Agricultural researchers have completed three targeted baseline surveys to better understand how new wheat‑producing innovations can be adopted in rural African communities.
Researchers from the SARD‑SC project spoke to farmers in six wheat‑growing districts in Ethiopia, Nigeria, and Sudan to learn more about constraints to the adoption of new technologies. Understanding these constraints will assist the dissemination of new innovations and technologies, and ultimately raise wheat productivity.
The project surveyed over 2,000 households. The data collected included resource ownership, source of information on improved wheat technologies, and awareness and adoption of improved wheat varieties and complementary practices. Also measured were production, consumption, and constraints on production.
The survey results clearly showed that the farmers were aware of improved wheat varieties. The communities also demonstrated a widespread understanding of the use of inorganic fertilizer to enhance wheat yields.
According to the wheat farmers surveyed, adopting improved varieties combined with inorganic fertilizer use provided a higher mean grain yield compared to using local varieties with and without fertilizer. This revealed the farmers’ perception of the value of inorganic fertilizers and their influence on the likely adoption of improved wheat.
However, due to the low capacity of the seed industry in the countries sampled, the farmers reported the lack of an adequate supply of improved seed. According to the researchers, developing on‑farm seed production and storage facilities at a low cost could improve the impact that these new wheat technologies and innovations are having on farmers' lives.
The surveys were completed in 2013 and the final socio‑economic baseline reports have now been submitted for vetting, editing, and approval, in the lead up to their finalization towards the end of 2014.
In the meantime, SARD‑SC has held a baseline data harmonization meeting in Senegal, with the goal of establishing a platform that gathers key basic variables, to build a comprehensive picture of the state of staple crop production and technology adoption, across the various crops and countries involved.