Dissemination of food crops with nutritional benefits: Adoption and disadoption of soybeans in Togo and Benin

Authors: Wendland, Kelly J.1; Sills, Erin O.2

Source: Natural Resources Forum, Volume 32, Number 1, February 2008 , pp. 39-52(14)

Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell

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To combat high rates of malnutrition in sub-Saharan Africa, the UN Millennium Project has called for increased emphasis on technologies that explicitly link agricultural and nutritional components. While there is a large literature on the factors that influence household decisions to adopt new agricultural technologies with economic or environmental benefits, less is known about the factors that determine the uptake and continued use of agricultural technologies promoted exclusively for their health benefits. Using data from a 2004 survey in the Tamberma region of Togo and Benin, we identify factors that influence the adoption and disadoption of soybeans — a crop being promoted throughout West Africa for its high protein content. Similar to the literature on adoption of other sustainable agriculture technologies, we find that household preferences, resource endowments, and risk and uncertainty affect household decisions about soybeans. However, by analyzing decisions about initial uptake and continued cultivation separately, we uncover the importance of intrahousehold dynamics and experience with the soybean crop. To successfully address malnutrition through new agricultural technologies, researchers and rural extension agents should take a disaggregated view of technology adoption, seeking to identify and tailor their outreach to the different factors important at different stages of the dissemination process.

Keywords: Benin; Nutrition; Soybeans; Technology adoption; Technology disadoption; Togo

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1477-8947.2008.00169.x

Affiliations: 1: Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics, University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI, USA 2: Department of Forestry and Environmental Resources, North Carolina State University Raleigh, NC, USA

Publication date: February 1, 2008

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