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Exploring factors that shape small-scale farmers' opinions on the adoption of eco-friendly nets for vegetable production

Vidogbéna F., Adegbidi A., Tossou R., Assogba Komlan F., Martin T., Ngouajio M., Simon S., Parrot L., Garnett S.T., Zander K.K.. 2016. Environment, Development and Sustainability, 18 (6) : p. 1749-1770.

DOI: 10.1007/s10668-015-9717-z

If agro-ecological systems are to realize their potential as sustainable alternatives to conventional agricultural systems, innovation diffusion needs to be enhanced. We conducted surveys among 214 small-scale vegetable farmers in Benin, a food-deficit country in West Africa, on how they perceived the different attributes of eco-friendly nets (EFNs). The nets act as physical barriers against insects in vegetable production and so reduce pesticide use. Understanding farmer perceptions about new technologies helps reveal farmers' propensity to adopt them. Intensity of attitude was measured on a Likert scale, and an ordered probit model was used to determine which characteristics of nets were most influential. Eighteen percent of farmers thought that EFNs would benefit them, but almost half preferred not to adopt this technology at all. The main reason for rejecting the nets was the perceived high labor requirement, particularly on larger plots of land. This largely negative perception was strongest among farmers with large areas cultivated with vegetables, farmers who had little or no experience in a trial, and those living far from extension services. We recommend expanded trials that engage a higher proportion of farmers, strengthening of external support for those wanting to use the nets and further technological development to reduce labor costs, improved access to finance and increased education about the negative impacts of insecticides abuse.

Mots-clés : agroécologie; petite exploitation agricole; exploitation agricole familiale; culture maraîchère; protection biologique des plantes; méthode de lutte; système d'exploitation agricole; sécurité alimentaire; durabilité; pesticide; développement agricole; bénin

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