Tools for understanding the agricultural production systems and their socio-economic context in target regions for the introduction of new banana cultivars: Seasonal calendar focus group discussion
Within the framework of the IITA-led project “Improvement of banana for smallholder farmers in the Great Lakes region of Africa” (also known as the “Breeding Better Bananas” project, http://breedingbetterbananas.org), Bioversity International and partners conducted baseline research in the target regions of Luwero and Mbarara in Uganda, and Bukoba, Meru, Moshi and Rungwe in Tanzania during 2015-2016, prior to conducting on-station and on-farm evaluations of the new NARITA banana cultivars.
Five tools were used to characterise the banana and agricultural production systems, and the socioeconomic context of these systems, in the target regions. The research used a mixed-methods, participatory and sex-disaggregated approach to ensure that the knowledge, experiences and opinions of as many people as possible were obtained.
The seasonal calendar FGD tool is used to discuss the agricultural activities that take place in a typical year, including – the seasons, the crops grown in the village, the activities required to produce the most important crops, who does these activities, and other important times of the year. The information that is gathered during the exercise is used to understand the production systems and all the activities and division of labour related to these, and will help the researchers to plan any subsequent project activities that may take place in the village.