The government of Uganda is currently decentralizing many of its services including those directly related to agriculture and the environment. Non-government organizations (NGOs) and community-based organizations (CBOs) are being asked to take the lead in the provision of government services such as agricultural extension during the transition to demand driven fee-for-service. This paper explores the role of government programs, NGOs and CBOs in the adoption of land management technologies. We find that government programs were better distributed throughout Uganda and were more likely to operate in poorer areas than NGOs and CBOs. This raises the question of whether or not incentives should be provided for NGOs and CBOs to locate or evolve in less-favored areas. Our analysis of household level involvement in organizations between 1990 and 2000 indicates that female-headed households, households with higher proportions of women, and households with higher levels of natural resource dependence were more likely than other households to be involved in organizations whose main focus was not agriculture or the environment. We also found that social capital is an important determinant of organizational participation. The results of our analysis indicate that the presence of an agriculture or environment focused program or organization at the community level had a negative effect on the adoption of animal manuring and a positive affect on the adoption of pesticides. This suggests that spillover effects of programs and organizations may be greater for technologies that have short-term benefits, and which require some degree of coordination to be most effective. Household level involvement in an agriculture or environment focused organization had a positive effect on the adoption of inorganic fertilizer and mulching. Adoption of land management technologies such as manuring that yield longer-term benefits apparently do not spill over to non-participants in local programs and organizations. Thus, direct involvement of households in programs and organizations that promote such technologies may be necessary to ensure technology diffusion throughout communities. This information may be taken as an indicator of the effectiveness or impact of agriculture and environment focused organizations in Uganda, and should be considered in the broader context of the government devolution of services to NGOs and CBOs. Our findings indicate that careful consideration needs to be given to the potential for NGOs and CBOs to fulfill the roles traditionally filled by government programs in the context of land management. The limited impact of agriculture and environment focused organizations on technology adoption is discouraging though may be linked to the limited profitability of technology adoption in the short-run.
International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI)