BRAUTIGAM, DEBORAH ANNE; PHD
FLETCHER SCHOOL OF LAW AND DIPLOMACY (TUFTS UNIVERSITY), 1987
POLITICAL SCIENCE, INTERNATIONAL LAW AND RELATIONS (0616)
Project-based agricultural technology transfer is a twentieth century phenomenon,
comprised primarily of
transfers from North to South. This thesis examines an alternative to the norm: technical cooperation
between developing countries, in the form of three Chinese rice projects in three West African countries:
Liberia, Sierra Leone, and The Gambia. Using an interdisciplinary approach that treats projects as 'open
systems,' an approach that recognizes the interrelatedness of technology, society, institutions and
economics, the dissertation addresses the question of the nature and effect of the Chinese approach to
agricultural assistance in West Africa. The study is based on fifteen months' fieldwork in West Africa. After
outlining a model of modern agricultural development in China, the study establishes that the Chinese
agricultural projects do indeed involve an attempt to transfer important aspects of the techniques,
organizational forms, and ideology that characterize China's own agricultural development. The technical
designs of the three projects undertaken by the Chinese indicate clearly that the innovations introduced
by the Chinese represent an attempt to apply their own rural solutions to West African agricultural needs.
But political pressures to set up successful demonstration farms led to intensive Chinese management
which the host countries have found difficult to replicate or continue. The study also assesses the
technical and organizational appropriateness and the costs and benefits of the projects. The Chinese
irrigation systems, small-scale agricultural machines and implements, rice seed, and intensive, high
management cultivation techniques were physically well-suited for West African rice production.
However, the economic analysis establishes that for most of the Chinese rice farming techniques, the
social cost of production exceeds the benefits. Yet because of heavy government subsidies, many of
these techniques were still financially profitable. In fact, the high management, labor intensive model
most resembling Chinese domestic practice was the most financially profitable in all three countries.
Farmers, however, have not adopted this model, indicating that the diffusion of this innovation is
dependent on more than profitability. In this case, diffusion was influenced heavily by the institutional
elements in the Chinese project system.
Social Systems Simulation Group
P.O. Box 6904
San Diego, CA 92166-0904
Roland Werner, Principal
Phone/FAX (619) 660-1603