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Title: Uptake of agroforestry technologies among smallholder farmers in Zambia
Author: Kabwe, Gillian
Degree: Doctor of Philosophy
Institution: Lincoln University
Date: 2010
Item Type: Thesis
Abstract: Means for improving agricultural productivity among resource-poor smallholder farmers in Zambia has been high on the agenda of agricultural research in the last 20 years. Agroforestry research was initiated after the diagnostic and design survey of 1988 revealed that smallholder farmers were faced with poor soil fertility, lack of fodder for animals and lack of fuelwood, an energy carrier for cooking. In order to address these problems, researchers worked with farmers and have since developed agroforestry technologies such as improved fallows, biomass transfer, fodder banks, woodlots and indigenous fruit tree production. Since 1997, these technologies have been deliberately promoted through the public extension system, international and national research institutions, non-governmental organizations and community-based organizations. However, the level of adoption remains low and their impact is negligible on smallholder family livelihoods. Factors that affect uptake of agroforestry have not been fully understood partly because the few studies that have been completed on adoption of agroforestry were conducted too early in the research process and could only indicate agroforestry adoption potential based on promising research findings. Other more recent studies have concentrated on adoption among the farmers that have been involved with experimental research on-farm yet there are many smallholder farmers that have been involved with trialling agroforestry technologies apart from the farmer researchers. In addition, nearly all research has concentrated on the improved fallow technology only. This research investigated uptake of the five agroforestry technologies by conducting a field survey and face-to-face interviews of 388 randomly selected farming households in four districts of eastern Zambia where agroforestry is promoted and practiced. The results show that trialling of agroforestry technologies is low, however 44.9 percent of farmers had trialled improved fallow technology and 21.4 percent had trialled biomass transfers. Analysis of data for improved fallows and biomass transfer using logistic regression shows that trialling and adoption of improved fallows and biomass transfer were influenced by different factors including extension, tree seed availability, knowledge, skills, farmer interest, agroforestry training, club membership (farmer organisations), information sources, farming experience, household income, non-farm income and farm size. Another important finding was that despite the low trialling rates, retention rate among farmers who had trialled was high (over 70%). Therefore, understanding the factors influencing trialling is crucial to ensuring that many farmers take up agroforestry technologies. The thesis contributes to knowledge about technology diffusion processes. The Rogers’ model of diffusion is modified to provide a stronger explanation of the key factors that influence adoption.
Supervisor: Bigsby, Hugh
Cullen, Ross
Persistent URL (URI):
Appears in Collections:Department of Financial and Business Systems
Doctoral (PhD) Theses

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