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Factors influencing adoption of improved grassland management by small-scale dairy farmers in central Mexico and the implications for future research on smallholder adoption in developing countries

Martínez-García, C. G., Dorward, P. and Rehman, T. (2013) Factors influencing adoption of improved grassland management by small-scale dairy farmers in central Mexico and the implications for future research on smallholder adoption in developing countries. Livestock Science, 152 (2-3). pp. 228-238. ISSN 1871-1413

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1016/j.livsci.2012.10.007

Abstract/Summary

There have been limited recent advances in understanding of what influences uptake of innovations despite the current international focus on smallholder agriculture as a means of achieving food security and rural development. This paper provides a rigorous study of factors influencing adoption by smallholders in central Mexico and builds on findings to identify a broad approach to significantly improve research on and understanding of factors influencing adoption by smallholders in developing countries. Small-scale dairy systems play an important role in providing income, employment and nutrition in the highlands of central Mexico. A wide variety of practices and technologies have been promoted by the government public services to increase milk production and economic efficiency, but there have been very low levels of uptake of most innovations, with the exception of improving grassland through introduction of grass varieties together with management practices. A detailed study was conducted with 80 farmers who are already engaged with the use of this innovation to better understand the process of adoption and identify socioeconomic and farm variables, cognitive (beliefs), and social–psychological (social norms) factors associated with farmers' use of improved grassland. The Theory of Reasoned Action (TRA) was used as a theoretical framework and Spearman Rank Order correlation was conducted to analyse the data. Most farmers (92.5%) revealed strong intention to continue to use improved grassland (which requires active management and investment of resources) for the next 12 months; whereas 7.5% of farmers were undecided and showed weak intention, which was associated with farmers whose main income was from non-farm activities as well as with farmers who had only recently started using improved grassland. Despite farmers' experience of using improved grassland (mean of 18 years) farmers' intentions to continue to adopt it was influenced almost as much by salient referents (mainly male relatives) as by their own attitudes. The hitherto unnoticed longevity of the role social referents play in adoption decisions is an important finding and has implications for further research and for the design of extension approaches. The study demonstrates the value and importance of using TRA or TPB approaches to understand social cognitive (beliefs) and social–psychological (social norms) factors in the study of adoption. However, other factors influencing adoption processes need to be included to provide fuller understanding. An approach that would enable this, and the development of more generalisable findings than from location specific case studies, and contribute to broader conceptualisation, is proposed.

Item Type:Article
Refereed:Yes
Divisions:Faculty of Life Sciences > School of Agriculture, Policy and Development > Economic and Social Sciences Division > Livelihoods Research
ID Code:30846
Publisher:Elsevier

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