Analysing the social network of technology and information transfer for maize sheller service providers in Zimbabwe
No 2bmzr, Thesis Commons from Center for Open Science
Smallholder farmers and their households in Zimbabwe depend on maize as a staple food and source of income. despite the high demand for maize production, there is little service provision particularly shelling on post-harvest technologies. Therefore, service providers for maize shelling are suggested to have a strong social network with customers and other service providers for demand creation. The aim of the project was to understand the business approaches of the service providers and their performances, using SNA to track the use of shellers for service provision and the associated information network in Domboshava and Makonde districts, Zimbabwe. SNA through interviews were used to assess the demand for shelling through customer and non-customer characteristics, to identify demand creation approaches and to analyze how the communication network differs between service providers. There was a variation in total earnings on average Makonde service providers with more earnings than in Domboshava. Service providers obtained the customers based on trust from the community. Total earnings increased with increasing number of customers (p<0.001), higher degree centrality and shelling capacity for both districts. Network density was higher in Domboshava than in Makonde district indicating more frequent contacts in Domboshava. Despite the earnings, most of the service providers operated below full capacity due to the low maize production caused by drought and the late availability of shelling services to the farmers. The service providers that achieved higher turnovers, tended to have shelling machines with higher capacities compared to those operating with small shelling capacities. Service providers started their business in 2016 season and little promotion had been made amongst farmers for shellers’ awareness campaign. There is more urgent need for promotion and business development and upgrading of shelling capacities to boost business performance. Identification of central actors such as the agricultural extension officers is vital in the social network for dissemination of information for high uptake of services.
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