The impact of subtle resistance to regional crop specialization: The case of maize farming in Rugeramigozi Marsh-Rwanda
Rwanda Journal of Social Sciences, Humanities and Business
In the framework of the professionalization of the agricultural sector in Rwanda, a number of agricultural reforms including regional crop specialization, mono-cropping, use of improved seeds and chemical fertilisers among others have been initiated and have substantially contributed to the increase of agricultural products at the Rwandan local market. Even though the reform outcomes were promising, smallholder farmers had at the outset of the reform implementation opposed to the way crops were
... selected for their marshland and their reaction has influenced the reform implementation. This article explores the experience smallholder farmers have gone through during the initiation of new selected crops for their marshland, their reactions to the use of the mandatory seeds and the impact of their reactions. Findings reveal that farmers' discontents have slowed down cultivating maize because their preferred crop – the rice – considered more profitable was disregarded. To deter the implementation of growing maize, smallholder farmers have used strategic defiance in form of subtle argumentation, strategic silence, strategic apathy or indifference, ironical strategy among others and the impact of their stratagems have led to the amendment of the decision of growing undesirable crop(s) in their marshland. The latest data collected in October 2017 and January 2018 reveal clearly the blurred intentions behind farmers' reactions observed during the 2010 – 2012 research – they bring to light what they didn't dare to disclose then. This article shows finally that in any agricultural reform design, planners should consider all aspects upholding smallholder farmers' advantages and these are identifiable only if they participate proactively in the reform planning and implementation phases.