New publications: Gender and agricultural innovation in Oromia region, Ethiopia

Despite formal decentralization, agricultural services in Ethiopia are generally “top-down,” claim the authors of a recently published paper on gender and agricultural innovation. “Extension services,” they explain, “are supply-driven, with off-the-shelf technologies transferred to farmers without expectation of further adaptation.”

Drawing on GENNOVATE case studies from two wheat-growing communities in Ethiopia’s Oromia region, the authors examine how a small sample of women and men smallholders attempt to innovate with improved wheat seed, row planting, and the broad bed maker, introduced through the Ethiopian agricultural extension system. They also introduce the concept of tempered radicals, an analytic lens used to understand how individuals try to initiate change processes, and assess whether this can have validity in rural settings.