systems should have region-specific designs that can be
used to create partnerships between researchers, extension, stakeholders and end-users of technology
so that all benefit from the success of locally developed systems for adoption, and returns flow back to
extension and research in form of better remuneration and business investments or royalties. Context
specificity and local processes of experimentation and learning are important in the innovation process.
The performance of some new varieties is below the expectations of end users, hence many are not
adopted. NARS should ensure there is increased participation of farmers in seed variety development
and release. Assessment of seed demand, which relies on data from previous years, remains poor in
the region, causing inadequate and erratic supply of improved seed. Seed companies need to identify
better methods of forecasting seed demand to ensure adequate quantities of seed are available for
distribution to producers when needed.
6.6 Infrastructure capacity and enabling policy framework
The capacity for seed distribution in ECA was found to be inadequate, especially for livestock and
staples, mainly because distributors (agro-dealers) are concentrated in urban centres away from the
farms, and supportive infrastructure such as roads and properly equipped storage facilities are lacking.
These challenges lead to increased prices of seed, limiting their accessibility by potential adopters. It is
thus imperative that seed companies increase their distributorship to reduce distances travelled by
farmers to purchase planting material. Stakeholders in the industry need to create systems for proper
coordination to avoid duplication of roles and ensure high agro-ecological reach of the formal seed
The study also identified that while some countries have strong regulatory systems, others have limited
regulatory frameworks along the seed value chain, leading to availability of poor-quality seed. To
address this, harmonisation and rationalisation of seed policies championed by ASARECA, which has
been successful in some countries, should be fast-tracked in countries with limited regulatory
framework. Finally, in most countries, the informal seed system, which mainly handles the local
varieties, plays a dominant role in the overall seed system accounting for more than 90% of the seed
used in some countries. Governments should therefore create policies/programmes that allow the
informal seed sector to integrate with the formal sector to ensure that the informal sector can
adequately access, produce, process and disseminate high-quality seed of improved non-hybrid
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Appendix 1: List of key informants
Name Organization Address Telephone no. Email
Mme Belou
Esperance and
Mme Basila
+243 818 104049
+243 998656515 groufedi2000@y
Ignace Guka Gangale
Directeur de
Ministere de L’Agriculture Avenue Libèration No
12 (en face ISC)
Commune de la
Gombe - Kinshasha
0999630532 Guka_ignace@y
Dr. Jean Robert Bena
Director Vetèrinaire
INERA +243 998 297371 jeanrobertbena@y
Rolly Nkuw Karange DRC Senasemi Cell: +243 99
4611214 Rolly_kbg2@yaho
Lutete Lambert FAO Kinshasha +243 998 235982 dianklutete@yaho
Lumbe Ramazani
Lambert INERA 13, Aven des
Chimqùes Kinshasha
– Gombe/DRC P O
Box 2031
+243 815 168294 Lambertlumbe@ya
Ir. Msc. Willy Kaja
Ngombo Spècialiste
en stockage et
viabilitè des
Ministère de L’Agriculture
SENASEM 12, AV. de la
Libèration (ex. 24
+243 815100282 Cajanus2003@y
Victor Kangi Muya
Directeur d’Etudes et
Ministere du Genae de la
Famille et de L’Enfant
Kinshasa, DRC +243-888944374
Rolly Nkulu Kabange
Ministry of
(Seed Service
Kinshasa, DRC +243 994611214
Director of Production,
National Institute for
Study and
Agricultural Research
Democratic Republic
of Congo (DRC)
+243 812250918
Josee Ngamitshara
Levitique Assistant de
Institution Semencieres
Democractic Congo +243
Manoka Abib Thiam
Managing Director
MATCHEM ETS 9/C Av. Sport,
Fax: 001-
Victor Kangi Muya
Directeur d’Etudes et
Planiification Minstry of
Gender, Family and
Kinshasa, DRC +243-889-844374
+ 243-991-642550
Jeannine Mushiya INERA
Kinshasa, DRC +243-997-522-
176/813339580 mushiyaj@yahoo.f
Madame Ifulu
Mitwana Marie Jose
Gender Coordinator
Ministry of Agriculture
Reform Programme
Rue Lubum No.
