Between 19 and 26 August 2013, three multi-stakeholder workshops were organized in Dassa-Zoumé, Kandi and Tanguiéta, Benin. In these three study sites, parasitic weeds in rainfed rice production are eminent. In total, the three workshops were attended by 66 participants. For each workshop, farmers and representatives of government (department and commune level), civil society organisations, private sector, and research and training were invited. The participants identified and categorized challenges and constraints in the agricultural system individually, in homogeneous groups and collectively. The objective of the workshops was to actively involve stakeholders in the Rapid Appraisal of the Agricultural Innovation System (RAAIS), with a specific focus on rainfed rice production. RAAIS provides a first characterization of complex agricultural problems (such as parasitic weeds in rainfed rice production), and the agricultural system in which the problem is embedded.
Participants were generally enthusiastic about our workshop methodology, which triggered a lot of debate within and between the different stakeholder groups. Regular returning constraints and challenges were related to limited mechanization and availability of agricultural inputs for rice production (farmers), lack of (financial) autonomy for local governments, limited collaboration between actors in the agricultural sector (civil society), farmers’ ability to access and return credit (private sector) and lack of human and financial resources for research and training. Several exercises focused on identifying relations between the constraints and challenges of different stakeholder groups. The data provides insight into the regional similarities and differences. This can provide the basis for general and more study site specific recommendations on how to enhance the capacity in the agricultural system to adress complex problems, such as parasitic weeds.
The workshops provided very rich data, which will be further analysed and compared with the data from Tanzania. We will also try to see how the data gathered can complement the socio-economic research conducted by our PhD-candidate Simon N'cho. If you require further information regarding the workshops, please contact Marc Schut.