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Turning to the adoption of the agricultural technologies, Gausset concludes that the adoption of perennial crops (bananas and trees) has largely been successful; the improved banana varieties in particular have been ‘a genuine success at all levels of adoption’. The degree of adoption is more varied when it comes to other elements from the basket of options, such as conservation agriculture and improved annual crops. Most of the latter have been an adoption success at all three levels – i.e. non-participants have also adopted the crops – and in many cases these new improved varieties complement the traditional crops. Conservation agriculture, however, is a complex holistic technology; it has been adopted to some extent by many RIPAT participants on a permanent basis, but it has not spread to non-participants in the local communities, mainly due to its complexity and the cost of experimenting on an individual rather than on a collective basis, as is done in the RIPAT groups. Overall, Gausset finds that both the social and agricultural technologies introduced through RIPAT have been well adopted by the project participants, and with a high degree of permanence, and that, in addition, some of the agricultural technologies have also been adopted by non-participants.
In Chapter 10, Gausset and Larsen take a closer look at what characterizes those farmers who have adopted the improved variety of bananas – the single most successful agricultural technology introduced – among both RIPAT and non-RIPAT households in RIPAT 1 villages. They use findings from the qualitative adoption study to inform and guide their quantitative data analysis, which draws on the large-scale household survey.
They estimate that, by January 2011, approximately one in eight non-RIPAT farmers in RIPAT 1 villages had adopted the improved banana variety. They find that farmers endowed with natural (land and water), financial, and human resources are ‘in a better summary and ConCluding remarks 139 position to take advantage of the opportunities offered by this new and profitable crop’.
Such farmers adopt the improved banana varieties faster and on a larger scale than the poorer and more marginalized farmers. However, this is not to say that the farmers with fewer resources do not adopt the improved banana technology, but rather that they do so on smaller plots of land and at a slower pace. The improved bananas, being one of the options in the basket of technologies, are thus well suited for a wide range of farmers who all benefit from adopting the crop according to their available resources.
As RIPAT evolved and as several of the agricultural and social technologies introduced were adopted by RIPAT farmers, and to some extent by non-RIPAT farmers, a need arose for the development of sustainable institutional structures to support the RIPAT concept, a point highlighted by Aben, Duveskog, and Friis-Hansen in Chapter 11. They describe how RECODA has taken two main paths towards the promotion of such institutional sustainability. One is the establishment of the RECODA Academy to strengthen links with the local governmental agricultural extension system by offering short courses in the RIPAT approach to instruct both extension officers and super-farmers in how to bridge the technology gap among small-scale farmers. By deliberately bringing local extension officers and RIPAT 3 and 4 super-farmers together on courses, Aben et al. argue that RECODA has succeeded in facilitating a productive partnership between the two groups, as they have now jointly started new RIPAT-like farmer groups in their extension wards in Karatu and Korogwe districts.
The other path chosen by RECODA for strengthening institutional sustainability is the director’s ongoing advocacy efforts with local government officials at all levels, ensuring that they understand and accept the activities undertaken in the RIPAT model – and, according to the findings of Aben et al., the director has been successful in this respect, as the RIPAT project is perceived by government officials as empowering farmers and increasing their food security.
Concluding remarks We suggest that there are five overall and largely overlapping conclusions to be drawn from the three analyses – the impact study, the implementation study, and the context and adoption study – of the RIPAT intervention as an approach to agricultural extension and technology adoption among small-scale farmers in Tanzania.
First, both the implementation study and the context and adoption study point to how the pragmatic and flexible approach that was used, both in drawing on different extension methodologies and in integrating local needs, resources, and conditions into the intervention design, has contributed to the achievements of RIPAT and to the sustained adoption of the technologies introduced. This pragmatic approach has largely been possible because RIPAT, being at a pilot stage, has continuously undergone design amendments, allowing RECODA and other stakeholders to identify strengths and weaknesses in the intervention; lessons learned from one RIPAT project have been used to further strengthen the intervention in subsequent RIPAT projects.
