Special Issue "Farmers’ Adoption of Agricultural Innovations and Their Impact"

A special issue of Agronomy (ISSN 2073-4395). This special issue belongs to the section "Farming Sustainability".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (1 July 2021).

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Marta Monjardino
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
CSIRO Waite Campus, PMB 2, Glen Osmond, SA 5064, Australia
Interests: agricultural economics; farming systems; sustainable intensification; crop-livestock trade-offs; bio-economic modelling; risk analysis; adoption and impact of innovations; food and nutrition security; research for development
Dr. Geoff Kuehne
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Rural Innovation Research Group, Faculty of Veterinary and Agricultural Sciences, University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Parkville, VIC 3052, Australia
Interests: Dr. Kuehne has a long practical experience of agriculture, and of learning about developed and developing country farmers by listening to what they say about their lives, their problems, and their hopes for the future. He developed the ADOPT tool which helps users to examine and understand farmers’ adoption of technologies and practice changes. His interests are focused on why farmers make the decisions they do, especially at times of uncertainty, such as with climate change, government reforms, and reduced resource availability. His current research interests include barriers and constraints to adoption and farmer decision-making.
Dr. Khondoker Abdul Mottaleb
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Socioeconomics Program, CIMMYT (International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center), 56237 Texcoco, México
Interests: agricultural economics; agricultural policy; foresight and targeting; impact assessment; modeling

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The adoption of innovations (i.e., new technologies and practices) is critical to the ongoing development of agriculture. Agricultural innovations are key drivers in the sustainable intensification of systems, potentially leading to increases in productivity, input use efficiency, profitability, resilience, and/or food and nutritional security. However, before these potential benefits are unlocked, farmers must decide to adopt the innovations, depending on a broad and complex range of factors. Disappointing adoption rates of agricultural innovations can often be explained by a combination of enabling environments, economic drivers, risk factors, broader social context, extension efforts, level of farmer engagement, and sometimes the technologies themselves. The important aim of achieving impact (economic, social, and/or environmental) follows on from the successful adoption of the innovations.

This Special Issue focuses on new knowledge about the adoption of agricultural innovations and the impacts of that adoption, both in developed and developing country contexts. This can take a number of forms, including but not limited to:

  • Examination of drivers or barriers to adoption;
  • Experience of adoption successes and failures;
  • Diffusion or communication of innovations in a social system;
  • Farmer information seeking;
  • Farmer decision-making;
  • Relative advantage of innovations;
  • Dis-adoption or partial adoption;
  • Impact pathways;
  • Participatory processes for developing innovations;
  • Agricultural innovation systems;
  • Novel methodological approaches to adoption research.

The call is open to all who are interested in this topic.

Dr. Marta Monjardino
Dr. Geoff Kuehne
Dr. Khondoker Abdul Mottaleb
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Agronomy is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2000 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • adoption
  • diffusion
  • farmer
  • smallholder
  • innovation
  • agriculture
  • decision
  • economics
  • risk
  • relative advantage
  • impact pathways
  • agricultural innovation systems

Published Papers (13 papers)

