Between 10 and 22 October 2012, 3 multi-stakeholder workshops have been conducted as part of the postdoctoral research in the Parasite project. The workshops took place in Songea (Ruvuma Region), Kyela (Mbeya Region) and in Morogoro (Morogoro Region). These locations have been strategically selected as also socio-economic surveys and interviews with key-stakeholders have been conducted in these areas. All three regions face problems of parasitic weeds in rain-fed rice production. In total around 75 participants participated in the three workshops.
Objectives and methods
The overall objective of the workshops was to bring together different groups of stakeholders (government officials, NGO/ civil society representatives, private sector, researchers and farmers) and facilitate them in identifying and analysing their challenges and constraints. By using a participatory, interactive workshop methodology, participants were stimulated to rank and categorise their challenges and constraints and relate them to the challenges/ constraints of other stakeholder groups. In doing so, we sought to identify root causes of problems and hubs in the problem analysis (i.e. where different challenges come together). At the end of the workshop, the participants were asked to come up with a Top 5 of problems/ challenges and we explored how these issues could be addressed.
We are currently analysing the outcome of the workshops in terms of the similarities and differences between the different regions. Together with the socio-economic survey and the interview data this will provide a better understanding of the national and regional systems of e.g. extension, plant health, crop protection, agricultural research and training and how they relate to problems of parasitic weeds in rain-fed rice farming. Also, it enables us to develop and promote more context specific approaches for addressing the problem of parasitic weeds in rain-fed rice farming across the different regions. The workshops provided a basis for multi-stakeholder learning and exchange of knowledge and experiences. This can provide the foundation for further multi-stakeholder collaboration during later phases in the Parasite project. More concrete outcomes will be shared at a later phase of the project.
Besides the multi-stakeholder workshops, also farmer participatory workshops were organised in Songea and Morogoro to explore farmers' preferred parasitic weeds management practices. In Kyela such a workshop had already been conducted earlier this year.