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Crop Biotech Update

Research Explains Farmer Reluctance to Adopt New Technologies

October 7, 2020

New research from the University of Kent's School of Economics sheds light on a long-standing obstacle to improving agricultural productivity in developing countries—the reluctance of small-scale farmers to adopt modern technologies because of the risks associated with them.

The researchers conducted a series of psychological experiments with aquafarmers in 30 villages in four regions in southern Ghana to measure their aversion to risk and willingness to take gambles. They also recorded the aquafarmers' adoption of three innovative technologies recently introduced to Ghana: predator-proof floating cages for fish; a nutrient-rich fish feed; and a fast-growing, disease-resistant breed of tilapia fish. The results show that aversion to traditional production risks accelerated the adoption of all three technologies. However, the adoption of floating cages was slower due to the significant upfront financial investment required. The study also found that once aquafarmers in a community have started using the cages, the aversion by others to take the risk was further reduced.

Dr. Adelina Gschwandtner, Senior Lecturer in Economics and Principle Investigator, said, "These findings may have significant consequences beyond Africa and onto the global agricultural sector. Addressing traditional perceptions with this new understanding of the potential to reduce risk by adopting new ideas, methods, and technologies may broaden how business ventures are viewed and conducted in the future."

For more details, read the article at the University of Kent News Centre.

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