Influence of communication on adoption of agricultural innovation: a case of the system of rice intensification in Mwea irrigation scheme
The study sought to investigate the influence of co mmunication on adoption of agricultural innovation and technology. The study u sed a case of the System of Rice Intensification (SRI) which was introduced to farme r in the Mwea Irrigation Scheme in 2009. The study was guided by three specific object ives which were; to determine the communication factors affecting the adoption of sys tem of rise intensification; to find out the influence of background characteristics in adop tion of system of rise intensification and to identify the barriers facing rice farmers in adoption of system of rice intensification. The study adopted a descriptive research approach w hich used questionnaires, key informant interview guide and observation checklist . The use of qualitative and quantitative data techniques enhanced the validity and reliability of the research. The study was able to gather 81 complete questionnaires which fulfilled the criteria for analysis. The researcher was able to conduct a key informant interview with one of the project initiators. The data was presented in chart s, graphs and tables and was added by the researcher’s own interpretation. The study findings showed that education of the far mers and experience of the farmer influence adoption of SRI. In terms of communicatio n, the frequency of interaction between farms and extension officers, availability of information on SRI were the most significant determinants of adoption whereas the so urce of information was the least. The barriers of adoption were the investments costs and inadequate information on SRI. The study concludes that the frequency of communica tion between the farmers and extension agents was a significant communication fa ctor affecting adoption of Sri among the Mwea Irrigation Scheme farmers. The availabilit y of information was also shows to be a communication factor affecting adoption of SRI with the results indicating that the source of information was not a significant factor in determining adoption of SRI. Among the socio-economic variables influence on adoption of agricultural innovation are education levels and the farmers’ experience. The b arriers facing farmers in adoption of SRI in the Mwea Irrigation Scheme were investments costs, lack of adequate information on Sri and lack of previous experience of technolog y. The study recommends that more sensitization of The SRI technology to farmers through the extension officers and technical staff of the p roject. Previous studies have shown that the rate of adoption has been higher among those fa rmers that have more interaction with technical staff in their farms. That facilitation b etween farmers and the SRI project implementers on communication of information. This would entail identifying the information that farmers need to be provided in ord er to be sensitized on SRI through field visits. That the SRI project implementers sho uld engage with farmers who have had more experience in rice farming and those with high er level of education. This will provide motivation for other farmers as they study found that these two groups are the most likely adoptees of SRI.