Sowing the seed: Adoption processes of good horticulture practices in northern Uganda

This publication by Wageningen University & Research and Integrated Seed Sector Development Africa aims to anwser the question: “How do farmers respond to the vegetable activities, and why?”

Uganda has enormous horticulture potential, due to distributed rainfall and moderate climate, and production is country-wide. Key limiting factors include poor infrastructure, low productivity and production, quality, food safety and traceability issue and counterfeit inputs especially seeds.

A farmer outreach program was developed to promote use of good quality seed and good horticulture practice. The program included trainings, farmer field days and radio programs. A combination of people implemented the activities mentioned to ensure strong uptake of the techniques, inputs and advice provided. There is a clear distinction between the ‘easy’ and ‘hard’ adopts. The easier things to put into practice are the more physical practices that are less knowledge intensive and have a fairly immediate return for farmers. The harder practices to adopt are those that are more knowledge intensive. Of all participants, one-third adopted 1 or more technologies.

Reasons why farmers might be adopting:
1) Seeing and believing “the impossible”;
2) Consistent, high quality trainig;
3) Access to continuous supports;
4) It’s the only option;
5) Collaboration;
6) Attraction of something new.

The program brings tangible and intagible value for farmers, including hope, self-respect and profitability. Most of these changes are too young to tell if they can become structural change. Suggestions for similar programs include monitoring the adoption processes and rates more carefully, setting up mobile phone training, training all agrodealers, careful consolidation, and tracking change and good data.

Further reading

The report can be found here, the PDF document here.