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Research

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Article
Appreciating Multiple Realities in the Transformation towards a Sustainable Dairy Sector: An Explorative Study from the Inside-Out Perspective
Agronomy 2021, 11(11), 2116; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy11112116 - 22 Oct 2021
Viewed by 420
Abstract
The dairy sector is in a systemic lock-in due to reinforcing cycles. This qualitative study, based on 13 in-depth interviews with frontrunning dairy farmers and additional observations, challenges this impression by looking at the sustainable business model innovation from the inside-out perspective of [...] Read more.
The dairy sector is in a systemic lock-in due to reinforcing cycles. This qualitative study, based on 13 in-depth interviews with frontrunning dairy farmers and additional observations, challenges this impression by looking at the sustainable business model innovation from the inside-out perspective of the sustainability-driven niche. The theoretical foundation rests in market transformation, looking at the co-evolution of sustainable business models, regime, system barriers and niche players. The objective is to gain a better understanding on the practices of frontrunner dairy farmers that innovate and overcome system barriers in the transformation from the current regime. The data is collected in 2020 and the analysis is based on template analysis. This study clustered the practices in five groups: an extra margin on milk, perceived support for product diversification, partnerships with specialists, increased transparency, and use of modern technology. Additionally, the appreciation by the farmers of multiple realities and their entrepreneurial competencies helped the dairy farmers to re-establish a closer connection between farmer and consumer, and a better connection between farmer and the production environment, resulting in more biodiverse and landscape-inclusive dairy farming. These insights will help policy makers better cater to the beliefs and values of dairy farmers. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Farmers’ Adoption of Agricultural Innovations and Their Impact)
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Article
What Influences Farmer’s Adoption Lag for Soil and Water Conservation Practices? Evidence from Sio-Malaba Malakisi River Basin of Kenya and Uganda Borders
Agronomy 2021, 11(10), 1985; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy11101985 - 30 Sep 2021
Viewed by 438
Abstract
Agricultural intensification and expansion efforts aimed at feeding increasing populations have led to soil degradation globally. Due to their suitability for resource-constrained farmers, and potential positive impacts on agricultural land improvement, Soil and Water Conservation Practices (SWCPs) are recommended as a solution to [...] Read more.
Agricultural intensification and expansion efforts aimed at feeding increasing populations have led to soil degradation globally. Due to their suitability for resource-constrained farmers, and potential positive impacts on agricultural land improvement, Soil and Water Conservation Practices (SWCPs) are recommended as a solution to soil degradation in Sub Saharan Africa (SSA). However, the adoption rates of SWCPs are low and farmers who adopt them do not adopt on time. There is a lag between the time when farmers first learn about SWCPs and the time of adoption. This study examines the factors influencing adoption lag for Soil and Water Conservation Practices among smallholder farmers in the Sio-Malaba Malakisi River Basin border region of Kenya and Uganda. We utilize data collected from 506 randomly selected households and use the duration analysis model to analyze the data. Results show that the average adoption lag of SWCPs in the study area was about 10 years. Further, reduction in adoption lag is associated with household size, number of accessible markets, access to credit, age of the household head, farm size owned, and tropical livestock units. On the other hand, access to off-farm income and household location in Uganda are associated with increased adoption lag of SWCPs. Participation in social groups, households being male-headed, and education of the household head showed mixed effects on adoption lag, depending on the SWCP of focus. Strengthening farmer social networks and access to credit and markets are recommended as possible interventions to promote the timely adoption of SWCPs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Farmers’ Adoption of Agricultural Innovations and Their Impact)
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Article
Drivers and Barriers Influencing the Willingness to Adopt Technologies for Variable Rate Application of Fertiliser in Lower Austria
Agronomy 2021, 11(10), 1965; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy11101965 - 29 Sep 2021
Viewed by 413
Abstract
Even though a broad range of technologies for variable rate application of nitrogen fertiliser is available, there are hardly any documented cases of their use in Austria. In this study, the drivers and barriers of adoption have been investigated. A survey of 242 [...] Read more.
Even though a broad range of technologies for variable rate application of nitrogen fertiliser is available, there are hardly any documented cases of their use in Austria. In this study, the drivers and barriers of adoption have been investigated. A survey of 242 farmers in Lower Austria was conducted. The survey covered the farmers’ economic situation, concerns, and expectations regarding the future of their farms and their interest in precision farming technologies. A choice experiment was included in the survey to elicit farmers’ preferences for different features of variable rate application technologies. A series of multinomial logit, mixed logit and latent class logit models were run to analyze the choice experiment. Most farmers were interested in variable rate application, whereas technology costs, yield and environmental improvements were found to be important drivers of adoption. Also, farm size, farming system, technological level and network activities seem to play an important role in the uptake of variable rate application technologies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Farmers’ Adoption of Agricultural Innovations and Their Impact)
