. Need-based innovation motivates attitude change in farmers: evaluation of PROSAB approach.
Nwankwo, U M
Bett, R C
Peters, K J
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The assumption that indigenous farmers resist change is shallow, explained only by a lack of thorough investigation of what the change agents intend to communicate, how they intend to communicate it and the intended beneficiaries. Adoption-decision is complex; it is affected by innovation’s attributes, information-communication perception, socioeconomic, institutional, policy environments and other factors. Besides the riskiness of being the first to try new innovation, problem of resource allocation for maximum utility also affects individual decisions. Innovation availability, affordability and workability are sine qua non to agricultural development therefore they ought to work both technically and commercially. Both a semi-structured questionnaire and personal interviews were administered on a total of 560 farmers from 4 Local Government Areas in Borno State, Nigeria. Farmers faced numerous constraints, fertiliser availability and affordability being the highest, (18% total share) followed by weed problems (17%). Only 18% had information access for problem solution, information received is relevant to farming needs (36%). Within 3 years of PROSAB’s (Promoting Sustainable Agriculture in Borno State) activities in the state, the majority of the respondents have adopted their new crop varieties. Soybean (Glycine max) was not cultivated in the region before. The effect of participation on adoption decision was statistically significant at p<0.0001. 77% of respondents are core farmers while 73% make their living through it with a mean of 23.8 years experience. Soybean planting-harvesting ratio was 1:53 kg and maize (Zea mays) 0.14:23 kg. Innovation attributes were ranked in order of priority; economic needs rank higher than religious or cultural priorities. The claims that indigenous farmers resist change are not always the case due to approach like soliciting for their opinion. This paper has underscored this observation and diffused the misconception. It is clear that farmers can change when presented with sustainable alternatives through consultation.