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New seeds for poor women? Reflections on the Multinational New Rice for Africa (Nerica) dissemination project in Sierra Leone

Egeltoft, Hanna LU (2011) UTVK01 20111
Department of Human Geography
Abstract
The introduction of new farming technologies, such as high-yielding varieties, has for long been regarded as one of the best strategies to increase agricultural production, and to combat poverty and food-insecurity. Since around 2005, New Rice for Africa (Nerica) is one of the main development strategies for combating such issues in Sierra Leone, and in many other African countries. Africa Rice Center, the funding agency, has promoted Nerica as a pro-poor and women-friendly technology although, very few impact and dissemination studies have been conducted on Nerica’s actual performance as well as of poor farmers’ perceptions of the technology.
This study aims to help fill such gaps by researching the dissemination and adoption... (More)
The introduction of new farming technologies, such as high-yielding varieties, has for long been regarded as one of the best strategies to increase agricultural production, and to combat poverty and food-insecurity. Since around 2005, New Rice for Africa (Nerica) is one of the main development strategies for combating such issues in Sierra Leone, and in many other African countries. Africa Rice Center, the funding agency, has promoted Nerica as a pro-poor and women-friendly technology although, very few impact and dissemination studies have been conducted on Nerica’s actual performance as well as of poor farmers’ perceptions of the technology.
This study aims to help fill such gaps by researching the dissemination and adoption process of Nerica in Sierra Leone, by a) studying what determines the process of adoption and, b) studying how poor women farmers’ actually experience Nericas. Two of the four districts under the Nerica dissemination project were targeted, Kambia and Moyamba as well as one district where Care Sierra Leone work with Nerica, Koinadugu. In total, 17 farmer associations were targeted and 41 people were interviewed, as well as other stakeholders, in a semi-structural manner both individually and in focus groups. Methods such as wealth-rankings and participant observation also formed part of the study.
With assistance from recognized adoption and diffusion theories, I show how adoption decisions on Nerica are affected by a) the dissemination of information and management, b) the technological attributes of Nerica as well as, c) farmers socio-economic conditions and constraints (i.e. access to labour, land, and extension services). I argue that farmers’ socio-economic conditions and constraints particularly, determine their initial access to Nericas. Since virtually all parts of the Multinational Nerica dissemination project in Sierra Leone is skewed in favour of the more socio-economic powerful: information dissemination, targeting strategies by extensions’ and reliance on local farmer associations. This has implications for poor women’s abilities to access Nerica since poor women often lack access to precisely the socio-economic conditions termed important to become targeted. Consequently, the women-friendly targeting aims of having a gender parity of 80 percent women and 20 percent men enrolling in the project have not been met. I argue that one of the explanations behind this is a low correlation between the high targeting aims of the project and extensions’ actual targeting strategies, since extensions’ are lacking directives and awareness on how to work with power dimensions and gender issues in the field. I therefore criticise the claim that Nericas are pro-women and pro-poor, in the case of Sierra Leone. Although, there exist positive examples on how Nerica for some women have been the catalyst for changing access to resources. (Less)
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author
Egeltoft, Hanna LU
supervisor
organization
course
UTVK01 20111
year
type
M2 - Bachelor Degree
subject
keywords
Nerica, Sierra Leone, adoption decisions, gender, dissemination, extension
language
English
id
1851886
date added to LUP
2011-03-23 11:16:59
date last changed
2011-03-23 11:16:59
@misc{1851886,
  abstract     = {The introduction of new farming technologies, such as high-yielding varieties, has for long been regarded as one of the best strategies to increase agricultural production, and to combat poverty and food-insecurity. Since around 2005, New Rice for Africa (Nerica) is one of the main development strategies for combating such issues in Sierra Leone, and in many other African countries. Africa Rice Center, the funding agency, has promoted Nerica as a pro-poor and women-friendly technology although, very few impact and dissemination studies have been conducted on Nerica’s actual performance as well as of poor farmers’ perceptions of the technology. 
    This study aims to help fill such gaps by researching the dissemination and adoption process of Nerica in Sierra Leone, by a) studying what determines the process of adoption and, b) studying how poor women farmers’ actually experience Nericas. Two of the four districts under the Nerica dissemination project were targeted, Kambia and Moyamba as well as one district where Care Sierra Leone work with Nerica, Koinadugu. In total, 17 farmer associations were targeted and 41 people were interviewed, as well as other stakeholders, in a semi-structural manner both individually and in focus groups. Methods such as wealth-rankings and participant observation also formed part of the study. 
    With assistance from recognized adoption and diffusion theories, I show how adoption decisions on Nerica are affected by a) the dissemination of information and management, b) the technological attributes of Nerica as well as, c) farmers socio-economic conditions and constraints (i.e. access to labour, land, and extension services). I argue that farmers’ socio-economic conditions and constraints particularly, determine their initial access to Nericas. Since virtually all parts of the Multinational Nerica dissemination project in Sierra Leone is skewed in favour of the more socio-economic powerful: information dissemination, targeting strategies by extensions’ and reliance on local farmer associations. This has implications for poor women’s abilities to access Nerica since poor women often lack access to precisely the socio-economic conditions termed important to become targeted. Consequently, the women-friendly targeting aims of having a gender parity of 80 percent women and 20 percent men enrolling in the project have not been met. I argue that one of the explanations behind this is a low correlation between the high targeting aims of the project and extensions’ actual targeting strategies, since extensions’ are lacking directives and awareness on how to work with power dimensions and gender issues in the field. I therefore criticise the claim that Nericas are pro-women and pro-poor, in the case of Sierra Leone. Although, there exist positive examples on how Nerica for some women have been the catalyst for changing access to resources.},
  author       = {Egeltoft, Hanna},
  keyword      = {Nerica,Sierra Leone,adoption decisions,gender,dissemination,extension},
  language     = {eng},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  title        = {New seeds for poor women? Reflections on the Multinational New Rice for Africa (Nerica) dissemination project in Sierra Leone},
  year         = {2011},
}