Homophily as a Safety Net: Investigating When Smallholder Farmers Decide to Buy Hybrid Seed in Northern Ghana

Vincent Ricciardi

Abstract


Dynamic social relationships can enhance farmer adoption or lead to the rejection of modern seed varieties. Different social pathways provide farmers with information about traditional and commercial seeds. Identifying how social relationships facilitate different varietal use may reveal the informal safety nets indigenous farmers rely on when transitioning to modern varieties. While homophilous relationships have been observed to stifle farmers’ adoption of agricultural innovations, these bonded social relationships are the basis for informal seed exchange. Through homophilous relationships, farmers are able to communicate pertinent risks and foster greater support systems. By examining two communities in Northern Ghana, this study tests whether homophilous relationships function as safety nets that prevent farmers from using modern seed or if they mitigate risks of agrobiodiversity decline. Through social network analysis, particular relationships were observed to act as necessary safety nets for farmers’ adoption of commercial seed; whom farmers commonly interact with may protect indigenous groups from adverse risk.


Keywords


Informal seed systems; Ghana; social network analysis, agrobiodiversity; homophily

References


Abay, Fetien, Walter S. De Boef, and Åsmund Bjørnstad. 2011. “Network Analysis of Barley Seed Flows in Tigray, Ethiopia: Supporting the Design of Strategies that Contribute to On-Farm Management of Plant Genetic Resources.” Plant Genetic Resources 9 (4): 495.

Akudugu, Mamudu Abunga, Emelia Guo, and Samuel Kwesi Dadzie. 2012. “Adoption of Modern Agricultural Production Technologies by Farm Households in Ghana: What Factors Influence their Decisions?” Journal of Biology, Agriculture and Healthcare 2 (3): 1-13.

Avelino, Flor, and Jan Rotmans. 2009. “Power in Transition: An Interdisciplinary Framework to Study Power in Relation to Structural Change.” European Journal of Social Theory 12 (4): 543-569.

Almekinders, C.J.M., and A. Elings. 2001. “Collaboration of Farmers and Breeders: Participatory Crop Improvement in Perspective.” Euphytica 122 (3): 425-438.

Badstue, Lone B., Mauricio R. Bellon, Julien Berthaud, Xóchitl Juárez, Irma Manuel Rosas, Anna Maria Solano, and Alejandro Ramírez. 2006. “Examining the Role of Collective Action in an Informal Seed System: A Case Study from the Central Valleys of Oaxaca, Mexico.” Human Ecology 34 (2): 249-273.

Bellon, Mauricio R., David Hodson, and Jon Hellin. 2011. “Assessing the Vulnerability of Traditional Maize Seed Systems in Mexico to Climate Change.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 108 (33): 13432-13437.

Bodin, Örjan, Beatrice Crona, and Henrik Ernstson. 2006. “Social Networks in Natural Resource Management: What is There to Learn from a Structural Perspective.” Ecology and Society 11 (2).

Bohensky, Erin L., and Yiheyis Maru. 2011. “Indigenous Knowledge, Science, and Resilience: What Have We Learned from a Decade of International Literature on ‘Integration’?” Ecology and Society 16 (4).

Borgatti, Stephen P., Martin. G. Everett, and Linton C. Freeman. 2002. UCINET: Software for Social Analysis (version 6). Windows. Harvard, MA: Analytic Technologies.

Borgatti, Stephen P., Martin G. Everett, and Jeffrey C. Johnson. 2013. Analyzing Social Networks. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Brooks, Sally, and Michael Loevinsohn. 2011. “Shaping Agricultural Innovation Systems Responsive to Food Insecurity and Climate Change.” Natural Resource Forum 35: 185–200.

Brush, Stephen B. 1991. “A Farmer-based Approach to Conserving Crop Germplasm.” Ecology and Botany 45 (2): 153-165.

Cain, Mary, and Robert Mittman. 2002. Diffusion of Innovation in Health Care. Oakland: California Healthcare Foundation.

Camara, Youssouf, M.C.S Bantilan, and Jupiter Ndjeunga. 2005. “Impacts of Sorghum and Millet Research in West and Central Africa (WCA): A Synthesis and Lessons Learnt.” International Crops Research Institute for Sem-Arid Tropics 22.

Chappell, Michael Jahi., and Lilliana A. LaValle. 2011. “Food Security and Biodiversity: Can We Have Both? An Agroecological Analysis.” Agriculture and Human Values 28 (1): 3-26.

