ASARECA/AFPRI study lights hope for Quality Protein Maize and climbing bean innovations

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Maize been intercrop is one of the innovations promoted by ASARECA

A new study by ASARECA and IFPRI has shown high levels of adoption of quality protein maize (QPM) and climbing beans in Tanzania and the Democratic Republic of Congo respectively. The study shows adoption levels for QPM at 78.4% and climbing beans at 77.3%.

It indicates that adoption levels for QPM in DRC were significantly higher (82.98%) than those in Tanzania (56.79%). Low adoption levels in Tanzania were attributed to stiff competition for seed due to high demand, poor distribution networks and climate change effects on seed production (especially hybrid seed) among others.

Widespread adoption

The study shows that a total of 172,470 ha under QPM had been established by 2015 compared to 5.5 ha at the start of the project in 2008. This finding suggests quite reasonable spread of the QPM technologies among the communities in target areas. On the lower side, the main factors responsible for poor adoption of QPM included lack or un availability of QPM seed, high prices of seed and low resistance to field pests besides. Main reasons for stopping cultivation of climbing beans included lack of staking materials, unavailability of seed, and attack by birds.

Men still dominate

The study highlights that majority of project beneficiaries for the two innovations promoted by ASARECA and other partners across the continent were males. Results show that households utilizing the technologies are making joint production decisions. This underscores the notion that gender main streaming efforts need to be further boosted to ensure gender equity in implementation of program activities. This finding directly speaks to ASARECA intermediate project development objective on enhancing gender based governance and management for a transformative agriculture.

Joint initiative

ASARECA conducted adoption studies in partnership with IFPRI to track the adoption and diffusion of selected technologies generated and promoted in Tanzania, DRC and Rwanda.  The studies were undertaken under the "Monitoring the Geospatial Diffusion of Agricultural Technologies" project.

The studies involved use of innovative methods (such as spatially-explicit agricultural modelling, GIS/remote sensing datasets, and cost-effective ICT-based survey techniques) to track adoption and diffusion of agricultural technologies and to explore scalable options for monitoring farmer's use of agricultural technologies. This innovative approach sought to document the extent of technology adoption and diffusion over time and space since there is little evidence in this area with other approaches.

Main objective

The main objective of the survey was to test innovative methodologies for tracking adoption and generate data, knowledge and information on how far the agricultural technologies have been adopted by smallholder farmers and diffused over time and space.

The specific objectives were:

  • Establish the level of adoption of the technologies promoted by ASARECA within the target countries.
  • Identify, track and map out new areas where the technologies promoted by ASARECA have been adopted and diffused over time within the target countries.
  • Identify factors that are limiting the adoption of the technologies promoted by ASARECA within the target countries.
  • Establish why farmers have stopped using the technologies and estimate level of technology dis-adoption among the target farmers.

Using adoption levels as a measure for wider uptake and hence impact of the technologies promoted by ASARECA it is plausible to say that the studies to some extent have contributed to the assessment of impact of ASARECA’s intervention within the target countries. 

Method used

The studies considered two technologies promoted by ASARECA within the ECA region: Quality Protein Maize (QPM) in Tanzania and DRC; and climbing beans in Rwanda. The studies also sought to test various methodologies such: use of GIS/RS tools; participatory and crowd-sourced mapping; and ICT-based surveys (household & key informant) in tracking adoption and diffusion of technologies. Survey tools developed by IFPRI in collaboration with ASARECA were uploaded into ICT based devices (Smart phones) using Tech Tracker Survey Application developed by Spartial Dev. Company based in Washington DC, USA. The Tech-Tracker Application also provided GIS capability which enabled the ICT devices to geo-reference locations and take GPS coordinates, as well as displaying country maps up to village level. Primary data was collected on technology adoption, diffusion and performance; while secondary data was mainly collected through desk reviews.

Lessons learnt

Innovative methodologies are critical for quick measurement of adoption both in space and time and have a potential for scaling up.  However, this is directly dependent on the level of investments by the Research and Development institutions to sustain adoption of the innovative methods. The study also demonstrates that collaboration with other stakeholders especially developers of the supporting applications and tools is key to main stream research.

Relevance to ASARECA

Findings from this study are relevant for the future programming of ASARECA's intervention within the region. ASARECA's core programming activities focus on scaling up of technologies so as to achieve wider adoption and impact. Key lessons learned on gender and equity in implementation; constraints to technology uptake as well as factors facilitating spread of technologies will be critical in the design of future programming strategies under ASARECA Operational Plan 3.

Adoption studies are the most popular type of partial impact studies. The current adoption studies lay a foundation for future impact assessments for ASARECA supported interventions. Going forward, adoption studies will be institutionalized in ASARECA to provide a framework for collection of panel datasets on adoption over time. This will enable ASARECA and partners carry out in-depth analysis of various adoption variables including the behaviour of beneficiaries.

Full report will be available here  soon



Date Published: 
Wednesday, 15 March 2017