Article
Development of Deep Learning-Based Variable Rate Agrochemical Spraying System for Targeted Weeds Control in Strawberry Crop
Agronomy 2021, 11(8), 1480; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy11081480 - 26 Jul 2021
Viewed by 752
Abstract
Agrochemical application is an important tool in the agricultural industry for the protection of crops. Agrochemical application with conventional sprayers results in the waste of applied agrochemicals, which not only increases financial losses but also contaminates the environment. Targeted agrochemical sprayers using smart [...] Read more.
Agrochemical application is an important tool in the agricultural industry for the protection of crops. Agrochemical application with conventional sprayers results in the waste of applied agrochemicals, which not only increases financial losses but also contaminates the environment. Targeted agrochemical sprayers using smart control systems can substantially decrease the chemical input, weed control cost, and destructive environmental contamination. A variable rate spraying system was developed using deep learning methods for the development of new models to classify weeds and to accurately spray on desired weeds target. Laboratory and field experiments were conducted to assess the sprayer performance for weed classification and precise spraying of the target weeds using three classification CNNs (Convolutional Neural Networks) models. The DCNNs models (AlexNet, VGG-16, and GoogleNet) were trained using a dataset containing a total of 12,443 images captured from the strawberry field (4200 images with spotted spurge, 4265 images with Shepherd’s purse, and 4178 strawberry plants). The VGG-16 model attained higher values of precision, recall and F1-score as compared to AlexNet and GoogleNet. Additionally VGG-16 model recorded higher percentage of completely sprayed weeds target (CS = 93%) values. Overall in all experiments, VGG-16 performed better than AlexNet and GoogleNet for real-time weeds target classification and precision spraying. The experiments results revealed that the Sprayer performance decreased with the increase of sprayer traveling speed above 3 km/h. Experimental results recommended that the sprayer with the VGG-16 model can achieve high performance that makes it more ideal for a real-time spraying application. It is concluded that the advanced variable rate spraying system has the potential for spot application of agrochemicals to control weeds in a strawberry field. It can reduce the crop input costs and the environmental pollution risks. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Farmers’ Adoption of Agricultural Innovations and Their Impact)
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Article
Exploring the Relationship between Information-Seeking Behavior and Adoption of Biofertilizers among Onion Farmers
Agronomy 2021, 11(6), 1258; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy11061258 - 21 Jun 2021
Viewed by 604
Abstract
Recently, there has been increasing concern about reducing and replacing chemical fertilizers with biofertilizers to enhance soil fertility and maintain agroecosystems and sustainable agricultural production. Given that knowledge of biofertilizers is information-intensive, the lack of information-seeking behavior (ISB) might be the primary constraint [...] Read more.
Recently, there has been increasing concern about reducing and replacing chemical fertilizers with biofertilizers to enhance soil fertility and maintain agroecosystems and sustainable agricultural production. Given that knowledge of biofertilizers is information-intensive, the lack of information-seeking behavior (ISB) might be the primary constraint for farmers adopting biofertilizers. This study aimed to analyze how ISB influences farmers’ adoption of biofertilizers, using a sample of 228 onion farmers in Al-Ahsa Governorate, Saudi Arabia. The results indicate that most farmers had a moderate level of ISB. The most frequently accessed sources were mobile applications, extension institutions, and progressive farmers. The results of cluster analysis show that farmers’ ISB differed significantly according to their main occupation. Among the onion farmers, 35%had adopted biofertilizers. The findings also reveal that farm size, attitude toward biofertilizers, the credibility of information sources, and the usefulness of the information positively and significantly influence farmers’ adoption of biofertilizers. It was concluded that understanding the relationship between adoption and ISB could assist policymakers in focusing on knowledge diffusion when designing extension programs and advisory services to facilitate better usage of biofertilizers. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Farmers’ Adoption of Agricultural Innovations and Their Impact)
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Article
Disaggregating the Value of Conservation Agriculture to Inform Smallholder Transition to Sustainable Farming: A Mexican Case Study
Agronomy 2021, 11(6), 1214; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy11061214 - 15 Jun 2021
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 979
Abstract
Conservation Agriculture (CA) is promoted by research and development (R&D) agencies to sustainably intensify agricultural systems with the goals of improving food security and livelihoods and adapting food systems to global climate change. Despite the many benefits of CA, there are few farmers [...] Read more.
