Measuring the effectiveness of extension innovations for out-scaling agricultural technologies
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Low adoption levels of agricultural technologies undermine the impacts of national and international agricultural research. Using a combination of an ordered logit and Heckman selection models and a case study from an out-scaling program for a barley technology package in Ethiopia, this study provided evidence that a newly introduced farmer-to-farmer extension approach offers a viable option for tackling this development challenge. Model results showed that unlike the conventional approach, the new extension approach was effective in creating better access to seeds of the improved varieties and positively influencing farmers’ perceptions, ultimately leading to favorable adoption decisions. Therefore, the new extension approach proved to be potent in strengthening the extension and seed distribution systems that are often weak links in the research-to-development continuum. The policy implications of these results are that developing world agricultural extension needs to be reoriented more towards enhancing farmer-to-farmer information and seed exchange. Moreover, building the capacity of forerunner farmers for acquiring and processing up-to-date information and knowledge about the improved technologies should be central in developing world extension strategy. By so doing, the desired outcomes in terms of wider adoption and diffusion of improved agricultural technologies could be achieved.