Analysis of the socio-cultural and economic determinants of adoption of soil and water conservation measures by farmers in villages participating in a farmer field school project near Lake Bunyonyi, Uganda
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The aim of this paper is to understand what socio-cultural and economic factors influence farmers’ adoption of soil and water conservation measures in villages participating to a farmer field school (FFS) project around Lake Bunyonyi in Uganda. It particularly focuses on the social dynamics behind decisions on conservation investment. Qualitative and participatory rural appraisal methods were mobilised in two sites including social mapping, wealth ranking, transect walks, Venn diagrams, classification matrices, problem ranking, focus groups and interviews. In line with recent research on the role of social cohesion and capital, this research emphasises the importance of intra-household cooperation, strong social norms, social cohesion and participation in FFS group as positively influencing adoption. The paper then discusses various constrains hindering adoption of conservation practices. Those include poverty, alcohol consumption, lack of interest, lack of livestock and equipment, perception of gender roles, lack of cooperation, land shortage and fragmentation, environmental factors, age, and diseases. This paper argues that social capital and cohesion are crucial to help farmers cope with those constraints and positively influence adoption. It finally proposes a series of recommendations to improve uptake both within the FFS group and in the entire community.