Conservation Agriculture (CA) is promoted by research and development (R&D) agencies to sustainably intensify agricultural systems with the goals of improving food security and livelihoods and adapting food systems to global climate change. Despite the many benefits of CA, there are few farmers around the world that have simultaneously implemented all facets of the strategy. In part, this reflects the challenges in applying, adapting, and understanding this complex and multi-dimensional agricultural innovation in the context of diverse farming systems. In this paper, we applied an integrated framework that combines bioeconomic simulation, risk analysis, adoption theory, and impact assessment to investigate how various combinations of CA components (no-tillage, soil cover, crop diversification, plus growing a new crop or variety) performed over a 10-year period in representative farms in a central Mexican case study. We found significant differences in profit, net value, downside risk, and risk-aversion cost between double-component scenarios (and improved CA to a lesser extent) and all other scenarios, which suggested that disaggregating CA into smaller component packages could increase farmer adoption in risky contexts. Our findings provided valuable insights on CA feasibility and could help establish policy and reporting metrics. The study highlighted the need for employing a range of research tools to understand the relative value of agricultural innovations and to identify and reduce trade-offs and uncertainty in farming systems. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Farmers’ Adoption of Agricultural Innovations and Their Impact)
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Article
Factors That Determine Innovation in Agrifood Firms
Agronomy 2021, 11(5), 989; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy11050989 - 16 May 2021
Viewed by 678
Abstract
In this study, we aim to find the determinants of innovation in the agrifood industry in an inland region in southeast Spain, which depends upon and specializes in this sector. The determinants we propose are firm and environmental factors. From the empirical analyses [...] Read more.
In this study, we aim to find the determinants of innovation in the agrifood industry in an inland region in southeast Spain, which depends upon and specializes in this sector. The determinants we propose are firm and environmental factors. From the empirical analyses based on Box–Cox models, we deduce that a firm’s internal factors or characteristics are those that have the greatest influence on its propensity to innovate. Among them, firm size has the greatest effect. Innovation culture has the potential for exerting a multiplying effect via mechanisms such as knowledge spillovers or learning by doing. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Farmers’ Adoption of Agricultural Innovations and Their Impact)
Article
When Machines Take the Beans: Ex-Ante Socioeconomic Impact Evaluation of Mechanized Harvesting of Mungbean in Bangladesh and Myanmar
Agronomy 2021, 11(5), 925; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy11050925 - 08 May 2021
Viewed by 1243
Abstract
Agricultural mechanization has spread across much of Asia since the 1960s. It has increased agricultural productivity and reduced arduous farm work. However, differing impacts for smallholders and hired laborers, and for men and women, require careful consideration. This study analyzed, ex-ante, the likely [...] Read more.
Agricultural mechanization has spread across much of Asia since the 1960s. It has increased agricultural productivity and reduced arduous farm work. However, differing impacts for smallholders and hired laborers, and for men and women, require careful consideration. This study analyzed, ex-ante, the likely social and economic tradeoffs of mechanizing the mungbean harvest in Bangladesh and Myanmar. We used a mixed methods approach combining survey data from 852 farm households with in-depth interviews in four villages. Partial budget analysis shows that mechanical harvesting of mungbean is not yet profitable for most farms. There is nevertheless an incentive to mechanize as the associated timeliness of the harvest reduces the risk of harvest losses from weather shocks. Men and women farmers expect time savings and reduced drudgery. The results confirm that hired workers depend on manual harvesting for income and status in both countries. Most hired workers are landless married women with limited access to other sources of income. In the short term, farmers are likely to combine manual harvests and a final mechanized harvest of the indeterminate crop. This could mediate the impact on hired workers. However, in the long term, it will be necessary to facilitate income-generating opportunities for women in landless rural families to maintain their well-being and income. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Farmers’ Adoption of Agricultural Innovations and Their Impact)
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Article
Rice Farming in Central Java, Indonesia—Adoption of Sustainable Farming Practices, Impacts and Implications
Agronomy 2021, 11(5), 881; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy11050881 - 29 Apr 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1268
Abstract
Farmer adoption of sustainable rice farming technologies and practices is critical for climate change adaptation and mitigation. Often adoption is investigated in isolation focusing on factors influencing farmer decision making and overlooking the effects of technology adoption on farmers’ livelihoods and perceptions of [...] Read more.
