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Social networks and farmer exposure to improved crop varieties in Tanzania

Author

Listed:
  • Muange, Elijah N.
  • Schwarze, Stefan
  • Qaim, Matin

Abstract

In Sub-Sahara Africa, adoption rates of improved crop varieties remain relatively low, which is partly due to farmers’ limited access to information. In smallholder settings, information often spreads through informal networks. Better understanding of such networks could potentially help to spur innovation and farmers’ exposure to new technologies. This study uses survey data from Tanzania to analyze social networks and their role for the spread of information about improved varieties of maize and sorghum. Regression models show that network links for the exchange of agricultural information are more likely between farmers who have similar educational but different wealth levels. Moreover, network links are more likely when farmers have direct contacts to extension officers, suggesting that information flows through informal channels can support but not replace formal channels. Social networks play a significant role for the spread of information about open-pollinated varieties. This is not the case for maize hybrids, which are sold by private seed companies.

Suggested Citation

  • Muange, Elijah N. & Schwarze, Stefan & Qaim, Matin, 2014. "Social networks and farmer exposure to improved crop varieties in Tanzania," Discussion Papers 183635, Georg-August-Universitaet Goettingen, GlobalFood, Department of Agricultural Economics and Rural Development.
  • Handle: RePEc:ags:gagfdp:183635
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    File URL: http://purl.umn.edu/183635
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Ehrich, Malte & Hess, Sebastian, 2015. "The Ability of Organisations to Adopt Foreign Trade Standards," Discussion Papers 211024, Georg-August-Universitaet Goettingen, GlobalFood, Department of Agricultural Economics and Rural Development.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    social networks; exposure; improved varieties; sorghum; maize; gender; Community/Rural/Urban Development; International Development; Research and Development/Tech Change/Emerging Technologies; O12; O13; O31; Q12; Q16;

    JEL classification:

    • O12 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Microeconomic Analyses of Economic Development
    • O13 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Agriculture; Natural Resources; Environment; Other Primary Products
    • O31 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Innovation and Invention: Processes and Incentives
    • Q12 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture - - - Micro Analysis of Farm Firms, Farm Households, and Farm Input Markets
    • Q16 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture - - - R&D; Agricultural Technology; Biofuels; Agricultural Extension Services

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