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Understanding the Dynamics and Diversity of Smallholder Farmers’ Innovation Processes and Agricultural Innovation Systems in Uganda

Shibata, R. (2020) Understanding the Dynamics and Diversity of Smallholder Farmers’ Innovation Processes and Agricultural Innovation Systems in Uganda. PhD thesis, University of Reading

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To link to this item DOI: 10.48683/1926.00104249

Abstract/Summary

Smallholder farmers’ innovations are very important for economic development and poverty alleviation in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), where the majority of the population relies on smallholding subsistence agriculture. Fuller understanding of smallholders’ innovation systems and processes is a means to improve low innovation uptake and to address the mismatch that exists between innovation support and farmers’ needs. This research was conducted to explore the innovation systems and processes employed by smallholders with a diverse range of socioeconomic and environmental characteristics in Uganda. The study used a wide range of research tools including household and individual questionnaire surveys to 531 farmers, Focus Group Discussions (FGDs) with 166 farmers, in-depth interviews with 90 randomly selected farmers and participatory workshops. Smallholders’ AISs have been found to be highly complex and intertwined with various factors, knowledge and information systems, intra-household dynamics in decision-making authority, and social networks all of which are involved in innovation processes. The knowledge and information systems are influenced by the farmers’ access to and perceptions of AIS actors, which then affects the utilisation of the knowledge. The intrahousehold decision-making authority is determined by gendered roles and responsibilities, reflected in gendered enterprises, and intra-household production asset allocation. Furthermore, low levels of innovation uptake were found to be related to unequal access to innovation networks and exclusive innovation systems. The original contribution of this study includes empirical evidence that innovation is not only a technical but a social process, and socioeconomically and environmentally different farmers have different innovation systems and different experiences in their innovation processes. This provides a process-based view of AIS with “soft systems thinking” and can enhance the existing AIS framework with pro-poor and inclusive insights.

Item Type:Thesis (PhD)
Thesis Supervisor:Cardey, S. and Dorward, P.
Thesis/Report Department:School of Agriculture, Policy & Development
Identification Number/DOI:https://doi.org/10.48683/1926.00104249
Divisions:Life Sciences > School of Agriculture, Policy and Development > Department of Agri-Food Economics & Marketing
ID Code:104249
Date on Title Page:September 2019

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