Farmer adoption of sustainable rice farming technologies and practices is critical for climate change adaptation and mitigation. Often adoption is investigated in isolation focusing on factors influencing farmer decision making and overlooking the effects of technology adoption on farmers’ livelihoods and perceptions of change. Therefore, the present study investigated technology adoption and its effects on farmers with a special focus on additional revenue allocation and perception of social, economic and environmental change. Using a digital survey platform, 153 farmers (21.6% female) were interviewed in three sub-districts of Yogyakarta, Indonesia. On average, farmers adopted two technologies or practices, adopted high-yielding rice varieties, and increased their revenue from US$105 to US$122 per hectare per season. Barriers to adoption included time constraints, unsuitability for field conditions and incompatibility with cropping systems. Farmers invested the extra income in farming business and improved diets. Furthermore, farmers perceived changes in social and human capital and also poverty reduction due to technology adoption. This study highlights the importance of including an analysis of social impact in agricultural research. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Farmers’ Adoption of Agricultural Innovations and Their Impact)
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Article
Assessing Opportunities to Increase Yield and Profit in Rainfed Lowland Rice Systems in Indonesia
Agronomy 2021, 11(4), 777; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy11040777 - 15 Apr 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 624
Abstract
In this study, we aimed to improve rice farmers’ productivity and profitability in rainfed lowlands through appropriate crop and nutrient management by closing the rice yield gap during the dry season in the rainfed lowlands of Indonesia. The Integrated Crop Management package, involving [...] Read more.
In this study, we aimed to improve rice farmers’ productivity and profitability in rainfed lowlands through appropriate crop and nutrient management by closing the rice yield gap during the dry season in the rainfed lowlands of Indonesia. The Integrated Crop Management package, involving recommended practices (RP) from the Indonesian Agency for Agricultural Research and Development (IAARD), were compared to the farmers’ current practices at ten farmer-participatory demonstration plots across ten provinces of Indonesia in 2019. The farmers’ practices (FP) usually involved using old varieties in their remaining land and following their existing fertilizer management methods. The results indicate that improved varieties and nutrient best management practices in rice production, along with water reservoir infrastructure and information access, contribute to increasing the productivity and profitability of rice farming. The mean rice yield increased significantly with RP compared with FP by 1.9 t ha−1 (ranges between 1.476 to 2.344 t ha−1), and net returns increased, after deducting the cost of fertilizers and machinery used for irrigation supplements, by USD 656 ha−1 (ranges between USD 266.1 to 867.9 ha−1) per crop cycle. This represents an exploitable yield gap of 37%. Disaggregated by the wet climate of western Indonesia and eastern Indonesia’s dry climate, the RP increased rice productivity by 1.8 and 2.0 t ha−1, with an additional net return gain per cycle of USD 600 and 712 ha−1, respectively. These results suggest that there is considerable potential to increase the rice production output from lowland rainfed rice systems by increasing cropping intensity and productivity. Here, we lay out the potential for site-specific variety and nutrient management with appropriate crop and supplemental irrigation as an ICM package, reducing the yield gap and increasing farmers’ yield and income during the dry season in Indonesia’s rainfed-prone areas. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Farmers’ Adoption of Agricultural Innovations and Their Impact)
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Article
Farmers’ Attitudes towards Risk—An Empirical Study from Poland
Agronomy 2020, 10(10), 1555; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy10101555 - 13 Oct 2020
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1274
Abstract
Risk aversion is an important research area in the field of agricultural economics in the last years. Creating effective and efficient risk management tools in an increasingly volatile economic and natural environment requires proper recognition of farmers’ behavior and attitudes towards risk. In [...] Read more.
Risk aversion is an important research area in the field of agricultural economics in the last years. Creating effective and efficient risk management tools in an increasingly volatile economic and natural environment requires proper recognition of farmers’ behavior and attitudes towards risk. In this context, the main aim of the paper was to estimate farmers’ attitudes towards risk and identification of farm’s and farmer’s characteristics in dependency on risk aversion level. The assessment of farmers’ preferences towards risk was based on hypothetical games in a representative sample of 600 Polish farms—participants of Farm Accountancy Data Network (FADN). Based on the interviews with farmers, a relative risk aversion coefficient has been estimated. Results revealed that on average Polish farmers have quite a strong risk aversion. Their attitudes towards risk are strongly linked with their self-assessment regarding their way of making decisions under risk. Some relations between farmers’ risk aversion and perception of selected risk factors could also be observed. The results revealed that the application of specified risk management tools by farmers and their potential reaction to a significant income drop are related to risk aversion level. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Farmers’ Adoption of Agricultural Innovations and Their Impact)
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Review