163137 Commune de
Leimba Democratic
Republic of Congo
Getnet Assefa Ethiopian Institute of PO Box 2003 Addis +251 116 454432 getnetassefa@y
Name Organization Address Telephone no. Email
Director, Livestock
Research Agricultural Research Ababa
Abebe Atrlaw
EIAR – Coordinator
Seed Research
+251 911 103486 Abebe-
Daniel Mekonnen
Regulator Ministry of Agriculture PO Box 62347 Addis
Ababa +251 116 461147 Danielmk64@gmai
Yeshi Chiche, Head,
Research Coordination
Office, EIAR, Ethiopia Addis Ababa Ethiopia 0911408101/0116
465445 yeshichiche10@
Tenagne Kidane
Rural Development F/S
Senior Expert, Ministry of
Agriculture and Rural
PO Box 41105
Tel: 0911400550
W/ro Tesfayenesh
Director, Women and
Youth Issues
Mainstreaming , Ministry
of Women, Youth-
Women, Children
and Youth
PO Box 11932
Addis Ababa
Lemlem Aregu
Gender Specialist
Improving Productivity
and Market Successes
(IPMS) Program
International Livestock
Research Institute
PO Box 5689 Addis
Ababa, Ethiopia
+251 11 617 2410
Fax: +251-11 646
Hirut Terefe
Associate Professor of
Anthropology & Director-
Institute of Gender
Studies Addis Ababa
PO Box 1176/31490
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
+251 111-
+ 251-911- 46332
Mekonnen Kebede ACOS Ethiopia P/C +251 911 809303
Edmealem Shitaye
Deputy Director,
Agricultural Extension
+251 913 165921 edmesh@hotmai
Anne Onyango
Director, Policy and
External Relations,
Ministry of Agriculture
PO Box 30028,
Nairobi, Kenya
Samuel Matoke Chief, Dairy
Ministry of Livestock
PO Box 34188
Abraham Barno
Ministry of Agriculture
PO Box 30028
Cosmas Kyengo Syngenta Agribusiness Manager C_kyengo@syn
Shauri Sigoria Ministry of Agriculture Asst. Director
Technology Packaging
and Dissemination
Patrick Okaka
Ochieng Ministry of Agriculture Ag. Chief Executive
Officer Seed and plant
0722349490 okakapato@ya
Jane B. Omari National Council for
Science and
Technology Ministry of
Higher Education,
Senior Science Secretary 0720574668 omarijab@yah
Name Organization Address Telephone no. Email
Lucy Mwangi M(s) Kenya National
Farmers Programme.
General Manager
Mustoura El Doma
Horticulture Specialist
Ministry of Agriculture
Administration Section
Khartoum Sudan +249 918 071975 mustouraeldo
Nadia Abdelgali
Vegetable Section
Dr. Adil Yousif
General Director
Zubeir I M Ibrahim
General Manager Nile Sun Enterprises Kuwait Building Nile
PO Box 3949 Khartoum,
+249 183 798816
Mohammed Awad
Mekki Elobeid Research
Station PO Box 429
E Obeid Sudan +249 10972450/
+249 122244894 mahmekki@yah
Suad Abdalla Ali
Director, Gender
Mainstreaming in
Khartoum, Sudan 002491831
Fax: 779957
Fattma Yousuf
Sector & State Affairs,
Ministry of Agriculture
Khartoum, Sudan 0122769013
Dr. Bua O.
Economist ,
Team Leader,
National Crops Resources
Research Institute (NaCRRI) PO Box 7084 Kampala +256 414 573016
Senior Agricultural
Economist/Gender Focal Point
Ministry of Agriculture, Animal
Industry and Fisheries
PO Box 102
Entebbe, Uganda
+256 772-479-309
Daisy Eresu
Senior Agricultural Officer
Ministry of Agriculture, Animal
Husbandry and Fisheries
PO Box 102 Entebbe
+256 772-311553
Bid-Control Programme PO Box 7065 Kampala Cell:+256 772
524642 cnankinga@kari
Farm Inputs Care Centre (FICA)
Ltd Plot 167 Bombo Road
PO Box 34095
+Cell: +256 782
451995/+256 703
National Banana Research
Programme P.O. Box 7065
Kampala +256 414 567158 jnamaganda@k
PM&E Officer
NAADS Secretariat Plot 39A
Lumumba Avenue
Mukwasi House 2nd
