Factors Affecting Adoption of Agricultural Technology in Nigeria

Damaged tractor sitting in a farm yard

I will always tell the people around me that Agricultural technology (AT) is here to stay, this is the only way to food sufficiency but the process in which the farmers of today are adopting this new trend is remarkably slow expecially in the developing countries. That's why am going to dive into some of the factors affecting the adoption of (AT) in Nigeria and other developing countries. 


Keyword: Agriculture, Technology, Adoption, Nigeria. 


Introduction 

Agriculture is the oldest occupation in human history but it has hit many wrong turns along the way, without it we won't be talking about food security today, economic growth of even poverty reduction. Over 2.5 billion people thrives in making a living from agriculture in developing countries (FAO 2003), this figure keeps increasing and the journey to food sufficiency is becoming more of an impossible task because of certain factors that inhibit the full throttle of this wonderful occupation. Without small holder farmers there is no Agriculture, this section alone accounts for about 70 percent of total agricultural produce in developing countries, but they are blessed with little knowledge of Agricultural Technology which in turn leads to reduced yield.
The population is increasing in an alarming rate and it is only wise to buttress the issue of increasing our agricultural productivity through modern Agricultural technologies. 
If only Agricultural technology(AT) is well adopted in this part of the world then I wouldn't be so engaged with this topic, it's importance cannot be over emphasized. Agricultural technology can lead to sustainable food production which can also accelerate the process of achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). 


Technology Adoption 

Leovinsohn et al., 2013 defined technology as the means and methods of producing goods and services, including methods of organization as well as physical techniques.
He also went further by defining Adoption as the integration of new technology into existing practice and its usually proceeded by a period of trying and some degree of adaptation.
Therefore the definition of Agricultural Technology Adoption by a farmer is well dependent on the technology in which the farmer is adopting to.


What determines Agricultural technology adoption?

There are many lingering factors determining the failure of Agricultural Technology in developing countries and this stretches from the farmer's personal characteristics, the risk involved, lack of accessible information, uncertainty about the new technology, availability of input, infrastructure and institutional constraints to mention a few. 
The list of factors I will give, explains how each of these factors affect the adoption of AT in developing countries. 

Technological factors ;

  • Farmers are the hardest people to convince in this world and the only way to convince them is by proving to them that the said technology will work on their farmland and in their geographical area. That's why an on farm field trial should be carried out on farmers field, showing the farmer how the said technology works if implemented on a larger scale. But these are not the case, some Agricultural tech company feel that there is no need to convince the farmer on the current trend due to the extra expenses from such venture. These alone will make the farmer feel as if he is being forced on the said technology. Research has proven that most farmers in which on farm field trial are carried out ended up adopting the said technology than those who just saw it on TV or in any media outlets. Farmers should be involved in the evaluation of any new technology, this gives them a better understanding of the said technology.

Economic factor ;

  • Farm size: This is a major determinant that is affecting the adoption of technology in Agriculture today. The size of the farm says a lot about how the farmer will react about the said technology. Farmers with large farm size are more likely to adopt a certain technology due to their ability to easily spare a certain section of their land unlike those with small farm sizes. Most technologies this days requires the use of large farmlands e.g are technologies which requires the use of mechanized equipment. There results are always calculated in hectares, this alone can discourage the farmer with a small farmland who has little or no income from his produce. Technologies should be targeted to both large and small farm sizes. In fact results have proven that when technological advancement are well targeted even the small farm size farmers will easily adopt to it, an easy example is the adoption of a farmer to Green house technology.
  • Farmers Net gain from adoption: This is another determinant that affects the adoption of AT, the cost of adopting the said technology and implementing it is a big constraint to the farmer. These technologies can run to millions of Naira if they are to be applied on a farmers field which in turn will drastically increase the cost of production,this will further lead to an increase in food price for e.g anytime we experience a hike in the cost of fertilizer there will automatically be an increase in food price. Government intervention is well needed on this matter by giving support to the farmers. Policies should be made to subsidies what needs to be subsidies, this will go along way in encouraging farmers to adopt a particular technology. 

Institutional factor;

  • Social group : farmers who are active members of an Agricultural social community, where exchange of new technologies thrives tends to easily come to terms with technological advancement which will further ease technological adoption. It is encouraged that farmers create a thriving community on social media where they can share ideas and interact by asking probing questions on technologies that are trending. Research has further proven that farmers who are active on agricultural social groups tends to perform better in technology adoption than those who are not.
  • Availability of information : Who ever said information is power is not lying, the more a farmer is exposed to information about a said technology the easier it is for him/her to adopt it. These informations equip the farmer on what to expect and what to do to get the best out of the new technology, but this is not applicable to all farmers. There will always be a Thomas in the room. 
  • Easy access to extension services : The importance of extension agents to a farmer is a lot to talk about. Extension agents are the eyes and ears of the farmer who doesn't have any medium of understanding what is going on in the technological world. Extension agents are the middle men who stand in between the farmer and the researcher of the said technology. They put the farmer through what ever farmer does not understand in the farmers own language. They are the farmers guide when he/she is lost, and they make sure the information is being digested for easy implementation.
  • Access to credit facilities : These aids the farmer to adopt the said technology by reducing the farmers risk to the barest minimum. Most farmers will be willing to adopt a technology if there are access to credit loans on that technology. The government should try as much as possible to create certain policies that enhances access to credit facilities with little or no payback interest. 

Farmer's Household factor:

This is one of the most significant factor that affects the adoption of agricultural technology in developing countries. This has to do with the Human capital of a farmer such as the farmers age, household size, educational background and gender. 
  • Educational background : The level of a farmer's education accelerate the adoption process of the said technology because the farmer will have a better understanding about the trends and will easily understand the instructions for implementation. 
  • Age : They say hard nuts are hard to crack this is no exemption to the older farmer. I remember trying to convince a farmer on how to integrate nutrient management on his groundnut field, and he told me that he was too old to learn new things. Research have shown that younger farmers are willing to test new waters when it comes to technology than their older counterparts. 

Other factors ;

  • Off-farm income 
  • Household size 
  • Gender issues. 

Conclusion 

These factors has  given us a better understanding of how the farmer sees a new technology. Understanding this factors will give us better understanding on how we could overcome these factors to enhance easy implementation which will go a long way by improving crop or animal production. 

How about you click the share button to spread the word, you might never know who this article might help. 

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