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Review
Unpacking the Processes that Catalyzed the Adoption of Best Management Practices for Lowland Irrigated Rice in the Mekong Delta
Agronomy 2021, 11(9), 1707; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy11091707 - 27 Aug 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1051
Abstract
Vietnam is supportive of the transition to sustainable rice production in the Mekong Delta. The national program promoted best management practices for rice production through “1 Must Do and 5 Reductions” (1M5R). This review traces the technological development and uptake of 1M5R in [...] Read more.
Vietnam is supportive of the transition to sustainable rice production in the Mekong Delta. The national program promoted best management practices for rice production through “1 Must Do and 5 Reductions” (1M5R). This review traces the technological development and uptake of 1M5R in national policies and by end-users. We highlight the outcomes from various policy-supported initiatives and unpack plausible pathways that generated the widespread adoption of 1M5R in eight provinces in the Mekong River Delta: at least 104,448 smallholder rice farmers were reached, and 1M5R practices adopted on 113,870 hectares. The scaling of 1M5R was enabled through a convergence of different socio-technical systems with varied foci, including sustainability certification, contract farming, consolidation of production, and improved use of inputs, aside from the development of sustainable technologies. In addition, 1M5R was promoted with incentives generated by a World Bank project and other initiatives in line with a national policy of increasing the quality of rice production for national and international markets. The interconnections of varied socio-technical systems, enacted by different intermediaries, catalyzed the spread of 1M5R. The widespread adoption by smallholder farmers increased their profits and raised awareness across diverse stakeholder groups of the higher marketability of rice produced with sustainable practices. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Farmers’ Adoption of Agricultural Innovations and Their Impact)
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Review
Understanding the Adoption of Innovations in Agriculture: A Review of Selected Conceptual Models
Agronomy 2021, 11(1), 139; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy11010139 - 13 Jan 2021
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 1289
Abstract
Models can provide a structured way to think about adoption and provide a method to investigate the impacts of different factors in the adoption process. With at least 70 years of research in the adoption of agricultural innovations, there has been a proliferation [...] Read more.
Models can provide a structured way to think about adoption and provide a method to investigate the impacts of different factors in the adoption process. With at least 70 years of research in the adoption of agricultural innovations, there has been a proliferation of adoption models, both conceptual and numerical. This diversity has resulted in a lack of convergence in the way adoption is defined, explained, and measured, causing agricultural extension and policy to rely on a body of literature that is often not able to offer clear recommendations on the variables or mechanisms that can be used to design interventions. We conducted a review of conceptual models to clarify the concepts and approaches used in the practice of modeling adoption in agriculture. We described general adoption conceptual models originating from sociology, psychology, economics, and marketing and reviewed examples of models specifically defined for the study of adoption in agriculture. We also broadly assessed the ability of conceptual models to support building numerical models. Our review covered a range of modeling approaches for diffusion and individual adoption, illustrating different perspectives used in the literature. We found that key elements that should be used in adoption models for agriculture include: a way to assess the performance of the proposed new technology (e.g., relative advantage, both economic and non-economic) in relation to the existing technology or practice in place, the process of learning about this advantage, the interaction between individual decision-making and external influences, and characteristics of potential adopters affecting their attitudes towards the technology. We also detected inconsistencies in how different elements are treated in different conceptual models, particularly behavioral elements such as attitudes, motivations, intentions, and external influences. In terms of modeling, the main implication of these inconsistencies is the difficulty to generate quantitative evidence to support these models since multiple interpretations make it difficult to achieve consistency in the definition of observable, measurable variables that can be used to quantify cause-effect relationships. Suggestions for further research in the field include: questioning whether the adoption of all technologies and practices can be represented by the same adoption or learning process, exploring the dynamics in the relationship between adopters and technology before and after adoption, and questioning the basic assumptions behind the process of individual decision-making models and the role of collective decision-making. Findings from this review can be considered by adoption researchers and modelers in their work to assist policy and extension efforts to improve the uptake of future beneficial agricultural innovations. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Farmers’ Adoption of Agricultural Innovations and Their Impact)
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