Influence of social networks on the adoption of climate smart technologies in East Africa: Findings from two surveys and participatory exercises with farmers and local experts

Influence of social networks on the adoption of climate smart technologies in East Africa: Findings from two surveys and participatory exercises with farmers and local experts

As part of the Policy Action for Climate Change Adaptation (PACCA) project, this info note summarizes findings of a project activity entitled “Influencing and linking policies and institutions from national to local level for the development and adoption of climate‐resilient food systems in East Africa” undertaken by researchers from Bioversity International and Arizona State University. By conducting a network analysis and participatory exercises with district officials and farmers in Lushoto (Tanzania) and Rakai (Uganda), the study assesses the extent to which farmers are adopting agricultural practices and correlates the findings about the size and “make up” of the networks in which the farmers are embedded.

Key messages:

  • Climate smart technologies (CSTs), including practices, are critical enablers of climate‐informed agricultural practices that enhance food security
  • network analysis can be used to understand how the interactions between farmers and experts, and other factors such as gender, policies, and institutions contribute to the adoption and diffusion of CSTs
  • farmers with larger networks in the study sites grow more crops, have more land, obtain greater crop volumes, and report greater economic value for the crops sold
  • social networks between and among farmers and local experts in the study sites are very weak
  • women in the study sites generally have smaller networks with respect to farming techniques and practices, have fewer connections to farmers or experts with whom they discuss agricultural issues, and are less likely than men to attend a farmer field day or a training workshop or to receive advice from extension officers
  • there is a need to promote the creation of learning alliances and other spaces whereby networks of farmers and technology providers can be created and strengthened
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