Information acquisition and the adoption of improved crop varieties

Inadequate information on the benefits of and knowledge about innovative agricultural technologies continue to be a major constraint to technology adoption among smallholder farmers in developing countries. The low adoption of new technologies is one of the causes of low productivity and high poverty incidence among smallholder farmers, particularly in Africa. In this paper, I briefly review the literature on social networks and technology diffusion, and argue that the diffusion potential of social networks is underexplored. I then present results from two empirical studies on the impact of social networks on the adoption of improved crop varieties in Ghana and Ethiopia. The results reveal that farmers' peer adoption decisions and experiences, as well as information from trained development agents positively and statistically influence their adoption decisions. I also find that network structural characteristics such as lower segmentation within networks, high credibility of the information, and high effectiveness and efficiency of the amount of information flow tend to improve information acquisition and speed up diffusion of improved crop varieties.


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