Co-design of improved climbing bean production practices for smallholder farmers in the highlands of Uganda
Ronner, E. ; Descheemaeker, K. ; Almekinders, C. ; Ebanyat, P. ; Giller, K.E. - \ 2019
Agricultural Systems 175 (2019). - ISSN 0308-521X - p. 1 - 12.
Legumes - Multi-criteria - Participatory - Phaseolus vulgaris
We evaluated the usefulness of a co-design process to generate a relevant basket of options for climbing bean cultivation in the context of a large-scale project. The aim was to identify a range of options sufficiently diverse to be of interest for farmers of widely-different resource endowment. The co-design process consisted of three cycles of demonstration, evaluation and re-design in the eastern and southwestern highlands of Uganda in 2014–2015. Evaluations aimed to distinguish preferences of farmers between the two areas, and among farmers of different gender and socio-economic backgrounds. Farmers, researchers, extension officers and NGO staff re-designed treatments for demonstrations in the next season. Climbing bean yields and evaluation scores varied between seasons and sites. Evaluation scores were not always in line with yields, revealing that farmers used multiple evaluation criteria next to yield, such as marketability of varieties, availability of inputs and ease of staking methods. The co-design process enriched the basket of options, improved the relevance of options demonstrated and enhanced the understanding of preferences of a diversity of users. Developing options for resource-poor farmers was difficult, however, because they face multiple constraints. The basket of options developed in this study can be applied across the East-African highlands, with an ‘option-by-context’ matrix as a starting point for out-scaling. The study also showed, however, that consistent recommendations about the suitability of technologies for different types of farmers were hard to identify. This highlights the importance of a basket of options with flexible combinations of practices rather than developing narrowly specified technology packages for static farm types.
How do climbing beans fit in farming systems of the eastern highlands of Uganda? Understanding opportunities and constraints at farm level
Ronner, E. ; Descheemaeker, K. ; Marinus, W. ; Almekinders, C.J.M. ; Ebanyat, P. ; Giller, K.E. - \ 2018
Agricultural Systems 165 (2018). - ISSN 0308-521X - p. 97 - 110.
Legumes - Multi-criteria - Participatory - Phaseolus vulgaris - Smallholder
Climbing beans offer potential for sustainable intensification in the East-African highlands, but their introduction requires a major change in the cropping system compared with the commonly grown bush bean. We explored farm-level opportunities, constraints and trade-offs for climbing bean cultivation in the eastern highlands of Uganda. We established current food self-sufficiency, income, investment costs and labour, and assessed the ex-ante, farm-level impact of four climbing bean options on these indicators. Input for this assessment were a detailed characterization of 16 farms of four types, and on-farm, experimental data of adaptation trials of climbing bean. Climbing beans generally improved food self-sufficiency and income, but often required increased financial investment and always demanded more labour than current farm configurations. Opportunities for integration of climbing beans on small farms were limited. Although some of the poorest farmers accrued the largest absolute benefits from climbing beans, their ability to make the necessary investments is questionable. The analysis was translated into a simple-to-use modelling tool to enable participatory analysis of the outcomes with farmers of the four farm types to understand their perspectives and decision-making. The discussions revealed a recent increase in market prices for climbing bean resulting in growing interest in their cultivation in the eastern highlands. A lack of seed and stakes was limiting climbing bean cultivation, and a sufficient amount of climbing bean seed needs to be ensured through strengthening of farmer cooperatives and improved storage.