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«Edited by Helene Bie Lilleør and Ulrik Lund-Sørensen Practical Action Publishing Ltd The Schumacher Centre, Bourton on Dunsmore, Rugby, ...»

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Outline of the book During the analyses and discussions of findings among the three teams of evaluators, it soon became clear that interesting synergies could emerge from joint work. Consequently, although the three teams have remained responsible for each of their study areas, there are also chapters in this book that are the result of joint efforts where we have sought to let the qualitative and quantitative data speak to each other, as it were.

In Part I, the implementers of RIPAT and the evaluation design are presented. To set the scene, the designers and implementers of the RIPAT intervention were asked to describe what they see as the core elements of the project and what a typical RIPAT project contains. Chapter 2 provides some insights into the motivation behind the RIPAT project design. In Chapter 3, the two main coordinators of the evaluation studies present key features of the quantitative and qualitative approaches and the data collection tools utilized in the three studies.

Part II of the book contains the various evaluation studies. An intervention such as RIPAT is never implemented in isolation. It is developed in and modified by a political, historical, and cultural context, which must be kept in mind when the project is evaluated. The regional history and the main paradigms in development policy are therefore analysed in relation to RIPAT 1 in Chapter 4 in order to give the reader a sense of what characterizes RIPAT in a development context, and what motivates and typifies the small-scale lower middle-class subsistence farmers targeted by the RIPAT project.

Chapter 5 describes the quantitative assessments of the degree of adoption of different technologies from the basket of options among participating households in two of the 6 Farmers’ ChoiCe four RIPAT projects. In addition, the resulting impacts on farmers’ food security and risk of poverty are estimated and analysed.

Chapter 6 contains the evaluation of the project implementation process, analysing such aspects as the relevance, effectiveness, efficiency, and sustainability of the RIPAT approach, and how it differs from the classic Farmer Field School set-up.

In Chapter 7, the focus is shifted away from the intervention itself and onto the targeted households. Just as it is important to understand the context of the society within which RIPAT was implemented, it is also important to understand the gender dynamics within the targeted households; husbands and wives have different responsibilities regarding rights over, and claims to crops, land, and livestock. Since RIPAT introduces new crops and technologies, it can shift or challenge the existing balance of power within a household, and this may influence the adoption process.

Then, in Chapter 8, the focus moves to the RIPAT farmer groups, their members, their characteristics, and the role they have come to play in local communities.

In Chapter 9, the adoption of the specific agricultural and social technologies promoted through the RIPAT intervention is analysed at all levels; that is, both the long-term adoption by the participating farmers and the adoption by or diffusion to non-participating farmers in the targeted villages.

In Chapter 10, the adoption of the most popular technology from the basket of options (the improved banana varieties) is carefully described and analysed in order to understand what have been the main drivers behind its diffusion to non-participating farmers.

In Chapter 11, the focus is broadened once again; RIPAT is analysed in its institutional context, and its institutional sustainability is discussed.

Finally, in Chapter 12, we provide a summary of the analyses and main findings of each chapter. We draw five overall conclusions identified by one or more of the three evaluation studies undertaken for the book.

References Anderson, J.R. and Feder, G. (2007) ‘Agricultural extension’, in R.E. Evenson and P. Pingali (eds) Handbook of Agricultural Economics, Vol. 3, pp. 2343–78, Elsevier, Amsterdam.

Braun, A., Jiggins, J., Röling, N., van den Berg, H. and Snijders, P. (2006). A Global Survey and Review of Farmer Field School Experiences, International Livestock Research Institute, Nairobi.

Davis, K., Nkonya, E., Kato, E., Mekonnen, D.A., Odendo, M. and Miiro, R. (2012) Impact of Farmer Field Schools on Agricultural Productivity and Poverty in East Africa, World Development 40(2): 402–13.

Feder, G., Murgai, R. and Quizon, J.B. (2004) ‘Sending farmers back to school: The impact of Farmer Field Schools in Indonesia’, Review of Agricultural Economics 26(1): 45–62.

Gautam, M. (2000) Agricultural Extension: The Kenya Experience: An Impact Evaluation, World Bank, Washington, D.C.

OECD (2010) Measuring Aid to Agriculture, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, Paris.

OECD (2012) The Mutual Review of Development Effectiveness in Africa: Promise & Performance, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, Paris.

Van den Berg, H. and Jiggins, J. (2007) ‘Investing in farmers: The impacts of Farmer Field Schools in relation to integrated pest management’, World Development 35(4): 663–86.

World Bank (2008) World Development Report 2008: Agriculture for Development, The World Bank, Washington, D.C.

CHAPTER 2 Presentation of RIPAT: core components and project implementation Catherine W. Maguzu, RECODA, Dominick Ringo, RECODA, and Jens M. Vesterager, Rockwool Foundation 8 Farmers’ ChoiCe In this chapter, the developers of the RIPAT intervention describe its main characteristics.

Through a participatory extension approach, they have sought to develop a sustainable, low-cost solution to the challenges faced by small-scale farmers. The chapter explains how RIPAT transfers a basket of agricultural technology options, including various crops and livestock, to farmer groups. All technology options are implemented in the groups to allow for joint, experiential, participatory learning. Each individual farmer subsequently chooses which options to adopt on his or her own farm. The project relies on close collaboration with village leaders and local government authorities to ensure not only immediate and sustainable adoption of the intervention among the RIPAT farmer groups, but also subsequent adoption by non-RIPAT farmers in the local communities.

2.1 Introduction RIPAT is an economic development intervention that aims to close the agricultural technology gap as a means of improving livelihoods and self-support among impoverished small-scale farmers in Tanzania. Current crop and livestock productivity in Africa is far below the maximum level obtainable. However, bridging the ‘technology gap’1 and thereby improving agricultural practices is not a simple process. In Africa, soil, climate, and socio-economic conditions can vary enormously over just short distances.

