Social economic benefits of IPDM technologies to bean farming communities in Hai District, northern Tanzania

Komba, Sophia
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Southern New Hampshire University
Hai district fanners have observed a decline in bean crop production in Hai district in recent years and after consultations with researchers and extension personnel, they associated the situation to damage by insect pests and diseases as well as unreliable weather conditions and infertile soils. The implementation of IPDM project in Hai district was based on farmers' and partners' participatory efforts in reducing bean crop losses caused by pests and diseases in the district. Available sources of information confirmed that the common bean is an important crop produced in different parts of Tanzania where the scale of production varies depending on gender, wealth and location. Consequently, the decline in bean production in Hai district had many negative effects to bean farmers especially the smallholders who are the main producers of the crop. Beans are the main source of family food and household cash income for smallholder farmers in the district. This study was conducted in Hai District, northern Tanzania in 2004. The purpose of the study was to assess the social and economic benefits of IPDM technologies to at the household level. Secondary and primary data were collected to improve our understanding of agriculture technologies and bean production in Tanzania, particularly in Hai district. The study and the information on bean production in Tanzania revealed different production constraints to bean farming including the problem of insect pests and diseases. In order to gather appropriate information for this study, farmers in Hai communities were first grouped into two (project participating farmers and non participating farmers). Focus group discussions were conducted with IPDM project group members. Survey questionnaires were administered to both participating and non-participating community members to understand farmers' perception on the effectiveness of the IPDM technologies, adoption rate and participation in the dissemination of the technologies. In addition, in-depth interviews were conducted to assess other stakeholders' perception and participation. The common bean is the second most important crop after maize that is produced in the district both for household consumption and cash income. Although bean crop production is limited by different constraints, insect pests and diseases are among the major production constraints that were mentioned by almost each farmer interviewed in the community. Farmers selected IPDM technologies to address bean pests because they are easy to use, efficient, cost effective and result in increased production. Furthermore, the study revealed the important role played by IPDM project groups and village extension officers (VEOs) in the dissemination of information on the technologies. In this case, 72% and 68% of interviewed farmers received the information on the technologies from VEOs and IPDM group members, respectively. Furthermore, the study found several limitations to increased adoption and dissemination of information. These includes; lack of capital, unpredictable weather conditions, market access, NGOs regulations and land shortage. Although, the livelihood of the majority of people in Hai district have roots in agriculture farmers also experience problems associated with policies, NGOs participation, shortage of botanicals and dissemination constraints, the study recommended that a stakeholders' workshop be organised to review and discuss about the various problems and draw conclusions for future action. (Author abstract)