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Unpacking the drivers behind the use of the Agricultural Innovation Systems (AIS) approach: The case of rice research and extension professionals in Sierra Leone

Kamara, L. I., Dorward, P., Lalani, B. and Wauters, E. (2019) Unpacking the drivers behind the use of the Agricultural Innovation Systems (AIS) approach: The case of rice research and extension professionals in Sierra Leone. Agricultural Systems, 176. 102673. ISSN 0308521X

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1016/j.agsy.2019.102673

Abstract/Summary

Agriculture Innovation System (AIS) thinking and approaches are largely perceived as a sine-qua-non for the design and implementation of effective and sustainable agriculture development programmes. AIS has gained popularity in the agriculture innovation literature and has been embedded in policy documents of agriculture sector institutions in many countries. However, there is much less evidence of AIS thinking influencing the behaviours of research and extension institutions and staff ‘on the ground’. An important research gap is the need to better understand the attitudes and beliefs of extension and research professionals regarding AIS and that drive behaviours. Sierra Leone, like most developing countries, has embraced the use of AIS (at least in theory) as evident in policy documents of government institutions – the leading innovation system actors in the country. This study uses the Theory of Planned Behaviour (TPB) to assess the cognitive foundation of agricultural research scientists and extension professionals' intention to use the AIS approach related to rice innovation (the country's staple food crop). Results show there are significant differences in intention which relate to organisation affiliation, age, and gender. Moreover, those with a high intention to use the AIS approach have significantly stronger beliefs associated with the benefits of AIS including its ease of use and the positive effects it is likely to have on smallholder farmers' food security and ability to innovate. Those with a high intention to use the AIS approach also perceive stronger social pressure from key social referents such as colleagues, employers and supervisors; suggesting that policies and an organisation's vision have a significant bearing. Furthermore, the findings suggest that impediments to the use of AIS relate to lack of finance and knowledge. Unpacking these beliefs allows possible entry points to be identified which can enhance the functioning of existing AISs and newly formed ones. The findings and framework presented are useful for many developing countries where AIS approaches are being tested.

Item Type:Article
Refereed:Yes
Divisions:Faculty of Life Sciences > School of Agriculture, Policy and Development
ID Code:85916
Publisher:Elsevier

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