Adoption of multi-component and preventive rice production technologies: a study of complexity in innovations

Karen Eloisa Tanzo Barroga

    Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

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    [Truncated abstract] In recent years, efforts to extend and promote adoption of improved farming practices in the Philippines (and other developing countries) have tended to focus on integrated packages of technologies such as Integrated Weed Management (IWM) and Integrated Crop Management (ICM). Compared with the types of farming technologies that were previously promoted, these technologies are relatively complex. They consist of packages of multiple components, rather than a single component, and to some extent they are designed to prevent future problems, rather than offering immediate benefits. It has been observed that, compared with previous extension campaigns, adoption of these practices has been relatively low and slow. This study is concerned with understanding the reasons for this negative impact on adoption. To what extent do the multicomponent and preventive characteristics of IWM and ICM inhibit their adoption by Philippine rice farmers? A review of the literature shows that complexity is a relatively under-researched aspect of agricultural technology adoption. A combination of research methods was used. First, a survey was conducted among 170 rice farmers in three municipalities in Nueva Ecija, Philippines to elicit their perceptions about the attributes of IWM/ICM that were hypothesised to influence their adoption by farmers. Then, case studies were carried out to investigate the extent to which these attributes actually influence adoption and to examine the learning process involved with IWM/ICM as compared with simple, productivity-oriented technologies. Finally, a computer-based economics experiment was performed with 118 university students to explore the effect of the multi-component and preventive features on decision-making. Results showed that Filipino rice farmers had a mix of positive and negative perceptions about ICM/IWM. On the positive side, they perceived these technologies as safe to health and environment. On the negative side, they had concerns about the technologies’ compatibility with current systems, complexity, risk (i.e. reliability), yield gains, and trialability. Overall, they were disappointed with their relative advantage. They had responded in various ways: by not using the technology at all; not using the technology on all of their farm; not using some of the technology components; using the technology in gradual or stepwise manner; and not sharing information about the technology with other farmers. Based on logistic regression analysis, it was found that farmers who adopted IWM/ICM tended to have bigger farm size, to have access to credit, to have undergone IWM/ICM training, and to perceive IWM/ICM as safe. Case study findings showed that with complex technologies, information and skills delivery and acquisition were more sophisticated and comprehensive than for simpler technologies. This means that farmers have a harder time in accurately learning about complex technologies, resulting in higher learning and decision costs. Furthermore, the information required is more specialised and location-specific, needing more time and making it more difficult for farmers to share relevant information with fellow farmers, thus inhibiting technology diffusion within the farming community...
    Original languageEnglish
    QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
    Publication statusUnpublished - 2010


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