Social and economic challenges in the development of complex farming systems

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

78 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The fundamental challenge in developing a new farming system is to have it adopted and maintained by farmers. The difficulty of achieving widespread adoption is increased if the new farming system is complex and/or radically different to current farming practice. This paper is a review of these issues with a focus on farming systems based on mimicry of natural ecosystems. It is proposed that there are four conditions which are necessary for an individual farmer to adopt an innovative farming-system: awareness of the innovation, perception that it is feasible to trial the innovation, perception that the innovation is worth trialing, and perception that the innovation promotes the farmer's objectives. Challenges involved in meeting each of these conditions are discussed. It is concluded that the most important challenges in developed countries are: (a) developing a farming system that is in fact more profitable than current practice; (b) assessing whether a system is in fact more profitable than current practice; and (c) overcoming the problem of deep uncertainty about the technology. In developing countries one must add the additional challenges of (d) high interest rates/high discount rates; and (e) insecure or inequitable land tenure.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)393-409
JournalAgroforestry Systems
Volume45
Issue number1/3
Publication statusPublished - 1999

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Social and economic challenges in the development of complex farming systems'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this