Local farmers' organisations: a space for peer-to-peer learning? The case of milk collection cooperatives in Morocco

Abstract : Purpose. The study investigated to what extent local farmers' organisations are spaces where farmers discuss, learn, and innovate. Design/methodology/approach. Two milk collection cooperatives in Morocco were studied. The study analysed the discussion networks, their impacts on farmers' knowledge and innovation, and the performance of collective action at cooperative level. Findings. In both cooperatives, only two-thirds of the farmers regularly discussed dairy practices with other farmers. Most leaders of one cooperative were acknowledged to be experienced farmers and played key roles as advisors on dairy farming. Farmers' involvement in dialogue networks in this cooperative improved their capacity to innovate in dairy farming, even though their knowledge on some issues related to cattle health and nutrition was not improved. In the other cooperative, experienced farmers did not share their knowledge and farmers' involvement in dialogue networks at cooperative level had no impact on their knowledge and practices. Dialogue networks and collective action were found to influence each other, since in the first cooperative, collective action was considered by members to be efficient, whereas in the second collective action was limited to milk collection. Practical implications. The study enabled identification of stumbling blocks which need to be addressed to get local farmers' organisations involved in farmer capacity building. Originality/value. While the importance of local discussion networks for knowledge creation and diffusion is widely acknowledged, taking such networks into account in farmers' capacity building programmes in developing countries has been hindered by their informality. Combining the analysis of dialogue networks and collective action proved to be a productive way to assess the potentialities of working with farmers' organisations with the aim of establishing a connection with local discussion networks.
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Nicolas Faysse, M.T. Sraïri, Mostafa Errahj. Local farmers' organisations: a space for peer-to-peer learning? The case of milk collection cooperatives in Morocco. Journal of Agricultural Education and Extension, Taylor & Francis (Routledge), 2012, pp.285-299. ⟨cirad-00903206⟩

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