+256 41 4 345065/
345066/345440 gokecho@naa
Lwanga National Crops Resources Kampala, Uganda +256 772-616-440 kclwanga@
Name Organization Address Telephone no. Email
Research Institute (NARO
NACRRI) Cereals Programme
(Maize and Rice)
Commissioner for Gender and
Women Affairs, Ministry of
Gender, Labour and
Social Affairs
PO Box 7136,
Kampala, Uganda
+256 772-525623
Eng Okurut
Agricultural Engineering &
Appropriate Technology
Research Centre (AEATREC)
PO Box 7144 Kampala +256 414 566161 aeatri@starco
Julius Pyton
National Crops Resources
Research Institute (NaCRRI) PO Box 7084 Kampala +256 414 370907
+256 752 454347 serumaga@na
ail .com
Appendix 2: List of FGD participants
Appendix 2 (a): List of 1st FGD participants in DRC (cassava and beef )
Name Designation/
Organisation Telephone E-mail
Tsipamba Kabele SNV +243 816579350
Nkuw Kabanga Rolly SENASEM +243 3994611214
Basilua Bikindu De Agrocole Masina +243 99938437243 -
Kapinga Antoinette De Agrocole Masina +243 322278534 -
Benak Jean-Rober
INERA/DG +09982973766
Kipoy Sumba INERA/DG 0812472346
Monjalis Poto INERA/ASARECA 0818137967
Lodi Loma Jean Park INERA 0815436746
Lumbe Ramazan Lambert INERA/DG 0815168294
Ngamishara Jos’e INERA/DG 08118746020
Jennine Noshiya INERA/DG 0997522176
Hannington Odame CABE/ASARECA +254 724226893
Charity Kabutha CABE/ASARECA +254 722562638
Appendix 2 (b): List of 2nd FGD participants in DRC (organic farming and beans)
Name Designation/
Organisation Telephone E-mail
Nkuw Kabanga Rolly SENASEM +243 3994611214
Tsipamba Kabaele SNV +243 816579350
eleko Baran
a JM Col.Bwamanda +243 816519350 Jeanmarie_ngeleko@yahoo
Lukombo Singi IITA/DRC 0999944470
Lumbe Ramazani INERA/DG 0819168294
Manoko Abbi?? APTH/HOTERA 099906362
Bievenue Kaswanda INERA 0815024273
Bena Kabale Jean INERA 0818137967
Kipoy Sundu Sylivia INERA/DG
Jeannine Mushiya INERA 09997522176
Hannington Odame CABE/ASARECA +254 724226893
Charity Kabutha CABE/ ASARECA +254 722562638
Appendix 2 (c): List of 1st FGD participants in Ethiopia (Chemical fertilisers & lime, hybrid maize, haricot beans and
Mulugeta Teamir EIAR, MARO +251 911 639966 mutea
Fisto Ademe EIAR, MARO +251 921 575766
Mensesha Remme Adam Agriculture +251 911 988727
Mekonnen Kebedi ACOS, Ethiopia +251 911 809303
Nasir Mohammed Gonde Extension +251 912 029241
Haseen Muhammed E. sh zone Ag +251 913 3110128 -
YemisrackMulatu E. sh zone Ag +251 911 781058 yamisrackmulatu@yahoo.
Matiku Mamo Ada’a Dairy
Cooperative +251 355025
Kebeda Shumi Farmer +251 912 245534 -
Zekasyas Kitle Farmer +251 231685 -
Husein Naaden Livestock Agency +251 913 226216 -
Tombo robi Farmer +251 920 588558 -
Bontu Jeru Farmer - -
Efo Bede Merchant +251 911 384486 -
Hamda Tulu Rencon +251 928 580180 Borademberfea@yahoo.c
fnafu Zeude E. sh z. A
+251 911 607068 -
Aselefach Alemayhu Farmer (Bora) - -
Selamanit Seyoum EIAR, Exporter +251 912 222047 -
Kasaye Watere BOA, Adam +251 911 823120 -
Appendix 4 (d): List of 1st FGD participants in Kenya (Chemical fertilisers & Vegetables)
Joyce Chege PROTA Knowledge
Manager 0722 901697
Agnes W. Kariithi PO Box 177
’uru Farmer 0721 468848
Wangeci PO Box 61
Wang’uru Agro-Dealer 0721 914035
Joseph Maina N PO Box 56
Wang’uru Farmer 0720 482135
Patrick Maina PO Box 213
Wang’uru Agro-Dealer 0722 348796
Edward J. Kimuhu DSHF Murang’a
PO Box 28 Kenol
DSHF 0725 607903
Benjamin Chegeh KARI, Thika Researcher 0724 657555
Agnes M. Ndegwa KARI, Thika Researcher 0724 433988
Tabitha W.