CIMMYT. 1988. From Agronomic Data to Farmer Recommendations: An Economics Training Manual. Mexico, DF: CIMMYT.

De Boef, Walter Simon, Hannes Dempewolf, Jean Marie Byakweli, and Johannes Martinus Marie Engels. 2010. “Integrating Genetic Resource Conservation and Sustainable Development into Strategies to Increase the Robustness of Seed Systems.” Journal of Sustainable Agriculture 34 (5): 504-531.

De Leener, Philippe P.M. 2001. “From Technology-based to People-oriented Synergies: How the In-depth Analysis of a Synergy between Farmers, Researchers, and Developers Invites to Reconsider some Basic Perspectives on Pro- poor Agricultural Research.” Paper presented at the Conference on Global Partnership Programs by the Global Forum on Agricultural Research (GFAR), Rome, Italy.

Delêtre, Marc, Doyle B. McKey, and Trevor R. Hodkinson. 2011. “Marriage Exchanges, Seed Exchanges, and the Dynamics of Manioc Diversity.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 108 (45): 18249-18254.

Dercon, Stefan. 2002. “Income Risk, Coping Strategies, and Safety Nets.” The World Bank Research Observer 17 (2): 141-166.

Doss, Cheryl R., and Michael L. Morris. 2000. “How Does Gender Affect the Adoption of Agricultural Innovations? The case of improved maize technology in Ghana ” Agricultural Economics 25 (1): 27-39.

Fafchamps, Marcel. 2010. “Risk Sharing between Households.” In Handbook of Social Economics, edited by J. Benhabib, A. Bisin, and M.O. Jackson. San Diego: North-Holland.

Feder, Gershon, Richard E. Just, and David Zilberman. 1985. “Adoption of Agricultural Innovations in Developing Countries: A Survey.” Economic Development and Cultural Change 33 (2): 255-298.

Fischer-Kowalski, Marina, and Jan Rotmans. 2009. “Conceptualizing, Observing, and Influencing Social-Ecological Transitions.” Ecology and Society 14 (2).

Folke, Carl. 2006. “Resilience: The Emergence of a Perspective for Social–Ecological Systems Analyses.” Global Environmental Change 16: 253–267.

Folke, Carl, Steve Carpenter, Thomas Elmqvist, Lance Gunderson, C.S. Holling, and Brian Walker. 2002. “Resilience and Sustainable Development: Building Adaptive Capacity in a World of Transformations.” AMBIO: A Journal of the Human Environment 31 (5): 437-440.

Folke, Carl, Steve. Carpenter, Brian Walker, Marten Scheffer, Thomas Elmqvist, Lance Gunderson, and C.S. Holling. 2004. “Regime Shifts, Resilience, and Biodiversity in Ecosystem Management.” Annual Review of Ecology, Evolution, and Systematics 557-581.

Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). 2012. The State of Food Insecurity in the World. Rome, Italy: United Nations.

Geels, F.W. 2005. “The Dynamics of Transitions in Socio-Technical Systems: A Multi-Level Analysis of the Transition Pathway from Horse-Drawn Carriages to Automobiles (1860–1930).” Technology Analysis and Strategic Management 17 (4): 445–476.

Gill, Thomas B., Ricky Bates, Abram Bicksler, Rick Burnette, Vincent Ricciardi, and Laura Yoder. 2013. “Strengthening Informal Seed Systems to Enhance Food Security in Southeast Asia.” Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Community Development 3 (3): 139-153.

Granovetter, Mark S. 1973. “The Strength of Weak Ties.” American Journal of Sociology 78: 1360–1380.

Gupta, Anil K., and Chandak Vikas 2010. Cradle of Creativity: Strategies for In-Situ Conservation of Agro Biodiversity. Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad, Research and Publication Department.

Gyasi, Edwin A. 1994. “The Adaptability of African Communal Land Tenure to Economic Opportunity: the Example of Land Acquisition for Oil Palm Farming in Ghana.” Africa 64 (03): 391-405.

Hill, Kim Quaile, and Tetsuya Matsubayashi. 2005. “Civic Engagement and Mass-Elite Policy Agenda Agreement in American Communities.” American Political Science Review 99: 215-224.

Holling, C.S., and Lance H. Gunderson. 2002. “Resilience and Adaptive Cycles.” In Panarchy: Understanding Transformations in Human and Natural Systems, edited by C.S. Holling, and L.H. Gunderson. Washington DC: Island Press.

