Agricultural innovations: which farmer(s) should we target?

Project overview

Project lead: Erwin Bulte, Wageningen University

Start date: 24 July 2015

End date: 1 April 2016

Research Council project page

This project investigated if the selection of farmers chosen to promote new agricultural technologies has an effect and impact on technology diffusion and development.

In the case study country of the Democratic Republic of Congo, local field officers researched current selection methods, identified limitations in reaching vulnerable subgroups and promoted the use of improved crop varieties. The results of the study were used to design an improved selection method which was then implemented in a selection of randomly chosen villages. Detailed data were collected before and after intervention at both village and household level to allow detailed insights into technology diffusion through social networks.

The overarching aim of the research was to explore whether improved selection methods lead to enhanced diffusion of knowledge on new varieties of crops. It is also envisaged that the research will help agricultural development programmes to increase their reach amongst rural African smallholders, and find out how to better target vulnerable subgroups in rural societies.