Ng’ang’a FADC
PO Box 466-
01001 Kalimoni
FADC Farmer’s
Rep Thika West 0734 601458
0725 405262 tabbyng’ang’
John N. Nyaga DARO Thika West
PO Box 579
0722 404875
John K. Waihenya MOA, Murang’a
PO Box 28 Kenol
0721 861967
Dr. Waturu C.N. KARI, Thika CD 0722 858017
Godfrey Chege Equity Bank R/ship Officer
Agriculture 0721 52602 Godfrey.chege@equitybank
Charity Ngung’u KARI, Thika Secretary 0722 666568 Charitymuturi200@yahoo.
Mary Nyagah KARI, Thika Trader/Catering 0722 911778
Susan Gathoni W. Vegetable
Supplier Thika Town 0722 602628
George Mwangi DSHF REP – Member 0772 511010
Appendix 2 (e): List of 2nd FGD participants in Kenya (Hybrid maize and dairy)
Samuel N.
Gitau Farmer 0711 809250
Peninah N.
Kamau Farmer 0723 943403
Jane Muthoni Farmer 0729 010867
Salome N.
Kimani CBO Thanduka 0724 030449
John Ngure CBO Thanduka 0722 558025
Maurice Mungai
Mbugua Stockist Kahuho 0722 852976
Peter Mwangi Stockist Kikuyu 0727 929693
Peter M. Kamau MOA Extension Extension 0720 965248
Catherine H.
Genge MOA Extension Extension 0721 763817
David Githuka Kabete Dairy Farm Manager 0738 257960
Martha Wairiru
C. Trader Laini 0710 369311
Serah Che
e Trade
Zambezi 0703 815264
Bance S. Mbae KARI, Muguga Research
Officer 0729 379784
Musombi KARI, Muguga Research
Officer 0712 709065
Peter Lorroki KARI, Muguga Research
Officer 0721 332865
Wanganiro Barclays Bank Personal
Banker 0722 373715
Appendix 2 (f): List of 1st FGD participants in Sudan (Chemical fertilisers & Vegetables
Name Designation/
Organisation Telephone E-mail
Asim F . Abusara Agricultural Research
Corporation (ARC) 0912828951
Mirgani K. Ahmed ARC 0912761949
Saifeldin M . Elamin Sudan University for
Science and Technology 0912343989
Mashair Abdelfatah
Seed Administration-
Ministry of Agriculture(SA-
MA) 0916570485
Eshraga Khalid Ahmed SA-MA 0918008642
Mnahil Alsade
Ayman Mohamed SA-MA 0912895121
Ensaf Shiekh Idris ARC, Shambat 0912278632
Suad Abdalla Ali Gender department-MA 0918250784 Suadramram2000@yahoo.c
Mustourae Eldoma Horticultural Sector
Administration (HAS)-MA 0918071975
Adil Yousif Extension & Technology
transfer-MA 0912316561
Nadia A.Galil Hassan HSA-MA 0916073334
Appendix 2 (g): List of 2nd FGD participants in Sudan (Maize and Dairy)
Name Designation/
Organisation Telephone Email
Zubeir Ibrahim Nile Sun Company +249912398547
Ismail Mohd. Elfagir Upper Nile University +249912838234
Fatima Mohayad SA-MA 0914698573
Hashim Hassan Eltayib SA-MA 0122410254
Abdelrahman .A.M ARC, Maye (NRC) 0918276421
Nadia Abdalla Ministry of Animal
Resources 0922212862
Abdalla Eltayeb Agribusiness CO 0900908844
Fattma Yousuf Rain Fed Sector -MA 0122769013
Maarouf Ibrahim ARC 0918039324
Appendix 2(h): List of 1st FGD participants in Uganda (Banana, SAARI chicken)
Name Designation/
Organisation District Telephone Email
Ojangole Christopher Kobuin Chicken
Breeder Kumi 0772 948766
Ogwang Onespol KUDFA Kumi 0775 524813
Hajji Abdul Nampagi Farmer Mukono 0773 312783
Kisitu Dan Project Officer
(VEDCO) Luweero 0772 334284
Nanyonjo Zulaiha Farmer Mukono 0702 972387
Namakula Ayisa Trader Mukono 0773 329699
Lumu Richard Technician Mukono 0752 629203
Biso Godfre
NAADS Cordinato
Mukono 0772 857334
Felix Mulwana Farmer Nakaseke 0775 421154 buecca
Madrine Nagaddya Farmer Nakaseke 0778 315260
Kataama Doreen Buikwe Local
Government Buikwe <