Improving technology delivery mechanisms: Lessons from bean seed systems research in eastern and central Africa [Book Review]

Agriculture and Human Values 16 (4):381-388 (1999)


This article addresses concerns of technology dissemination for small farmers, specifically focusing on the diffusion of new varieties of a self-pollinating crop. Based on bean seed systems research in Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, and the Democratic Republic of Congo, it shows four commonly-held basic assumptions to be false, namely that: first, small-scale farmers do not buy bean seed; they mainly rely on their own stocks or obtain seed from other farmers; second, that small-scale farmers cannot afford to buy seed of newly introduced bean varieties or will not risk it; third, that farmer seed networks function efficiently in varietal diffusion; and lastly, that a good variety will sell itself. Grounded in the reality under which small farmers actually operate, the article offers recommendations for improving the delivery of newly introduced bean cultivars by NARS and seed suppliers. Most of the recommendations are relevant to other self-pollinating crops

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