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Sustainability 2015, 7(6), 6573-6592; doi:10.3390/su7066573

Farmer’s Knowledge and Perception of Diversified Farming Systems in Sub-Humid and Semi-Arid Areas in Benin

1
Horticulture and Genetics Unit, Faculty of Agronomic Sciences, University of Abomey-Calavi, 01 BP 526 Cotonou, Benin
2
Department of Botany, University of Hawaii at Manoa, 3190 Maile Way, Honolulu, HI 96822, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Marc A. Rosen
Received: 9 January 2015 / Revised: 12 April 2015 / Accepted: 13 April 2015 / Published: 26 May 2015
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Abstract

Building on farmer’s agroecological knowledge to design environmental-friendly agricultural systems is crucial given the environmental impact of industrial agriculture. We investigated the drivers of farmers’ knowledge of agrobiodiversity management and analyzed how farmers’ knowledge and their current farming contexts may guide future farming systems in sub-humid (Bassila) and semi-arid (Boukoumbé) areas of Benin. We conducted structured interviews with 180 farmers and used generalized linear models and correlation analyses to understand the spatio-temporal dynamics of farmers’ knowledge and perception. Land tenure, ecological conditions and sociolinguistic membership were the main drivers of farmers’ knowledge of agroforestry systems, practices, species diversity and current farming systems. Sociolinguistic membership also significantly predicted farmers’ knowledge of livestock management. Farmers in the semi-arid area were more involved in integrated crop-tree-livestock systems than those in the sub-humid area. However, all farmers indicated a willingness to adopt this integrated farming system regardless of socioeconomic and ecological factors. Farmer’s knowledge of agrobiodiversity (crops, agroforestry species and livestock diversity) management was correlated with the involvement in integrated crop-livestock-tree and agroforestry systems. These findings provide insights into how farmers’ knowledge can serve as basis in optimizing agricultural and livelihoods systems. Investigating the ecological, economic and social performance of the most desired integration/diversification options using a system approach involving a co-innovation process can further our mechanistic understanding of farmers decision making process. View Full-Text
Keywords: local ecological knowledge; crop-tree-livestock systems; agroforestry systems; agrobiodiversity; integrated agro-ecosystem approach; Benin local ecological knowledge; crop-tree-livestock systems; agroforestry systems; agrobiodiversity; integrated agro-ecosystem approach; Benin
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Segnon, A.C.; Achigan-Dako, E.G.; Gaoue, O.G.; Ahanchédé, A. Farmer’s Knowledge and Perception of Diversified Farming Systems in Sub-Humid and Semi-Arid Areas in Benin. Sustainability 2015, 7, 6573-6592.

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