Relevance of informal institutions for achieving sustainable crop intensification in Uganda
- 175 Downloads
Informal institutions play an important role in the socio-cultural lives of rural communities in Uganda. However, little attention is given in research and development to understanding the influence of informal institutions in efforts to achieve Sustainable Crop Intensification (SCI). Such evidence is, however, pertinent to addressing low crop productivity by designing and implementing interventions that take into account the socio-cultural and institutional barriers and opportunities for SCI. This paper analyzes the influence of informal institutions on farmers’ access to land resources, financial resources, and farm inputs. The analysis is based on qualitative and quantitative data collected between January and May 2015 using 61 in-depth interviews, field surveys with 120 farmers and 18 gender-segregated focus group discussions in Eastern and Southwestern Uganda. Results indicate that informal institutions play a central role in enhancing farmers’ investment in SCI interventions by facilitating access to land through inheritance, land rentals, and labor sharing arrangements, although they are biased against non-clan members and female members of the communities. Informal institutions also enable access to financial resources by farmers at lower transaction cost compared to formal financial institutions. Yet, the informal institutions face challenges related to poor rule enforcement and limited financial reserves. The contribution of informal institutions in improving farmers’ access to (i) external farm inputs, (ii) serving as forums for knowledge sharing and (iii) regulating quality of farm inputs is minimal. Findings imply that development interventions could benefit from using informal institutions as entry points for investment in SCI and building on institutions’ strengths in influencing access to land and financial resources. Policies and programs that promote the SCI approach need to recognize the role of informal institutions for increased implementation and impact.
KeywordsCrop productivity Customary land tenure Gender equity Governance Rule enforcement Sub Saharan Africa
The study is part of a Policy Action for Sustainable Intensification of Ugandan Cropping Systems (PASIC) project funded by the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Uganda. We would like to thank all the participants for their kind cooperation. We also appreciate the support of Happy Providence, Elizabeth Asiimwe, Stella Nalule, and Richard Nabigunda in data collection, and Dennis Ochola in mapping the study areas. We would like to acknowledge the CGIAR Research Programs on Humid tropics and Roots, Tubers, and Bananas (RTB) for providing the institutional support and embedding the research.
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflict of interest
We would like to confirm that there are no conflicts of interest.
- Ashour, M., Billings, L., Gilligan, D., Hoel, J. B., & Karachiwalla, N. (2016). Do beliefs about agricultural inputs counterfeiting correspond with actual rates of counterfeiting?: Evidence from Uganda. IFPRI Discussion Paper No. 1552. Washington, D.C.: International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).Google Scholar
- Bernard, R. (2006). Research methods in anthropology: Qualitative and quantitative approaches. USA: AltaMira Press.Google Scholar
- Lillesø, J. P. B., Harwood, C., Derero, A., Graudal, L., Roshetko, J. M., Kindt, R., et al. (2017). Why institutional environments for agroforestry seed systems matter. Development Policy Review, 1–24. https://doi.org/10.1111/dpr.12233.
- Marambanyika, T., Beckedahl, H., & Ngetar, N. S. (2017). Community strategies to promote sustainable wetland-based food security in rural areas of Zimbabwe. GeoJournal, 82(5), 1–17.Google Scholar
- Maurer, K. (2014). Where is the risk? Is agricultural banking really more difficult than other sectors? In D. Köhn (Ed.), Finance for food: Towards new agricultural and rural finance (pp. 139–165). Berlin, Heidelberg: Springer.Google Scholar
- Nakayi, R., & Twesiime-Kirya, M. (2017). The legal, policy and institutional framework of land governance in Uganda: a critical analysis. Working Paper No. 38. Makerere University, pp. 96.Google Scholar
- Ostrom, E. (2005). Self-governance and forest resources. In P. Shah & V. Maitra (Eds), Terracotta reader: A market approach to the environment (pp. 131–155). New Delhi: Academic Foundation.Google Scholar
- Otsuka, K., & Larson, D. F. (2013). Towards a green revolution in sub-Saharan Africa. In K. Otsuka & D. F. Larson (Eds.), An African Green Revolution: Finding ways to boost productivity on small farms (pp. 281–300). Netherlands: Springer.Google Scholar
- Pretty, J. N. (1997). The sustainable intensification of agriculture. Natural Resources Forum, 21(4), 247–256.Google Scholar
- Singh, C. P., & Sharma, H. I. (2013). Peasants of Manipur: Agrarian change, land tenure and emerging patterns of re-peasantization in India. Agrarian South: Journal of Political Economy, 2(3), 291–314.Google Scholar