Consequently, the most suitable farming methods and technologies vary from village to village, and ‘one size fits all’ recommendations have often failed to benefit farmers in the past.

In Tanzania and many other developing countries, new agricultural technologies and methods have traditionally been promoted to rural farmers using a top-down agricultural extension system such as the Training and Visit (T&V) extension system. This was originally conceived as a service to ‘extend’ research-based knowledge and technology to the rural sector to improve the lives of farmers. The T&V system was promoted by the World Bank for more than two decades in over 50 developing countries, and it dominated agricultural extension in Africa in the 1980s and 1990s, but it largely failed to achieve the hoped-for results in most of the continent (Anderson et al., 2006; Gautam, 2000). Today it is recognized that much of the knowledge that farmers need, and also the best practices for an area, must be developed locally, with close cooperation between farmers and technical experts (Braun et al., 2006). The Farmer Field School (FFS) approach, a modified version of which is used in the RIPAT projects, is a participatory extension approach developed to respond to farmers’ needs and demands, and it represents a shift towards participatory and group-based approaches (Gallagher, 2003; Braun and Duveskog, 2008).

The RIPAT intervention was intended to find sustainable, low-cost solutions to the challenges faced by small-scale farmers by providing proper tools, techniques, and information in a participatory ‘help to self-help’ approach. RIPAT is implemented by the Tanzanian non-governmental organization Research, Community and Organizational Development Associates (see Chapter 6, section 6.4 for details about RECODA). As a result of years of work within agricultural research and consultancy, and using lessons learned in a pilot project leading to the initial formulation of RIPAT, RECODA had accumulated valuable expertise on appropriate agricultural technologies for use by rural farmers in the targeted areas of northern Tanzania. Cultivation of improved banana varieties, conservation agriculture techniques and crop/livestock integration were identified by RECODA as particularly promising technologies for dissemination. In formulating the Presentation oF riPat first RIPAT project, RECODA was also aware of the importance of a set-up that ensured local ownership and relevance, believing that lasting and sustainable change only comes about if the participants take full responsibility for their own development.

This chapter describes the RIPAT concept as it currently exists, and explains the objectives of the project interventions. This is followed by a brief outline of the core components of the RIPAT intervention. The chapter then describes the settings of the four RIPAT projects conducted to date, and lists some of the refinements made in the project approach in the light of experience from RIPAT 1, implemented during 2006–09 (for detailed information about RIPAT, see Rockwool and RECODA’s RIPAT manual).

2.2 The RIPAT concept RIPAT attempts to promote self-confidence and to create a vision of, and a belief in, a better future – a ‘yes we can’ spirit – among participating individuals and communities.

This is a crucial element in the RIPAT approach, based on a belief that helping individual farmers and communities to help themselves – ‘help to self-help’ – can achieve far more in the long term than the distribution of material aid. The free services and handouts that often feature in development aid projects can provide only a short-term stop-gap, while at the same time such aid can create a sense of donor dependency and an acceptance of the idea that poverty can only be alleviated through outside help. Consequently, RIPAT has focused not on providing solutions to immediate needs, but rather on facilitating an understanding of how long-term solutions to the problems of poverty and hunger can be arrived at through farmers’ own efforts and the use of locally available resources.

A typical RIPAT project targets 8–10 villages. Two groups are established in each village, each group comprising 30–35 farmers. Through the RIPAT project, farmers are offered a range of improved farming methods and technologies – a ‘basket of technology options’.

These are explained and demonstrated on a participatory basis at the group field, which is used as a training and demonstration plot, and on individual farmers’ fields. Farmers evaluate the ideas and decide for themselves which technologies and methods they want to implement on their own farms. The groups meet weekly, and the progress made with the project crops or livestock is followed and discussed throughout the project period.

With guidance from a RECODA facilitator, the farmers learn about and try out the new ideas, and fine-tune the methods to suit local conditions. The aim is that the project concept and technologies should spread from farmer to farmer in the targeted villages, and also to other villages through the government agricultural extension system and trained ‘super-farmers’ – people who have been members of RIPAT groups themselves and who have subsequently received additional training.

The RIPAT approach uses the following three key elements:

1. Creation of a vision of a better future through careful sensitization of communities to the potential for change and mobilization of farmers to take charge of their own development.

2. Establishment of farmer groups with good leadership to enable the transfer of appropriate agricultural technologies through participatory demonstrations using experimental and reflective learning techniques.

3. Close collaboration with local government authorities, village leaders, and government agricultural extension officers to ensure the continuation of the project and its further spread to the wider community.

10 Farmers’ ChoiCe The overall goal of RIPAT is to contribute to the development of socially and economically sustainable livelihoods among poor rural communities. For the farm families who participate directly in a RIPAT project, the objective is to improve their small-scale farming systems and hence to increase food security in the household and alleviate poverty. This objective should ideally be achieved during the three-year intervention period, but continued diffusion of best practices from farmer to farmer is required after the end of the project for larger communities to be reached.

Combining top-down and bottom-up extension approaches One of the main characteristics of the RIPAT concept is the combination of top-down and bottom-up agricultural extension approaches. Top-down approaches to agricultural extension mainly focus on technology transfer and training of farmers by experts. This was the basis of the classic T&V approach mentioned in the introduction. The bottom-up approach, with a core focus on facilitating the active involvement of farmers through participatory and experiential learning and problem-solving techniques, is exemplified by the FFS approach.

The top-down approach The classic method used for agricultural extension, such as the T&V approach, is primarily based centrally. Basically, it consists of vertical, one-way communication for transferring

information to farmers. The flow of information is:

–  –  –

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