The long shadow of faith-based social networks on agricultural performance: Evidence from Ethiopian apple growers
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SourceEuropean Journal of Development Research, 30, 2, (2018), pp. 297-319
Article / Letter to editor
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SW OZ RSCR CAOS
European Journal of Development Research
SubjectAnthropology and Development Studies
The aim of the paper is to test the importance of social networks in the acquisition of technical know-how among apple growers in Southern Ethiopia. What contribution do social networks make in knowledge transfer alongside more formal sources such as training and education? We take special interest in the role of faith-based networks, as apple cultivation was originally introduced into the study area by individuals and organizations linked to the Protestant church. The network effect is proxied by the frequency of contact of an individual producer ('ego') with his/her most salient resource persons ('alters') as well as the number of visits to their orchards. We find a positive relation between both types of social interaction and knowledge acquisition, although the efficacy of these varies with the producers' level of education. Protestant producers have been able to maintain a knowledge advantage with respect to Orthodox Christian producers ever since apple cultivation took off in the 1990s.
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