ASARECA, IFPRI in joint bid to map, track uptake of technologies
ASARECA and the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) are undertaking a joint initiative to explore innovative, spatial and cost-effective data collection methods to monitor the adoption and diffusion of agricultural technologies.
Simply put, the project: “Monitoring the Geospatial Diffusion of Agricultural Technologies”, is expected to generate data, knowledge and tools to help understand where and how far the agricultural technologies generated over time have been adopted by smallholder farmers and diffused over time and space.
The initiative is specifically targeting technologies promoted by ASARECA in Eastern and Central Africa, with the aim of making it easier to track the rate of adoption and the potential for use in scaling out by the CGIAR, ASARECA and other development organizations.
The project is collecting underlying data on technology adoption, diffusion, and performance from various sources, including participatory and crowd-sourced mapping, ICT-based surveys, as well as aggregated evidence from other research and development activities. IFPRI and ASARECA have agreed to focus on two specific technologies in four countries in the region namely: climbing beans in Rwanda and Burundi and QPM varieties in DR Congo and Tanzania.
By combining spatially-explicit agricultural modeling, monitoring with open agricultural GIS/remote sensing datasets, and utilizing cost-effective ICT-based survey techniques, the project is exploring scalable options for monitoring farmers’ use of agricultural technologies, whose output will provide opportunities on the geospatial assessment of technology adoption and diffusion, as well as their performance.
Despite continuous efforts and significant investments by agricultural development projects that introduce new technologies to smallholder farmers, there is little evidence that documents the extent of technology adoption and diffusion over time and space. Many efforts are underway to assess the impact of agricultural research and development investments at different scales and to rationalize farmers’ adoption of technologies, yet the majority of such studies are limited in scope and inherently resource-demanding to scale out.
ASARECA and IFPRI staff have already started developing specific prototypes for use in the field. These prototypes include a systemically organized inventory of agricultural technologies that have been introduced by ASARECA. The team has also generated preliminary mock maps showing the adoption and diffusion of two specific technologies. Laboratory sessions have also been held in which the various development domains were reviewed.