Factors Inﬂuencing Farmers’ Decisions to Adopt Improved Technologies in Semi-Arid Farming Systems: A case study of the barley variety Kounouz and feed blocks technology in Tunisia
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Despite the high potential of innovative agricultural technologies to boost productivity, incomes, and food security for farmers, the adoption rate by smallholders in Tunisia’s livestock-barley systems is very slow. This paper aims to understand the main factors that inﬂuence farmers’ decisions to adopt the improved barley variety Kounouz and livestock feed blocks in Tunisia. This study presents an analytical framework that combines both extrinsic and intrinsic factors that affect farmers’ decision-making to adopt new agricultural technologies and applies the framework to Kounouz and feed blocks as a case study. A quantitative approach employing a cross-sectional design was used to gather data. Stratiﬁed random sampling was employed and a total of 671 small-scale farmers were selected. Data analysis and assessment was done through descriptive and statistical inferential analysis, and econometric modeling using the binary logistic regression model. The results show that the uptake of agricultural technologies is a complex process inﬂuenced by both extrinsic and intrinsic variables. The innovation characteristics like the perceived beneﬁts of the technology, the knowledge needed to use the technology, the payment and availability of inputs and resources have major inﬂuence on the adoption of Kounouz and feed blocks by smallholders. To a lesser extent, the characteristics of the farmer affect adoption indirectly by inﬂuencing their knowledge, attitudes, and perceptions, which in turn inﬂuence their decision-making. The characteristics of the external environment have a moderate and high inﬂuence for adopting Kounouz and feed blocks respectively. For the communication and extension dimension, the distance to the extension oﬃce negatively affects farmers’ decisions for adopting Kounouz. To improve the adoption of both technologies in the study area, policy makers should understand the knowledge and attitudes farmers have in relation to these technologies and how these are brought to them. Drawing on this information, policies, agricultural technologies and their related extension activities can be redesigned to be appropriate for the preferences and speciﬁc conditions of farmers, leading to greater and more sustainable adoption.