Agricultural Actors, Networks, and Farmer Identity: Examining Perspectives and Adoption of Conservation Agriculture in Botha Bothe, Lesotho

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Blacksburg, VA: Office of International Research and Development, Virginia Tech


Lesotho’s highly eroded land has the potential to be rejuvenated by the utilization of conservation agriculture (CA) practices. This paper considers the relationships between local mindsets for agricultural production, beliefs about CA, and social networks to comment on the current process of CA development and dissemination in Botha Bothe District. Surveys were conducted with 430 households from ten villages, some from the lowlands, some from the foothills, and others in the highlands. Follow-up surveys were conducted in one highland village and one lowland village, and the data was used for network analysis in order to understand the dynamics between social networks, farmers’ contacts, and adoption behaviors. Variations in responses were also analyzed with regard to gender and farm size. The authors find that lowland farmers are generally more supportive of CA than are highland farmers, that full adopters tend to receive information from sources external to the community, and that many important local actors are skeptical of CA.



Stakeholders, Conservation agriculture, Nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), Community institutions, Social learning, Community-based organizations, Farmer to farmer, Conservation tillage, Local knowledge, Extension service, Adoption of innovations, Social network analysis, Farm/Enterprise Scale Watershed


SANREM Innovation Lab Working Paper No. 01-13