The Disappointing Adoption Dynamics of a Yield-Increasing, Low External Input Technology: The Case of Sri in Madagascar
Agricultural Systems, Forthcoming
Posted: 26 May 2011
Date Written: May 6, 2002
Low external-input agricultural technologies are commonly developed for and promoted in poor rural areas of the developing world because they are presumably more appropriate for farmers who may not have the access or ability to adopt methods requiring significant purchased inputs. The System of Rice Intensification (SRI), a low external-input (LEI) technology, has received a fair amount of attention in recent years both in and outside of Madagascar, where remarkable yield increases have been achieved in a country where most farmers are unable to grow enough rice to feed their families. Despite its promise, we find that SRI is difficult for most farmers to practice because the method requires significant additional labor input at a time of the year when liquidity is low and labor effort is already high. While SRI may be unique for its dramatic yield increases and relative complexity, the highly seasonal, labor-intensive nature of SRI is common to many LEI technologies, calling into question the common assumption of the appropriateness of such technologies for smallholders.
Keywords: sustainable agriculture, low external input agriculture, technology adoption
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