Babati foragechoppers research review workshop

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Workshop to review research on forage choppers on smallholder farms in Babati District
28 February, 2017
Arusha, Tanzania
[edit | edit source]



Participants[edit | edit source]

  • Ben Lukuyu
  • David Ngunga
  • Leonard Marwa
  • Gregory Sikumba
  • Simon Wittich
  • Patrick Mudavadi
  • Gabriel Malima
  • Gundula Fischer


Agenda[edit | edit source]

  1. Topic of paper to be written (including influence diagram exercise)
  2. Structure of paper
  3. Available data and their condition/evaluation
  4. Work planning
  5. Further research: matrix scoring (based on SI indicator framework)
  6. Poster presentation at DUCE conference in Dar es Salaam
  7. Further research: forages and distribution from bulking and demonstration plots

Notes[edit | edit source]

Topic of paper to be written[edit | edit source]

Participants looked at sections contained in questionnaire and focus group discussion guide used during joint research in Babati in 2016. The first two sections of the questionnaire will be used for sample description in the paper to be written. The other sections have similar foci and will be used for the presentation of quantitative and qualitative results.

Questionnaire Focus Group Discussion Guide
Basic demographic information General farm system description Livestock feeds: types, collection, storage Feed processing Feed chopping machines

willingness to pay (WTP) Gender and household activities

Feeds: kinds, characteristics, challenges Handling and processing of feeds Processing technologies, chopper (WTP) Gender and activity mapping (on flip charts)


The social science team presented the following topics as potential foci of the article:[edit | edit source]

  • Labor processes and changes
  • Benefits of introduction: financially, labor burden, gender roles, efficient feed use, group support etc.

It is not clear, if the data base is sufficient to present data on the following topics:

  • Feed preferences
  • Group dynamics and gendered access to machines




The group then discussed other dimensions that could be of importance such as if/how gender roles in the household change after introduction of chopper machines and who incurs costs in the household for use, transport and labor assistance related to the chopper.


In order to better conceptualize the article and future research directions the social science team requested the livestock team to draw an influence diagram. The term chopper machine was put at the center of the diagram to be drawn on flipchart paper. The livestock team discussed and added aspects that they thought to bear a relation to the chopper machines such as labor, group dynamics, herd size, costs etc. At the end of the exercise the social science team requested the participants to mark all aspects on the drawing that have a relationship with gender.


After completion of drawing, Leonard Marwa presented the influence diagram. The following aspects were raised in the discussion:

  • The herd size, types of feed resources used (grazing, planted forages or crop residues) and type of livestock kept (local, improved) influences the purchase decision for a chopper machine.
  • Group dynamics (cohesion, purpose, motivation, leadership) influence the successful use of the technology.
  • The size and mobility (fuel or electric) of the machines influences the purchase decision.
  • Farmers will evaluate the technology in terms of how easily they can get access to the machines. Potential obstacles to access are: capital, group dynamics, peak seasons (such as the critical period after harvesting when many people want to chop crop residues).
  • Farmers will also evaluate if the machine reduces labor intensity and what the costs are compared to manual chopping.
  • Who benefits from the machines was identified as an important marker of power within the household.
  • It is not clear if knowledge on how to handle the machines is a gender issue or a pre-text (for women to shy away from the use of machines, for men to keep women’s access restricted).
  • Differences between semi-intensive and intensive systems need to be further explored.


Ben Lukuyu used the diagram to draw the following conclusion. There are two drivers for the use of the machines:

  • Herd size and composition
  • Availability of residues and forages on a daily basis

These two factors have huge implications for labor. Therefore, the herd size, feed requirement and availability create an interest in the use of the machines. The use of choppers leads to more efficient feeding and might in turn have implications for an increase in herd size.


He also emphasized the importance of group dynamics. Since choppers are relatively expensive, the technology has to be disseminated together with a business model for groups. Gabriel Malima and Gundula Fischer replied that this aspect has not been sufficiently explored in the 2016 study also because the focus group methodology is not suitable for such a topic.


The group reached the following agreement in terms of an article to be written:

  • A first article (to be written in the next months) will focus on gender and mechanization (how does the innovation/mechanization influence the household division of labor).
  • A second article (to be based on additional data) will explore the group dynamics and how these might influence adoption of the fodder chopping technology and will support the development of a business model to driving feed chopping on smallholder farms.



The first article should contain sections related to practical implications of the technology, issues around application (for other development actors who want to go into this field).


The participants found the influence diagram exercise useful to identify key aspects related to the technology, to make sure that certain aspects are not left out in the article, to plan future research and to apply a systems perspective.


Structure of paper (journal?)


The group discussed how quantitative and qualitative results could be presented together. The structure will also depend on the journal selected for submission. Potential journals will be evaluated.

  • Introduction
  • Literature Review (gender and mechanization)
  • Methodology (including sample description and Babati context)
  • Findings (combining quantitative and qualitative results)
  • Discussion
  • Practical implications of the findings
  • Conclusion




Available data and their condition/evaluation[edit | edit source]

  • Transcriptions (focus group discussions)
  • Survey data
  • Flipcharts (activity mapping)
  • Memos
  • Notes
  • Photos
  • Work planning

The group agreed on the following work plan:

The group agreed on the following work plan:
Activity Who Deliverable Deadline in 2017
Literature Review Simon, Ben Draft End of April
Sample Description Leonard, David Tables, Text End of March
History of the Intervention Leonard, David Text End of March
Quantitative Findings Gabriel, Ben Tables, Text End of April
Qualitative Findings Gundula Coding, Text End of April
Activity Maps acqueline, Simon, Gabriel, Gundula Table, Text Mid-May
Journal Suggestions Gundula, Simon Mid-March
Outline/Skeleton of Paper Gundula, Simon Mid-March
Coordination, Final Write-up Gundula (Simon) Draft August



The group listed further activities for 2017

  • Gundula and Simon will draw influence diagrams with farmers in preparation for a forage study (agenda item 7).
  • They will also evaluate the chopper machines using matrix scoring based on the SI indicator framework with farmers.
  • Conference participation and poster presentation at the DUCE International Gender Conference in April 2017 in Dar es Salaam (see agenda item 6).



  • Further research: matrix scoring

Gundula presented a tool that she is currently developing with Simon for a gender training manual. The tool is based on the SI indicator framework and matrix scoring methodology. The group discussed the tool and identified weaknesses and ways to improve it. Since the tool is meant to support technology evaluation with farmers, it was agreed that Simon and Gundula should pilot the tool in Babati.


  • Poster presentation at DUCE conference in Dar es Salaam

As soon as the conference program will be made available, Gundula will circulate it. From the team the following members are interested to attend: Gabriel, Simon, Gundula and maybe one livestock expert.



  • Further research:

forages and distribution from bulking and demonstration plots
Ben Lukuyu outlined the topic for a further study to be undertaken jointly by livestock and gender experts. This study is meant to investigate the pathways of adoption of Napier grasses farmers receive from bulking sites. It was agreed that a proposal for this research would be written in 2017.