Can Cooperative Membership and Participation Affect Adoption Decisions? Issues for Sustainable Biotechnology Dissemination
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Biotechnology has become the dominate technology in the agricultural environment globally, possessing the capacity to address issues related to food insecurity and low productivity. Developing countries therefore cannot afford to be left behind. Despite how beneficial biotechnology is portrayed, the major task hinges on how to ensure that farmers in developing countries adopt it amid various controversies and perceptions surrounding its application. This article studies the effects of cooperative membership and participation on adoption decision of agricultural innovations in the states of Kaduna and Borno in Nigeria. A semi-structured questionnaire was used to obtain empirical data from 1,120 respondents. Results revealed that the majority of farmers belonged to cooperative organizations due to several reasons, including the need for information and social capital. Participation in cooperative activities was frequent and information disseminated was adjudged relevant to members' needs. The level of trust ascribed to information from cooperative activities was higher than other sources. Farmers became aware of recently adopted innovations through cooperatives. Willingness to adopt biotechnology was higher if disseminated through cooperatives than other channels. Intuitively, disseminating biotech information through cooperatives will ensure increased awareness levels in less time than other approaches.
AgBioForum, 12(3&4) 2009: 437-451.