Knowledge Diffusion and the Adoption of Fertilizer Microdosing in Northwest Benin

  •  David Natcher    
  •  Erika Bachmann    
  •  Jeremy Pittman    
  •  Suren Kulshreshtha    
  •  Mohamed Baco    
  •  P. B. I. Akponikpe    
  •  Derek Peak    


Soil degradation and low crop productivity negatively affect the food security of smallholder farmers in West Africa. Various agricultural techniques have been developed as components of food security interventions, but their effectiveness in addressing food insecurity in part depends upon farmers’ abilities to adopt these techniques. In this paper we present the results of a social network analysis that tracked the flow of information on fertilizer microdosing from our Project Research team (PRs) to Demonstration Farmers (DFs), and from DFs to other Village Farmers (VF) in the village of Koumagou B in northwest Benin. Our findings indicate that both adoption and project awareness of microdosing were low following two years of field trails. Overall, the DFs failed to spread information or promote learning over the trial period, with only 3 of 20 DFs diffusing knowledge to a significant degree (i.e., out-degree >5). After 2 years of trials, the efforts of PRs and DFs were insufficient to mobilize the network to adopt the microdosing technique.

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