Improving technology delivery mechanisms: Lessons from bean seed systems research in eastern and central Africa

Abstract

This article addresses concerns of technology dissemination for small farmers, specifically focusing on the diffusion of new varieties of a self-pollinating crop. Based on bean seed systems research in Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, and the Democratic Republic of Congo, it shows four commonly-held basic assumptions to be false, namely that: first, small-scale farmers do not buy bean seed; they mainly rely on their own stocks or obtain seed from other farmers; second, that small-scale farmers cannot afford to buy seed of newly introduced bean varieties or will not risk it; third, that farmer seed networks function efficiently in varietal diffusion; and lastly, that a good variety will sell itself. Grounded in the reality under which small farmers actually operate, the article offers recommendations for improving the delivery of newly introduced bean cultivars by NARS and seed suppliers. Most of the recommendations are relevant to other self-pollinating crops.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

References

  1. Almekinders, C., N. P. Louwaars, and G. H. de Gruijn (1994). “Local seed systems and their importance for an improved seed supply in developing countries,” Euphytica 78: 207–216.

    Google Scholar 

  2. Baert, T. (1992). “La multiplication, la diffusion et l'impact d'une nouvelle variété,” in Actes du sixième seminaire régional sur l'amélioration du haricot dans la région des Grands Lacs, Kigali 21–25 Janvier 1991. CIAT African Workshop Series no. 17. Butare, Rwanda.

  3. Centro Internacional Agricultura Tropical (CIAT) (1991). Annual Report. Bean Program. Cali, Colombia: CIAT pp. 377–379

    Google Scholar 

  4. David, S. (1997). Dissemination and Adoption of New Technology: A Review of Experiences in Bean Research in Eastern and Central Africa, 1992–1996. CIAT Occasional Publications Series no. 21. CIAT, Kampala, Uganda.

    Google Scholar 

  5. David, S., S. Kasozi, and C. Wortmann (1997). An Investigation of Alternative Bean Seed Marketing Channels in Uganda. CIAT Occasional Publications Series no. 19. CIAT, Kampala, Uganda.

    Google Scholar 

  6. David, S., C. Wortmann, S. Kasozi, and M. Mugisha-Mutetikka (1997). “Using trial follow-up surveys to assess varietal adoption: the case of beans,” African Crop Science Journal 5(3): 285–294.

    Google Scholar 

  7. David, S. (1996). “Local bean seed systems in Uganda: preliminary results from surveys in two districts,” in S. David (ed.), Alternative Approaches to Bean Seed Production and Distribution in Eastern and Southern Africa: Proceedings of a Working Group Meeting, Kampala, Uganda, 10–13 October 1994. Network on Bean Research in Africa, Workshop Series no. 32, CIAT, Kampala, Uganda.

    Google Scholar 

  8. Grisley, W. (1994). “The bean revolution,” CERES. 149, 26(5): 27–30.

    Google Scholar 

  9. Grisley, W., D. Mwesigwa, and J. Kisakye (1993). Adoption of Climbing Beans Following the Introduction of New Varieties from On-farm Trials in the Kabale District. Unpublished manuscript, Kawanda Agricultural Research Institute, Kampala, Uganda.

  10. Hoogendijk, M. and S. David (1997). Bean Production Systems in Mbale, Uganda with Emphasis on Varietal Diversity and the Adoption of New Climbing Varieties. CIAT Occasional Publications Series no. 20. CIAT, Kampala, Uganda.

    Google Scholar 

  11. Janssen, W., C. Luna, and M. Duque (1992). “Small-farmer behavior towards bean seed: evidence from Colombia,” Journal of Applied Seed Production 10: 43–51.

    Google Scholar 

  12. Mafuru, J., L. Mukandala, J. Maimu, and C. Bosch (1996). “Adoption and diffusion of Lyamungu 90 bean variety in Kagera Region,” Tanzania. Field Note no. 58, Farming Systems Research Program, Lake Zone and Tanzanian National Beans Research Program.

  13. Pachico, D. and J. Ashby (1983). “Stages in technology diffusion among small Farmers: Biological and management screening of a new rice variety in Nepal,” Agricultural Administration 13: 23–37.

    Google Scholar 

  14. Projet Agricole de Karama (PAK) (1992). Promotion du haricot volubile dans la commune de Karama. Project Report, September 1992. Gikongoro, Rwanda.

    Google Scholar 

  15. Projet Agricole de Muganza (PAMU) (1993). Rapport Annuel 1992. Butare, Rwanda.

  16. Rice, E., M. Smale, and J. L. Blanco (1997). “Farmers' use of improved seed selection practices in Mexican maize: Evidence and issues from the Sierra de Santa Marta.” CIMMYT Economics Working Paper 97–03. Mexico, D.F.: CIMMYT.

    Google Scholar 

  17. Sperling, L., U. Scheidegger, and R. Buruchara (1996). “Designing seed systems with small farmers: Principles derived from bean research in the Great Lakes Region of Africa.” Agricultural Administration (Research and Extension) Network Paper no. 60. Overseas Development Institute, London.

    Google Scholar 

  18. Sperling, L. (summary) (1994). Analysis of Bean Seed Channels in the Great Lakes Region: South Kivu, DRC, Southern Rwanda and select bean growing zones of Burundi. CIAT African Occasional Publications Series no. 13. CIAT/RESAPAC, Butare, Rwanda.

    Google Scholar 

  19. Sperling, L. and M. Loevinsohn (1993). “The dynamics of adoption: Distribution and mortality of bean varieties among small farmers in Rwanda,” Agricultural Systems. 41: 441–453.

    Google Scholar 

  20. Sperling, L., G. Randrianmapita, E. Rutagengwa, B. Ntabomvura, L. Mubera, and L. Uwimana (1992). “Etude de l'adoption et l'impact de variétés améliorées au milieu rural,” in Actes du sixième seminaire régional sur l'amélioration du haricot dans la région des Grands Lacs, Kigali 21–25 Janvier 1991. CIAT African Workshop Series no. 17. Butare, Rwanda.

  21. Sperling, L., U. Scheidegger, W. Graf, A. Nkundabashaka, and B. Ntabomvura (1992). “Mécanismes pour la diffusion des haricots volubiles,” in Actes du sixième seminaire régional sur l'amélioration du haricot dans la région des Grands Lacs, Kigali 21–25 Janvier 1991. CIAT African Workshop Series no. 17. Butare, Rwanda.

  22. Thiele, G. (1999). “Informal potato seed systems in the Andes: why are they important and what should we do with them?,” World Development 27(1): 83–99.

    Google Scholar 

  23. Tripp, R., D. J. Walker, A. Opoku-Apau, A. A. Dankyi, and L. L. Delimini (1998). Seed Management by Small-scale Farmers in Ghana: A Study of Maize and Cowpea Seed in the Brong-Ahafo and Volta Regions. NRI Bulletin 68. Chatham, UK: Natural Resources Institute.

    Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Affiliations

Authors

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

David, S., Sperling, L. Improving technology delivery mechanisms: Lessons from bean seed systems research in eastern and central Africa. Agriculture and Human Values 16, 381–388 (1999). https://doi.org/10.1023/A:1007603902380

Download citation

  • Beans
  • East and central Africa
  • Seed systems
  • Technology adoption
  • Technology diffusion