Analyzing the Diffusion of Chinese Rice Farming Technologies in Rural Tanzania: The Case Study of Dakawa Agro-Technology Demonstration Center
During the Beijing Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation in 2006, the Chinese government pledged to build 10 agro-technology demonstration centres across Africa. Since then, the figure has increased to 25 and it will likely increase again in the future. One of the main goals of the demonstration centres is to share the experience of China’s technology-driven agricultural modernization with African countries. This paper uses empirical evidence from the Dakawa centre in Tanzania to examine the role of these centres in diffusing selected agro-technologies to local farmers. These projects struggled to balance the goal of technological diffusion with other interests, most notably the manifestation of China’s soft power and the commercial goal of operating a financially self-sustained farm. Yet, from these broad ambitions the centre in Tanzania has managed to contribute a great deal towards multiactor efforts to lessen the information and knowledge barriers hindering the adoption of improved rice farming technology by farmers in Dakawa. Other barriers to technology adoption, including financial constraints and sociocultural ties to traditional practices, necessitate that the demonstration centres improve collaboration with other related actors.
Key words: agro-technology, technology transfer, extension services, rice farming