Isaac, Marney E. 2012. “Agricultural Information Exchange and Organizational Ties: The Effect of Network Topology on Managing Agrodiversity.” Agricultural Systems 109: 9-15.

Krackhardt, David, and Robert N. Stern. 1988. “Informal Networks and Organizational Crises: An Experimental Simulation.” Social Psychology Quarterly 51 (2): 123-140.

Lazarsfeld, Paul, and Robert Merton. 1954. “Friendship as a Social Process: A Substantive and Methodological Analysis.” In Freedom and Control in Modern Society, edited by M. Berger, T. Abel, and C.H. Page. New York: Van Nostrand.

Lipper, Leslie, Romina Cavatassi, and Paul C. Winters. 2005. Seed Systems, Household Welfare and Crop Genetic Diversity: An Economic Methodology Applied in Ethiopia, ESA Technical Paper. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations

Marfo, K.A., P.T. Dorward, P.Q. Craufurd, F. Ansere-Bioh, J. Haleegoah, and R. Bam. 2008. “Identifying Seed Uptake Pathways: The Spread of Agya Amoah Rice Cultivar in Southwestern Ghana.” Experiential Agriculture 44: 257–269.

Marsden, Peter V. 2004. “Recent Developments in Network Measurement.” In Models and Methods in Social Network Analysis, edited by P. Carrington, J. Scott, and S. Wasserman. New York: Cambridge University Press.

McGuire, Shawn, and Louise Sperling. 2013. “Making Seed Systems More Resilient to Stress.” Global Environmental Change 23 (3): 644-653.

McPherson, Miller, Lynn Smith-Lovin, and James M. Cook. 2001. “Birds of a Feather: Homophily in Social Networks.” Annual Review of Sociology 27: 415-444.

Michelini, Juan Jose. 2013. “Small Farmers and Social Capital in Development Projects: Lessons from Failures in Argentina's Rural Periphery.” Journal of Rural Studies 30: 99-109.

Morris, Michael L., and Mauricio R. Bellon. 2004. “Participatory Plant Breeding Research: Opportunities and Challenges for the International Crop Improvement System.” Euphytica 136 (1): 21-35.

Murphy, Brenda L. 2007. “Locating Social Capital in Resilient Community-Level Emergency Management.” Natural Hazards 41 (2): 297-315.

Newman, Lenore, and Ann Dale. 2007. “Homophily and Agency: Creating Effective Sustainable Development Networks.” Environment, Development, and Sustainability 9: 79–90.

Nordhagen, Stella, and Unai Pascual. 2013. “The Impact of Climate Shocks on Seed Purchase Decisions in Malawi: Implications for Climate Change Adaptation.” World Development 43: 238-251.

Otoo, Miriam, Joan Fulton, Germaine Ibro, and James Lowenberg-DeBoer. 2011. “Women Entrepreneurship in West Africa: The Cowpea Street Food Sector in Niger and Ghana.” Journal of Developmental Entrepreneurship 16 (01): 37-63.

Padmanabhan, Martina Aruna. 2002. Trying to Grow: Gender Relations and Agricultural Innovations in Northern Ghana. Vol. 3. Münster: LIT Verlag.

Pandey, Avinash, I.S. Bisht, K.V. Bhat, and P.S. Mehta. 2011. “Role of Informal Seed System in Promoting Landrace Diversity and their On-Farm Conservation: A Case Study of Rice in Indian Himalayas.” Genetic Resources and Crop Evolution 58 (8): 1213-1224.

Pautasso, Marco, Guntra Aistara, Adeline Barnaud, Sophie Caillon, Pascal Clouvel, Oliver T. Coomes, Sara Tramontini, et.al. . 2012. “Seed Exchange Networks for Agrobiodiversity Conservation. A Review.” Agronomy for Sustainable Development 33 (1): 151-175.

Peters, Pauline E. 2004. “Inequality and Social Conflict over Land in Africa.” Journal of Agrarian Change 4 (3): 269-314.

Putnam, Robert D. 2000. Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Community. New York: Simon and Schuster.

Prell, Christina, Klaus Hubacek, and Mark Reed. 2009. “Stakeholder Analysis and Social Network Analysis in Natural Resource Management.” Society and Natural Resources 22: 501–518.

