Understanding farmers’ indicators in climate-smart agriculture prioritization in the Southern Agricultural Growth Corridor of Tanzania (SAGCOT).
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Shikuku, Kelvin M.; Mwongera, Caroline; Winowiecki, Leigh; Twyman, Jennifer; Läderach, Peter. 2016. Understanding farmers’ indicators in climate-smart agriculture prioritization in the Southern Agricultural Growth Corridor of Tanzania (SAGCOT). Centro Internacional de Agricultura Tropical (CIAT), Cali, CO. 56 p. (Publicación CIAT No. 415)
Permanent link to cite or share this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10568/72826
In order to increase the uptake of climate-smart agriculture (CSA) technologies, it is important to understand the contexts in which farmers operate. Farmers use different indicators to decide whether or not to implement, what to implement, and where to implement specific technologies. Identifying and understanding such indicators can be helpful to efforts aiming to scale out adoption. The purpose of this study was to identify indicators that farmers use to prioritize agricultural innovations, in general, and CSA, in particular. Kilolo and Mbarali Districts lie in the Southern Agricultural Growth Corridor of Tanzania. Four participatory workshops, in the form of focus group discussions, were conducted in these two districts. In each district, a separate workshop was held with farmers from each agro-ecological zone (AEZ). Separate workshops were held with farmers and experts to explore differences between stakeholders and across the districts regarding perceptions of the status of soil fertility, prioritized practices, and ranking of indicators for prioritizing practices. Characterization of the AEZ, prioritization of practices, identification of indicators for prioritizing CSA, and selection of practices for demonstration as well as sites for the demonstration plots were done separately with men and women groups. Practices were prioritized using pairwise ranking, while indicators were scored on a rating scale from least important (1) to most important (5). Results showed that, both in Kilolo and Mbarali Districts, farmers perceive the status of soil fertility as poor. Up to 60 % of the workshop participants were not satisfied with the status of soil fertility in their farms. More than 80% of workshop participants in each of the four workshops reported that they practiced burning. The main reasons for burning were to save labour and time and to reduce crop–livestock conflict. The men’s group in the upland zone in Mbarali District ranked mulching, water harvesting, improved varieties, and crop rotation as the most important practices in respective order. In the lowlands, both men and women groups selected irrigation, chemical fertilizer, and crop rotation as most relevant practices. Awareness and use of the practices was low among participants in the two workshops. The most prioritized practices by the women’s group in the uplands, Kilolo District, were improved breeds and improved varieties. Intercropping was the least prioritized practice. The men’s group prioritized improved varieties and pesticides application, while irrigation and fertilizer application ranked lowest. In the lowlands, men’s and women’s groups prioritized irrigation, inorganic fertilizer and improved varieties as most important. Mulching and herbicides ranked as least prioritized. In addition, the men’s group from the lowland zone ranked pesticide application among the most important practices, while farmyard manure and zero grazing were ranked as least important. Important indicators that farmers identified to prioritize agricultural practices across the two districts included yield, income, cost, labour, availability of inputs, the status of soil fertility, and knowledge about the practices. Several practices were selected for the proposed CSA demonstration plots. The women’s group in the uplands zone in Mbarali prioritized improved crop varieties, water harvesting, mulching, and fertilizer application. The men’s group chose irrigation, herbicides, inorganic fertilizers, and seed selection. In the lowlands, improved crop varieties, inorganic fertilizer, farmyard manure, and mulching were selected by women. Men preferred seed preparation, right use of fertilizers (i.e., rate and type), integrated pest management, and improved storage. The selected important practices for demonstration in the uplands in Kilolo District were minimum tillage, soil testing, improved varieties, fertilizer application, and irrigation. Farmers in the lowlands chose production of clean seeds of different crops, such as tomatoes, beans, maize, and chillies. In addition, they were interested in learning about fertilizer application, pesticides application, and preparation and application of compost manure. The findings of this research have several implications for policy. First, there is need to increase awareness of farmers about CSA practices, particularly those that they prioritize. The finding that farmers perceive poor soil fertility but do not prioritize soil fertility management practices implies the need to promote adoption of such technologies. Thirdly, a bottom-up approach that involves working with farmers to prioritize agricultural practices suitable for their specific AEZ and preferred by either the men or women is important to inform investment of limited resources to increase food security and resilience to climate risks while minimizing trade-offs. The findings highlight indicators that influence farmers’ adoption of agricultural practices as well as constraints to implementation.