Why did farmers stop cultivating NERICA upland rice varieties in central Benin uri icon

abstract

  • New Rice for Africa (NERICA) was developed by the Africa Rice Center by crossing high-yielding Asian rice (Oryza sativa L.) with locally adapted African rice (Oryza glaberrima Steud.). Community-based seed production of NERICA varieties was introduced in a village in central Benin in 2006 through seed dissemination projects. It was reported that high-adoption rates of these varieties were mainly due to high demand by development projects for seed dissemination, and to incentives (i.e. selling the rice seed at a higher than local market price to a local extension service) for farmers to grow NERICA varieties. A follow-up survey was undertaken after the seed dissemination projects ended to examine the change in the cultivation of NERICA varieties. About half of the farmers had ceased cultivation of NERICA varieties in 2011. The reasons for abandonment were the combined effects of reduced seed demand and low yields, which were attributed to a lack of access to credit and training on NERICA cultivation practices. The majority of the farmers did not abandon rice cultivation, but grew other high-yielding varieties, including one aromatic variety for which there was market demand. We conclude that to avoid immediate reductions in the adoption of new varieties after projects are terminated and to enhance agricultural sustainability, the varieties should be introduced in conjunction with appropriate group training on their cultivation, and the project should target farmers who do not have off-farm businesses. Furthermore, access to credit should also be enhanced, and the marketability of the varieties should be assessed.

publication date

  • 2017
  • 2017