Pretty, Jules, and David Smith. 2004. “Social Capital in Biodiversity Conservation and Management.” Conservation Biology 18: 631–638.

Rao, G., E.M. Rogers, and S.N. Singh. 1980. “Interpersonal Relations in the Diffusion of an Innovation in Two Indian Villages.” Indian Journal of Extension Education 16 (1): 19-24.

Rifkin, Susan B. 1996. “Rapid Rural Appraisal: Its Use and Value for Health Planners and Managers.” Public Administration 74: 509–526.

Rogers, Everett M. 2003. Diffusion of Innovations, 5th ed. New York: Free Press.

Rosset, Peter. 2011. “Food Sovereignty and Alternative Paradigms to Confront Land Grabbing and the Food and Climate Crises.” Development 54 (1): 21-30.

Rotmans, Jan. 2005. “Societal Innovation: Between Dream and Reality Lies Complexity.” Inaugural speech, Rotterdam School of Management, ERIM, Erasmus University, Rotterdam, The Netherlands.

Sallah, P., S. Twumasi-Afriyie, K. Ahenkora, K. Asiedu, K. Obeng-Antwi, S. Osie-Yeboah, P. Frimpong-Manso, A. Ankomah, and B. Dzah. 2007. “Agronomic Potentials of Quality Protein Maize Hybrids Developed in Ghana.” Ghana Journal of Agricultural Science 40: 81-89.

Smale, Melinda, Marc J. Cohen, and Latha Nagarajan. 2009. Local Markets, Local Varieties: Rising Food Prices and Small Farmers' Access to Seed. International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).

Snapp, S.S., M.J. Blackie, and C. Donovan. 2003. “Realigning Research and Extension to Focus on Farmers’ Constraints and Opportunities.” Food Policy 28 (4): 349-363.

Sperling, Louise. 2001. “Targeted Seed Aid and Seed System Interventions: Strengthening Small Farmer Seed Systems in East and Central Africa.” In Proceedings of a workshop held in Kampala. June 21–24: Uganda.

Subedi, A., P. Chaudhary, B.K. Baniya, R.B. Rana, R.K. Tiwari, D.K. Rijal, and D.I. Jarvis. 2003. “Who Maintains Crop Genetic Diversity and How?: Implications for On‐farm Conservation and Utilization.” Culture and Agriculture 25 (2): 41-50.

Tompkins, Emma L. 2005. “Planning for Climate Change in Small Islands: Insights from National Hurricane Preparedness in the Cayman Islands.” Global Environmental Change 15 (2): 139-149.

Townsend, Robert M. 1994. “Risk and Insurance in Village India.” Econometrica 62 (3): 539-591.

Tripp, Robert, and Akwesi Mensah-Bonsu. 2013. Ghana’s Commercial Seed Sector. International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).

Tripp, R., K. Marfo, A. Dankyi, and M. Read. 1987. “Changing Maize Production Practices of Small-Scale Farmers in the Brong-Ahafo Region, Ghana.” Mexico, DF: CIMMYT and Ghana Grains Development Project.

Tripp, R., D. Walker, A. Opoku-Apau, A. Dankyi, and L. Delimini. 1998. “Seed Management by Small-Scale Farmers in Ghana: A Study of Maize and Cowpea Seed in the Brong-Ahafo and Volta Regions.” Bulletin 68. Greenwich, UK: Natural Resources Institute.

Uhlenberg, Peter, and Jenny de Jong Gierveld. 2004. “Age-Segregation in Later Life: An Examination of Personal Networks.” Aging and Society 24 (1), 5-28.

Vander Mey, B.J. 1999. “Establishing Gender Sensitive IPM: A Cowpea Program in Ghana.” In Women and IPM: Crop Protection Practices and Strategies, edited by Elske van de Flirt, and Jet Proost. Amsterdam: Royal Tropical Institute.

Vom Brocke, K., A. Christinck, R.E. Weltzien, T. Presterl, and H.H. Geiger. 2003. “Farmers' Seed systems and Management Practices Determine Pearl Millet Genetic Diversity Patterns in Semiarid Regions of India.” Crop Science 43 (5): 1680-1689.

Whitehead, Ann. 2006. “Persistent Poverty in North East Ghana.” The Journal of Development Studies 42 (2): 278-300.

Woolcock, Michael. 2000. “Friends in High Places? An Overview of Social Capital.” Development Research Insights 34.


Full Text: HTML PDF

Penn StateCreative Commons License