Sweet potato research in Uganda has led to development and release of many varieties by the National Crops Resources Research Institute (NaCCRI) of the National Agricultural Research Organsation (NARO). The researchers have used three major approaches, that is, Farmer Field School (FFS), Farmer Research Group (FRG) and individual farmer approaches to disseminate newly released varieties into farming communities. Variety dissemination has been carried out in several districts in Uganda including Luwero, Wakiso and Soroti. Not much is known about the performance of farmers under the different approaches in terms of technology acquisition, utilization and dissemination. In addition, the factors influencing dissemination of the varieties from farmers in contact with researchers to the other farmers in the community are not known. This study was conducted to determine factors influencing dissemination of sweet potato varieties among farmers and to establish the rate of variety diffusion in the study area. It was also to evaluate and compare FFS, FRG and individual farmer approaches in acquisition, utilization, and dissemination of sweet potato technologies among farmers. Data were collected from 450 farmers using semi-structured questionnaires and analysis used descriptive statistics, statistical tests of significance Likert scales, dynamic diffusion model and the ordinary Least Squares regression model. Results showed no significant difference (P<0.05) in knowledge acquisition and utilization between FFS and FRG farmers. There were significant differences (P<0.05) in knowledge acquisition and utilization between FFS and individual farmers as well as FRG and individual farmers. However, there were no significant differences (P<0.05) in dissemination of varieties among the three approaches. Dissemination of varieties was negatively influenced by cost of planting material while farmer participation in on-farm research, level of education, leadership in community, varietal attributes, market price of roots, farming experience, visits by researchers and farm-to-farm visits had positive influence. The rate of diffusion of the new varieties in the study area was 18.6% of the mean sweet potato area cultivated seasonally.The study, therefore, recommended that researchers use FFS and FRG to disseminate new varieties to farmers. Further research should be carried out to determine the multiplier effect of variety dissemination by FFS and FRG farmers to other farmers.
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RUFORUM Theses and Dissertations
Dr. Jonny Mugisha and Dr. Regina Kapinga