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Only by combining the supply and demand approaches can a realistic understanding of the diffusion of agricultural innovations be achieved. Discuss.

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Introduction

Only by combining the supply and demand approaches can a realistic understanding of the diffusion of agricultural innovations be achieved. Discuss. Farming is a very complex system and a lot of research has gone into trying to understand how different innovations in farming are spread. It is difficult to separate supply and demand because they have to work hand in hand. Without the supply there is no demand but then without the demand there will be no supply. Therefore, in order to look at the diffusion of agricultural products both the supply perspective and the demand perspective will have to be looked at. From a supply perspective this will involve looking at the diffusion agents, where they are located, diffusion strategies, and size of the company. From a demand perspective it will be important to look at the size of farm and the locality of farm. The diffusion of information to farmers can take two different forms, these being exterenal and internal. The external methods are those like the internet, government advisory services and the mass media. The internal methods are farmers groups and the personal contact. Both of these forms of contact have different impacts on the decision that the farmers will make. The external information will make farmers aware that the technology is about whilst the internal will decide whether or not they accept the new technology. This diffusion of information can also be linked into farmer characteristics because these too are an important element of the acceptance of new technology. ...read more.

Middle

Once the evidence has been created and the adoption of the technology has been accepted it will start to filter down to the next level of the hierarchy. At this stage the neighbourhood effect can also be included, especially if there is strong regional differences, as more farmers start to talk to each other about the new ideas. The idea will continue to diffuse until all levels of the hierarchy have adopted the idea. By the time it reaches the bottom level the top level of the hierarchy are probably already taking on newer technologies. In 1975 Jones came up with eight ideas about how ideas were taken up. ( See fig 1). From the eight ideas it is possible too see that the key to the whole process is the information. Without is nothing is able to move and new ideas will not be spread. Therefore it can be seen that without the supply of the information the technology will not spread but without the demand for that information the supply will not be made. Both of these approaches have not really mentioned much about the supply side of the system, the diffusion agents that start off the ideas. Without them there would be no technology for the farmers to accept. Hagerstrands neighbourhood effect or the hierarchical effect would not apply if there was no information to diffuse. They diffusion agents are the first stages of any technology, they are the ones who make the technology and create the market. ...read more.

Conclusion

When trying to look at the demand approach by itself you are always trying to find out where that demand came from. The same goes for the supply approach, in that you are always looking where the demand is. Therefore by combining the two approaches a realistic understanding can be achieved. Each approach looks at different factors and it is only by combining these factors that we get the whole picture. Fig 1 1. Creation of Knowledge and practices in farming occurs largely outside farms. Very few farms are inventors of new technology. 2. There are a large number of communication channels that exist to inform farmers on these new ideas. E.g ADAS: Government advisory agent on new farming methods. 3. Individual farmers tend not to compete with one another. Farmers talking to one another is an important way of spreading information. 4. Any new ideas take time to spread through the farming community. 5. The Spread of information and ideas depends very much on the farmers. Not all farmers are the same. Some will search for new ideas whilst others resist. All farms are different. 6. The possibility of rejection should be part of any model. Farmers will reject as well as accept new ideas. 7. Courses of action open to farmers will depend on how much information they have and the quality of that information. 8. Any new innovation is surrounded by uncertainty. Those who are conservative will wait and see how the technology works whilst others will jump straight in. ...read more.

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