Second, all three evaluation studies point to the important element of choice among participating farmers over which technologies to adopt and to what extent. High levels of initial and sustained adoption of the agricultural and social technologies introduced as part of the RIPAT concept are found among the participating households. The implementation and adoption studies suggest that this may in part be explained by the 140 Farmers’ ChoiCe group-based technology adoption, which ensures joint learning, collectively enforced work ethics, and reduced individual risks associated with testing new technologies.
Third, the impact study finds substantial positive effects on the level of food security among participating households, in terms of having enough food during the typical hungry season, the consumption of animal proteins, and examples of considerable reduced stunting among some children less than five years of age, which is likely to be caused by improved nutrition. There are no measurable effects on poverty, but there are indications of a shift in the sources and uses of agricultural income. These quantitative findings are backed by qualitative findings, in particular in the implementation study, which found that farmers reported having more diverse diets and being less likely to suffer harvest failure. Government officials also reported that RIPAT farmers had become more food secure, had decreased their casual labour activities, and had become more empowered.
Fourth, empowerment has occurred not only on an individual or household level, but also at group level. The vast majority of RIPAT 1 groups were still active more than one year after the project came to an end, and there are repeated accounts of how some of these groups have grown into entities that have a say on agricultural matters in their villages. RECODA is perceived locally as an effective and responsive implementing organization with competent and dedicated staff who are well known and respected for their work, and this is likely to have contributed positively to the sustainability and role of the RIPAT groups in their communities.
Fifth, the further adoption by non-RIPAT participants of the full RIPAT concept, encompassing both the agricultural and social technologies, has been limited. The adoption and implementation studies report that several of the agricultural technologies contained in the basket of options have been adopted by non-RIPAT farmers; in particular, the improved banana variety has been adopted by non-RIPAT farmers to a substantial degree. However, the social technology, i.e. the creation of farmer groups for joint experimentation and learning, has not been adopted by non-RIPAT farmers without external facilitation.
Through RIPAT, RECODA has succeeded in closing the technology gap among the targeted small-scale farmers to such an extent that their food security has improved significantly. Although the intervention has not resulted in the adoption of the full RIPAT package among non-RIPAT farmers, the latter have adopted several elements from the set of introduced agricultural technologies. While part of the success that RIPAT has achieved may be attributable to the dedication and enthusiasm of the RECODA staff in implementing the project, the evaluation suggests that its management structure, with a focus on strong group organization, the integration of local needs and resources into the project design, and a pragmatic combination of traditional and participatory extension approaches were also important contributing factors.
ANNEX 1 Profiles of RIPAT projects Catherine W. Maguzu and Dominick Ringo, RECODA Arumeru District (RIPAT 1 and RIPAT 2) Arumeru District is in Arusha region. It is divided into three major agro-ecological zones.
The villages involved in RIPAT 1 are all situated in the mid-lowlands on the southern side of Mount Meru. The RIPAT 2 villages are situated on the south-western side of Mount Meru and are drier because they are on the leeward side of the mountain.
The Highlands The Highland area is densely populated. The altitude ranges from 1,400 to 1,800 metres above sea level, and the annual rainfall is about 1,000 mm or more. Both traditional and modern farming methods are practised. The major crops are coffee, bananas, maize, vegetables, avocado, cassava, Irish potatoes, sweet potatoes, and French beans. Livestock include cattle, goats, and sheep, kept in a semi-intensive zero-grazing system. The main soil is volcanic, with some patches of red soil. The forest, which is managed for water catchment, covers a large area.
The Midlands The altitude ranges between 1,000 and 1,350 metres above sea level. The area is moderately densely populated. The Midlands receive 700 mm or more annual rainfall.
The major activities are crop and livestock production; annual crops dominate, but there is some coffee and banana.
