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Rural innovation systems and networks: findings from a study of Ethiopian smallholders

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  • David Spielman

    ()

  • Kristin Davis
  • Martha Negash
  • Gezahegn Ayele

Abstract

Ethiopian agriculture is changing as new actors, relationships, and policies influence the ways in which small-scale, resource-poor farmers access and use information and knowledge in their agricultural production decisions. Although these changes suggest new opportunities for smallholders, too little is known about how changes will ultimately improve the wellbeing of smallholders in Ethiopia. Thus, we examine whether these changes are improving the ability of smallholders to innovate and thus improve their own welfare. In doing so, we analyze interactions between smallholders and other actors to provide new perspectives on the role played by smallholder innovation networks in the agricultural sector by drawing on data from community case studies conducted in 10 localities. Findings suggest that public extension and administration exert a strong influence over smallholder networks, potentially crowding out market-based and civil society actors, and thus limiting beneficial innovation processes. From a policy perspective, the findings suggest the need to further explore policies and programs that create more space for market and civil society to participate in smallholder innovation networks and improve welfare. From a conceptual and methodological perspective, our findings suggest the need to incorporate rigorous applications of social network analysis into the application of innovation systems theory. Copyright Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Springer in its journal Agriculture and Human Values.

Volume (Year): 28 (2011)
Issue (Month): 2 (June)
Pages: 195-212

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Handle: RePEc:spr:agrhuv:v:28:y:2011:i:2:p:195-212

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Web page: http://www.springer.com/economics/journal/10460

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Related research

Keywords: Africa; Ethiopia; Agricultural development; Innovation; Participatory rural appraisal; Social networks; Social learning; Technology adoption;

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References

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  1. Davis, Kristin & Ekboir, Javier & Mekasha, Wendmsyamregne & Ochieng, Cosmas M.O. & Spielman, David J. & Zerfu, Elias, 2007. "Strengthening agricultural education and training in Sub-Saharan Africa from an innovation systems perspective: Case studies of Ethiopia and Mozambique," IFPRI discussion papers 736, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
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  5. David Spielman & Kristin Davis & Martha Negash & Gezahegn Ayele, 2011. "Rural innovation systems and networks: findings from a study of Ethiopian smallholders," Agriculture and Human Values, Springer, vol. 28(2), pages 195-212, June.
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  11. Byerlee, Derek & Spielman, David J. & Alemu, Dawit & Gautam, Madhur, 2007. "Policies to promote cereal intensification in Ethiopia: A review of evidence and experience," IFPRI discussion papers 707, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Abebe, Gumataw K. & Bijman, Jos & Pascucci, Stefano & Omta, Onno, 2013. "Adoption of improved potato varieties in Ethiopia: The role of agricultural knowledge and innovation system and smallholder farmers’ quality assessment," Agricultural Systems, Elsevier, vol. 122(C), pages 22-32.
  2. David Spielman & Kristin Davis & Martha Negash & Gezahegn Ayele, 2011. "Rural innovation systems and networks: findings from a study of Ethiopian smallholders," Agriculture and Human Values, Springer, vol. 28(2), pages 195-212, June.
  3. Rupert Friederichsen & Thai Minh & Andreas Neef & Volker Hoffmann, 2013. "Adapting the innovation systems approach to agricultural development in Vietnam: challenges to the public extension service," Agriculture and Human Values, Springer, vol. 30(4), pages 555-568, December.
  4. Davis, Kristin & Swanson, Burton & Amudavi, David & Mekonnen, Daniel Ayalew & Flohrs, Aaron & Riese, Jens & Lamb, Chloe & Zerfu, Elias, 2010. "In-depth assessment of the public agricultural extension system of Ethiopia and recommendations for improvement:," IFPRI discussion papers 1041, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
  5. Crespo, Joan & Réquier-Desjardins, Denis & Vicente, Jérôme, 2014. "Why can collective action fail in Local Agri-food Systems? A social network analysis of cheese producers in Aculco, Mexico," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 46(C), pages 165-177.
  6. Meinzen-Dick, Ruth Suseela & Bernier, Quinn & Haglund, Eric, 2013. "The six "ins" of climate-smart agriculture: Inclusive institutions for information, innovation, investment, and insurance:," CAPRi working papers 114, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).

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