Contribution of networking to the sustainability of community-based relay organisations in Western Cameroon: Case study of CIEFAD and KUGWE rural resource centres

Herve Alain Napi Wouapi, Charles Arnaud Tchomkachue and Ann Degrande

Net Journal of Agricultural Science
Published: November 8 2019
Volume 7, Issue 4
Pages 99-111


Rural resource centres (RRC) have been commended by farmers as a responsible, cost-effective, sustainable and complementary approach to other agricultural extension approaches. Though RRC benefit technical, material and financial support to some degree from development and technical partners, they equally face a number of hurdles in sustaining their activities as the support of the latter is hardly ever continuous. These include limited access to basic equipment, technical and managerial skills, agricultural land and credit, and insufficient support from policy and decision makers. In this research paper we provide a comprehensive analysis of the role of networking to the sustainability of RRC by conducting an ethnographic study of two RRCs in the West Region of Cameroon. Networking has become an increasingly popular approach that aims to provide community-based relay organisations new opportunities for securing uninterrupted provision of goods and services to farmers or end-users. It also aims to chart a sustainability and transition plan, which may include how to mobilise resources to continue provide services as well as how to move toward greater ownership and continue providing services when there are limited or no external funds. Social network analysis is the research analytical tool used to make network theory operational into an applicable set of key variables to guide the mapping of networks promoting sustainability of RRC in Cameroon. The network mapping is based on the identification of key actors at different strata, cooperation strategies and power relationships in the networks under study, and two interrelated cases were selected as the main strategy to carry out the gathering and processing of data into answers to the research questions. The main finding is that interactions of RRCs with their customer of seeds and other institutional organizations such as development partners, research centres and municipalities greatly influence their organisational and financial sustainability.

Keywords: Networking, ties, sustainability, rural resource centres.

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