Developmentby farm innovations Evidence from the Gambia Jan Gunnarsson Associate Professor Emeritus
Aim of this lecture: • Examine innovative behaviour of farmers. • Understand the diffusion of new technology in developing countries in Africa. • Type of innovative activity and technology diffusion: The transformation of conventional agriculture into environmental friendly agroforestry
Total populations 2012: The Gambia: 1.791.000 South Africa: 52.386.000
Technology diffusion in Africa - empirical evidence: • The correlation between GDP per capita and mobile penetration is not strong (the network is also growing in Africa's poor rural areas) • For urban populations, the diffusion of improved stoves is correlated with income, but not for rural areas with scarce cash resources • The poorest groups adopt once the diffusion process has taken off. The costs of learning to use a new technology can be an important barrier to the spread of improved stoves. The poor adopt when the costs of imitation are small. • Social and cultural factors (institutions) affect technology diffusion
Level of innovative activity: • Adoption of new technology: The degree of use of the technology corresponding to users’ level of knowledge about the technology. New technology is fully adopted when all users have full information about the technology and its potential. • Proxy measure of the level of adoption of agroforestry: The amount of knowledge an interviewee has about how trees interact with natural conditions of the ecosystem to optimize the crop yield.
Model of two-period individual adoption • Period 1 • Period 2 • Individual • learning • Individual • learning • Experi- • ment • Experi- • ment • Social Learning
Linking individual adoption and social learning • Social learning: farmers learn from one another Makes moves to higher level of adoption less risky • Research question about social learning: Do family and kinship ties or generic social networksproduce the highest technology diffusion rates?
Learning costs: barrier to adoption and technology diffusion • Individual and • Social learning • Adoption and tech- • nology diffusion • Learning performance • Characteristics of • the technology • Learning • costs • Cultivation • performance
Empirical method applied in Pilot Study • Innovation and technology diffusion in view of the two-period model • Two villages: Tumani Tenda and Omorto • Seven farmers from each village examined through semi-structured interviews • Farmers selected from information about use of agroforestry obtained from extension workers and the Alkalo
Results from pilot study in Tumani Tenda and Omorto • Average level of adoption of agroforestry practices is not yet high. No significant differences between Tumani Tenda and Omorto. • Agroforestry initiated because of expectations about increased economic wealth. Group A) also inspired by a vision of sustainable agriculture. Groups A) – C) rely on governmental extension workers for information about the new technology. • Group A) had significant outlays for learning (travel time, money). Groups B) – C) no significant costs for information. • Group A) applies the whole system approach to agroforestry. Groups B) – C) apply the partial system approach • All three groups lack information about the best practice
Results.....(continuation) • Innovative activity transforms the traditional kinship relationships to relations that take advantage of differences in skills and competences • Even if they fail in the first period, the interviewees for the most part will try again in period two • High yield of agroforestry is the main reason for continuing • No one justifies their continuation by improved communication making imitations cheaper. • Number of alternative occupations available is on factor determining a continuation to period two.
Classification of interviewees by level of adoption • Knowledge included in the measure of adoption level • Mixture of trees and crops improves the production of crops • Mixture of trees and crops produces higher crop yield due to improved nutrient balance of the soil and/or by means of halted soil erosion. • Higher crop yield if trees are used as fodder for livestock and farm yard manure is used on farmland • Three groups of interviewees: • 7 interviewees with knowledge 1. – 3. • 5 interviewees with knowledge 1. – 2. • 2 interviewees lacking knowledge 1. – 3.
Learning networks from which farmers obtain information about agroforestry