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Africa RISING at #Tropentag2019

POSTER #1: Calling for mechanization: farmers’ willingness to pay for small-scale maize shelling machines in Tanzania

Bekele Kotu, International Institute of Tropical Agriculture

We conducted a study in three districts of central Tanzania with the aim of assessing farmers’ willingness to pay (WTP) for two type of small-scale (diesel-powered and electric-powered) maize shelling machines and identifying factors affecting their WTP. We collected data from randomly selected 400 farmers constituting about equal number of both gender categories. We considered three mechanization approaches namely: (1) the rental service model (RSM), (2) the group ownership model (GOM), (3) the private ownership model (POM). We used interval estimation econometric model to analyze the data. The results show that:

  • The mean WTPs under all of the business models and machines types are at least equal to the market rates; the exception is the private model for the diesel-powered machine in which WTP lies far below the market rate.
  • WTP is lower for households having relatively abundant labor while it is higher for those experiencing higher labor cost.
  • Men are more likely willing to pay than women in the case of private ownership model which requires higher capital.
  • Older people are less likely to pay for shelling machines than young ones.
  • Households having more wealth are more willing to pay in the case of the private and the group business models.

PRESENTATION #2: Exploring smallholder farm decisions through typologies and serious gaming

Mirja Michalschek, Wageningen University and Research

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While scientists and businesses keep developing ingenious technical ‘solutions’ for agricultural challenges in development contexts, technology adoption by smallholder farmers remains low. It seems as if scientists and farmers hold a different understanding of the problem, of the solution or about the enabling environment for technology adoption. In order to better understand how farm-level decisions come about, through this study we explored dynamics of land allocation decisions among smallholder farm households in northern Ghana, using typologies and serious gaming.

We employed a statistical farm and a participatory farmer typology, which revealed differences in farm resource endowment and in individual farm-related interests and constraints respectively. We then developed a closed, experimental serious game to determine the power-backing of individual interests as well as negotiation dynamics in order to explain how divergent individual interests may translate into household-level decisions. The serious game simulated the process of a household-level negotiation on land allocation between a male household head, a wife and the eldest son of a hypothetical medium resource endowed farm household.

Contrary to the general local cultural narrative, we found that the wife and the son had a significant influence on the household-level decision outcome. The household-level outcome was, furthermore, more profitable as well as agro-biologically and nutritionally more diverse and productive as compared to the household heads’ individual suggestion. Our finding highlights that the integration of diverse perspectives led to a robust ‘solution’, supported by all stakeholders. Scientist and businesses may hence improve the identification of problems and solutions by means of participatory and gender transformative approaches. Concerning the negotiation process, power was found to be exerted, withheld or overruled and it seemed as if, even when power was withheld or overruled, it still had an importance in time and across decision-domains – a feature of complex rather than linear systems. One has to consider that non-adoption of a technology might be the best choice for a farmer, given his or her interests, priorities and understanding of whole-systems consequences. In conclusion, scientists and businesses may provide better farmer support when acknowledging household-level decision-making dynamics as the core enabling environment for any proposed change.

PRESENTATION #3: Gender- and age-biased land tenure systems and their impact on sustainable agricultural intensification

Gundula Fischer, International Institute of Tropical Agriculture

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Equitable outcomes are a critical component of working towards sustainability in agriculture. How does sustainable agricultural intensification’s tenet of increased productivity on the same area of land relate to prevailing gender- and age-biased land tenure systems? Does the emphasis on a non-expansion of agricultural land imply redistributing control over land and the benefits gained from it to facilitate equitable outcomes?

These questions guided a comparative qualitative study in intensification contexts in matrilineal and patrilineal communities in Ghana and Malawi. Using Kabeer’s framework of institutional analysis, we go beyond a focus on the household to include other domains (community, market and government processes) that shape smallholders’ access to land.

We conducted a total of 102 semi-structured interviews and focus group discussions with male and female community leaders, market and government actors as well as household members. They reveal where respondents observed recent changes in agricultural land allocation and if/how they would imagine a fair redistribution of land. Possible pathways to redistribution mentioned by respondents include more equitable land inheritance patterns which village heads would champion in their families and communities, government control of land prices to ease market access for less well-off social groups, and gender/youth-sensitive legal education in rural areas. In the household domain, some interviewees proposed earlier land transfers from one generation to the next. Questions on a potential redistribution were also met with resistance, especially among advantaged landholders who justified prevailing systems. In general, limiting agricultural land expansion was seen as fostering gender imbalances if it is not mediated.

We conclude that investments in agricultural intensification should facilitate equitable outcomes by supporting consensus-based institutional changes and creating positive synergies between multiple domains.

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Jonathan Odhong
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