Image Database Export Citations


Transfer of Knowledge on Agroforestry Management Practices: the Structure of Farmer Advice Networks

Show full item record

Type: Journal Article
Author: Isaac, Marney E.; Erickson, Bonnie H.; Quashie-Sam, S. James; Timmer, Vic R.
Journal: Ecology and Society
Volume: 12
Date: 2007
URI: https://hdl.handle.net/10535/2624
Sector: Agriculture
Region: Africa
Subject(s): agroforestry
farm policy
social networks
Abstract: "Access to knowledge on farm management practices is essential for the maintenance of productive agroforestry systems. Farmers who lack the means to acquire farming knowledge from formal sources often rely on information within their informal social networks. However, little research has explored the explicit structure of farmer communication patterns. We examined advice network structures by using farmer attributes, i.e., kin relationships, community involvement, and imitation, to characterize structural positions and investigated the consequences of such structure on farming practices in cocoa agroforestry systems in Ghana, West Africa. Furthermore, we used a multicommunity approach; we constructed networks for four communities to increase replication and enhance the generality of our conclusions. A high density of advice ties occurred among a small group of farmers, indicating a core-periphery structure. Settler farmers composed 73% of core position members, suggesting that social proximity did not control the formation of informal advice structures. Because core farmers were highly participative in community activities, the promotion of community involvement may facilitate the movement of knowledge and social exchange to strengthen informal networks. Farmers in both core and peripheral structural positions indicated that they observed fellow farmers and subsequently adopted their practices. Of highly sought farmers, 84% used external information, predominately from government institutions, thus functioning as bridging links between formal and informal networks. Both external and farmer-derived sources of knowledge of agroforestry practices were transferred through informal advice networks, providing available information throughout the farming community, as well as a foundation for community-based adaptive management."

Files in this item

Files Size Format View
ES-2007-2196.pdf 108.9Kb PDF View/Open

This item appears in the following document type(s)

Show full item record