Masters Theses

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Agricultural Economics

Major Professor

Merton B. Badenhop

Committee Members

David W. Brown, Charles L. Cleland


The objectives of this study were (1) to introduce the reader to tillage problems confronting the farmer cultivator in the cercles of Koupela, Tenkodogo, and Garango in Upper Volta; (2) to present a concep-tual framework designed for change agents to use in identifying key elements of the client society that affects the adoption of modern technology; (3) to elaborate upon the meanings of various elements out-lined in the framework; and (4) to relate the framework to problems associated with the mechanization issue. Some frustrating problems and controversial issues confronting change agents and farmer cultivators in Upper Volta interested in socio-economic growth were presented in this study. Le Organisme Regional de Developpement Du Koupela (Koupela ORD) was chosen as a region for illus-tration. Particular attention was focused on the appropriateness of the following alternative forms of tillage technology: hand tools, animal implements, walking tractors, and motorized equipment. It was concluded that more adaptive research is needed to design a mechanization program that is suitable to the indigeneous factor endowment. It was also con-cluded that caution should be exercised in order to avoid the implemen-tation of modern technology which would result in either the disintegra-tion of the cultural environment without offering a viable replacement or a situation whereby cash income increased but development of the economic infrastructure did not follow. It was pointed out, however, that there is a pressing need to be-gin now to enact specific development programs. There are questions regarding what direction such efforts should take. It was suggested that greater use should be made of the village level change agent. He occupies a strategic position for obtaining vital information about the situation at the grass roots level. By relaying knowledge of the in-digenous society to the planning authorities, the village level worker can narrow the "econocological gap" which separates theory from reality. In order to provide the change agent with a greater awareness about how farmers might be expected to view proposals for technological change, a conceptual framework of the social ecology was presented. This framework is designed to facilitate the identification of key com-ponents of the indigenous society which affect the response of the client population to new technology. In the framework a distinction is made between the environment and the societal organism. The societal organism was defined as the dynamic component of society that is actu-ally or potentially responsive to the environment. In order to gain insight into the nature of the indigenous soci-ety, it was conceived that the societal organism could usefully be par-titioned into three prismatic elements: culture, personality and the social system. Elaborations on the meaning of these prismatic elements were made. In particular, it was shown how the change agent could become more sensitive to the ways farmer cultivators perceive the environment by considering specific concepts related to culture, personality, and the social system. To illustrate the effectiveness of such an analytical approach the author drew upon his personal experience in describing situ-ations in Upper Volta. Finally, a skeletal strategy for gathering additional information on the nature of the indigenous society was suggested. A sample set of questions related to the environment and the societal organism were formulated to orient the change agent to the kind of information needed in evaluating alternative forms of mechanization programs in the Koupela O.R.D.

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