Learning agriculture in rural areas: the drivers of knowledge acquisition and farming practices by rice farmers in West Africa* uri icon

abstract

  • Purpose: This paper explores the main factors that influence farmers in acquiring agricultural knowledge and adopting technologies with the aim of better understanding the agricultural innovation systems in West Africa.Design/Methodology/Approach: We use data collected between 2013 and 2014 across rice hubs in five West African countries: Benin, Cote d'Ivoire, Niger, Nigeria and Togo. In total, 499 household heads were surveyed using a stratified random sampling technique. Data are analyzed with the Mann-Whitney-Wilcoxon test and the Poisson regression.Findings: The findings show that farmers' knowledge is influenced by a range of factors, including household size, training, access to formal and informal knowledge sources and community socioeconomic status. Farmers rely heavily on personal experiences and fellow farmers to adopt technologies.Practical implications: The study suggests that key policies for strengthening the innovation systems are those that help farmers access both formal and informal knowledge sources, credit services, better welfare and information and communication tools.Theoretical implications: The study shows the need to consider both extrinsic factors (e.g. characteristics of the technology and attributes of the external environment) and intrinsic factors (e.g. knowledge, perceptions and attitudes of the potential adopter towards the innovation) when analyzing the decision process toward technology adoption in West Africa.Originality/Value: This initiative is to identify the conditions that will enable a more inclusive technology development and diffusion process. This is important because agricultural extension is currently undergoing a deep restructuring focused on privatizing the agricultural services in developing countries characterized by a low literacy rate.

publication date

  • 2020
  • 2020