Declining crop productivity is a great challenge facing smallholder farmers in Tanzania. Agro-ecological practices can improve crop productivity in a sustainable way and produce healthy food among smallholder farmers. Initiation of “Farmer-Led Research of Agro-Ecological Practices” (FLRAG) may enhance farmers’ capacities for innovation and co-develop suitable agro-ecological practices. This study aimed at identifying factors influencing smallholder farmers to participate in FLRAG. A cross-sectional survey was used to collect qualitative and quantitative data from 90 smallholder farmers in Mvomero, Bagamoyo and Masasi districts in Tanzania. Data were also collected from key informants who were extension officers. The study identified that experience in farming, easiness in accessing agro-ecological inputs, interest in doing experiments and farm size ownership are the factors that substantially influence smallholder farmers to participate in FLRAG. Therefore, researchers are advised to select participants of FLRAG by considering the mentioned factors. Furthermore, farmers selected to participate in FLRAG are advised to the use of ugunduzi app” that was developed purposefully to enhance agro-ecological research in order to test and understand its potential on smoothing agro-ecological research activities.
Key word: Smallholder farmers, crop productivity, sustainable farming, farmer-led research, agro-ecological practices, Ugunduzi App.
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