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Identifying the Potential Adopters of an Agricultural Innovation

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by Geoff Kaine …

by Geoff Kaine
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    • 1. Identifying the Potential Adopters of an Agricultural Innovation Geoff Kaine Department of Primary Industries, Victoria Dr V Wright and Prof R Cooksey University of New England, Armidale, NSW Presentation to National Symposium on Understanding Practice Change by Farmers Melbourne, Victoria, 2008
    • 2. Key Messages
      • The adoption of many agricultural innovations has not met expectations.
      • We have developed a method for identifying the potential adopters of agricultural innovations.
      • The method has shown that the number of potential adopters is often much smaller than we think. This means extension has often been more successful than we thought.
      • The method can be used to help set priorities for research, extension and policy.
    • 3. Outline
      • Why is it important to identify the number of potential adopters of agricultural innovations.
      • Summarise the theory.
      • Describe a method for identifying the number of potential adopters of agricultural innovations.
      • Present an example.
      • Discuss some implications for policy, research and extension.
    • 4. Why it is Important
      • Research
        • Knowing how many producers might adopt helps in allocating funds to research projects.
      • Extension
        • Knowing how many have adopted, and how many may adopt, helps in planning extension programs.
      • Policy
        • Knowing how many producers might adopt, and why, helps in setting policies.
    • 5. Potential Adopters
      • Those producers for whom the innovation a potentially offers a net benefit.
      • Those producers for whom the innovation will create a net benefit by assisting them to better meet their utilitarian, social and hedonic goals as managers of agricultural enterprises given sufficient knowledge of the consequences of adopting the innovation.
      • The number of potential adopters is the market for an innovation.
    • 6. The Theory - Involvement
      • Involvement is a measure of motivation to invest time and energy.
      • Sources are utilitarian, social and hedonic.
      • Involvement is intensified when there is uncertainty about the consequences for achieving goals.
    • 7. Involvement
    • 8. Involvement and Farming
      • The adoption of an innovation is a highly involving decision for producers.
      • Producers devote time and effort to reasoning about the consequences of adopting.
      • This requires they identify the elements in their farm system that interact with the innovation to influence the benefits and costs of adoption.
    • 9. The Theory – Farm Context
      • The elements in a farm system that interact with an innovation to influence the benefits and costs of adoption is the farm context for that innovation.
      • The farm context can include physical, technological and lifestyle characteristics, and perceptions of risks.
      • The number of potential adopters is the set of producers with farm contexts that suit an innovation.
      • Differences in farm context equate with different benefit segments.
    • 10. The Method
      • Face-to-face interviewing to identify farm context.
      • Large scale survey to statistically validate interview results and to quantify population and benefit segments.
      • Face-to-face interviews to validate membership of benefit segments and implications.
    • 11. Example
      • Micro-irrigation in Fruit Growing
      • Promoted to increase efficiency of water use.
      • Apparently limited adoption.
      • Surprisingly few fruit growers attending extension events.
    • 12. Micro-irrigation in fruit growing
      • Benefits sought by fruit growers
        • Reduced use of water and labour
        • Greater control over volume delivered
        • Flexibility in timing of activities
    • 13. Micro-irrigation in fruit growing
      • Farm Context
        • Limited labour
        • Limited water supplies
        • Problems with high water tables or salinity
        • Problems with supply of irrigation water at volume
        • Hilly or sandy country
        • High density planting
        • Irrigation water on demand
    • 14. Farm Context and Benefit Segments 23% 24% 17% 15% 22% Yes No Yes No No Yes No Segment 1 Control and time saving redevelopers Segment 2 Time-saving converters Segment 3 Water-saving micro-irrigators Segment 5 Flood irrigators Segment 4 Control redevelopers High density planting Limited labour High density planting Limited water supplies, watertable or salinity problems Yes
    • 15. Implications - Research
      • Typically, the number of potential adopters is only a fraction of producers in an industry or region.
      • Knowing the benefit segments for an innovation would support the tailoring of research products for different segments.
      • Individual producers probably cannot represent all benefit segments. This should be considered in the recruitment of producers as participants in research programs.
    • 16. Implications - Extension
      • The spread of innovations among potential adopters is usually under-estimated. This means extension has often been more successful than was thought.
      • Extension messages can be tailored to appeal to different benefit segments to accelerate adoption.
      • Declining attendance by producers may signal success rather than failure.
    • 17. Implications - Policy
      • Extension is a policy instrument. It accelerates adoption by reducing the time and effort producers must invest in learning.
      • Other policy instruments are needed to expand the population of potential adopters.
      • The method described here could be used to help predict producers responses to policy instruments like infrastructure change and regulation.
    • 18. Conclusion
      • The adoption of many agricultural innovations has not met expectations.
      • We have developed a method for identifying the potential adopters of agricultural innovations.
      • The method has shown that the number of potential adopters is often much smaller than we think. This means extension has often been more successful than we thought.
      • The method can be used to help set priorities for research, extension and policy.