Farmers’ Demand and the Traits and Diffusion of Agricultural Innovations in Developing Countries

Posted: 14 Oct 2019

See all articles by Karen Macours

Karen Macours

Paris School of Economics (PSE)

Date Written: October 2019

Abstract

International agricultural research is often motivated by the potential benefits it could bring to smallholder farmers in developing countries. A recent experimental literature has emerged on why innovations resulting from such research, which often focuses on yield enhancement, fail to be adopted due to either external or internal constraints. This article reviews this literature, focusing on the traits of the different technologies and their complexity and distinguishing between yield-enhancing, variance-reducing, and water- or labor-reducing technologies. It also discusses how farmers’ reallocation of inputs and investments when external constraints are lifted suggests that they often do not seek to increase yield or input intensity. The article further reviews evidence indicating that a technology's potential as observed in agronomical trials is not necessarily a good predictor for smallholder farmers’ demands for the technology in real-life conditions. The last section derives conclusions for the research and policy agenda.

Suggested Citation

Macours, Karen, Farmers’ Demand and the Traits and Diffusion of Agricultural Innovations in Developing Countries (October 2019). Annual Review of Resource Economics, Vol. 11, Issue 1, pp. 483-499, 2019, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3468090 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1146/annurev-resource-100518-094045

Karen Macours (Contact Author)

Paris School of Economics (PSE) ( email )

48 Boulevard Jourdan
Paris, 75014 75014
France

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