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Factors affecting farmers’ adoption of NERICA upland rice varieties: the case of a seed producing village in central Benin

Abstract

We investigated dissemination processes of New Rice for Africa (NERICA) varieties in central Benin in 2009 through structured interviews with 1,390 farmers and semi-structured interviews with 203 farmers. By 2009, 74 % of farmers belonging to a farmer group had experience of growing NERICA varieties, while only 29 % of farmers who did not belong to the group had such experience. This difference was attributed to approaches used by the public extension service, which has mainly worked with farmer groups as an entry point for NERICA dissemination. As women accounted for 70 % of farmers in farmer groups, this approach achieved gender equality on the adoption of NERICA varieties. The seed production business has become an incentive for farmers to grow NERICA varieties, as their seed may be purchased at higher than local market price by the public sector for further dissemination. Male farmers tended to sell greater amounts of NERICA varieties, as female farmers have limited land for their cultivation. Around 20 % of farmers had stopped growing NERICA varieties, because they did not receive proper information on their characteristics and the cultivation methods required. They therefore could not be involved in the seed business. Farmers who had never grown NERICA varieties reported that they had limited access to seed. Thus, opportunities to access technologies and business opportunities should be made equal for farmers, especially when they are introduced. In particular, farmer-to-farmer seed exchange needs to be enhanced.

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Acknowledgments

The research was funded by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan and the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries of Japan (Japan-CGIAR Fellowship Program 2009–2010). We express gratitude to farmers in Sowe village who contributed to this study and the staff of the Africa Rice Center. We are grateful to E. Fassounde and K. Azoma who supported our surveys in this village. We would like to thank anonymous reviewers and editors for their valuable comments.

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Correspondence to Tomonori Yokouchi.

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Yokouchi, T., Saito, K. Factors affecting farmers’ adoption of NERICA upland rice varieties: the case of a seed producing village in central Benin. Food Sec. 8, 197–209 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12571-015-0545-7

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Keywords

  • Farmer groups
  • Sub-Saharan Africa
  • Technology transfer
  • Upland NERICA
  • Rice