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African farming systems are highly heterogeneous: between agroecological and socioeconomic environments, in the wide variability in farmers’ resource endowments and in farm management. This means that single solutions (or ‘silver bullets’) for improving farm productivity do not exist. Yet to date few approaches to understand constraints and explore options for change have tackled the bewildering complexity of African farming systems. In this paper we describe the Nutrient Use in Animal and Cropping systems – Efficiencies and Scales (NUANCES) framework.
The article examines the effect of membership in farmer groups (MFG) on adoption lag of agricultural technologies and farm performance in Burundi, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Rwanda. We use duration and stochastic production frontier models on farm household data. We find that the longer the duration of MFG, the shorter the adoption lag and much more so if combined with extension service delivery. Farmer groups function as an important mechanism for improving farm productivity through reduced technical inefficiency in input use.