The Lowlands The Lowland belt is 800–1,000 metres above sea level, and has a moderately undulating landscape. It has compacted clay loam soil and receives 400–700 mm annual rainfall, although this is not well distributed. The population density is relatively low. Most rivers and canals from the Highlands distribute water to this zone. The district has six major perennial rivers: the Burka, Kikuletwa, Nduruma, Ngaramtoni, Ngarenyuki, and Temi;
some rivers that used to be perennial have become seasonal. Crops grown include horticultural crops, maize, beans, lablab, and cassava. The livestock system is free-range, with large numbers of cattle, goats, and sheep.
Karatu District (RIPAT 3) Karatu District is in Arusha region and can be divided into three zones – Uplands, Midlands and Lowlands – with altitudes ranging from 1,000 to 1,900 metres above sea level. In the Highlands around Karatu, the vegetation becomes more lush and green.
Extensive arable fields cover the slopes of the volcano and the land around Karatu town.
142 Farmers’ ChoiCe Rainfall Rainfall is bimodal, falling between October and December and between March and June. Rainfall ranges from 300 to 700 mm per year in the semi-arid zone and from 700 to 1,200 mm for the sub-humid zone.
Soils Soils vary depending on their origin and location. Shallow soils with low fertility are found on the summits and slopes. Clay soils of moderate fertility are found in the valleys, on gently rounded summits, and on slopes overlying soft gneiss rock. In the Ngorongoro area, where there are moderately steep foothill ridges of volcanic cones, lava plains, and foothills, the soils are of volcanic origin and predominantly clay. Some of these soils are very shallow, but they are very fertile.
Korogwe District (RIPAT 4)Korogwe District is in Tanga region.
Topography The terrain is made up of the Usambara Mountains, which form part of the Eastern Arc Mountains and rise to over 1,200 metres above sea level, and the Pangani river basin. The Pangani river and its tributaries – the Mbeza, Kizara, and Vuluni – form an important drainage system, and there are also other rivers including the Mkomazi, Soni, and Lwengera. The Pangani river is an important source of hydroelectricity and irrigation water.
Rainfall The rains range from 2,000 mm on the mountains to 500 mm in the lower areas, with most of the rain being carried on the south-east monsoon winds that originate in the Indian Ocean. The leeward side of the mountain is drier because of the effect of the mountain. There are two rainy seasons: February to May and September to November.
Agro-ecological zones The district can be divided into three zones. The mountainous zone rises to between 900 and 1,200 metres above sea level and has an annual rainfall of 1,000–2,000 mm per year. Major crops include bananas, beans, coffee, tea, and cardamom; livestock are also reared here.
The lower wetland zone lies at an altitude of 600–800 metres above sea level and has rainfall of 800–1,000 mm per year. Several rivers drain this area. The major crops include maize, paddy rice, beans, citrus fruits, and cashew nuts. Livestock are also kept. This area has the potential for irrigation using the water from the rivers draining the area.
The semi-arid zone lies 400–700 metres above sea level, and has less than 600 mm of rain annually. Crops grown include millet, cassava, cotton, paddy rice, and cashew nuts.
ANNEX 2 Banana cultivation in the RIPAT projects Dominick Ringo, RECODA, and Jens M. Vesterager, Rockwool Foundation Why?
Banana is one of the crops identified by RECODA as having considerable potential for food security, income, and environmental improvement. It offers several advantages compared with other crops: for example, 1) it is both a food and a cash crop and can give fruit throughout the year; 2) it provides employment all year round – unlike annual crops such as maize, which has very seasonal labour requirements; 3) it provides higher food production per area per year (the unit return) compared with maize and many other crops; 4) it fits very well with crop–livestock integration, where animals provide manure and the banana by-products are used for animal feed; 5) it is a perennial crop, which improves production stability over the years in areas that have a large variation in rainfall; 6) it improves the environment by providing permanent soil coverage.