Journal-Article: Information networks that generate economic value: A study on clusters of adopters of new or improved technologies and practices among oil palm growers in Mexico.

Norman Aguilar-Gallegos,Manrrubio Muñoz-Rodríguez,Horacio Santoyo-Cortés,Jorge Aguilar-Ávila,Laurens Klerkx.

Abstract

The area under cultivation of oil palm has undergone considerable growth in Mexico, but yields are far below their potential. This is related to the low rate of adoption of new or improved technologies and practices in areas such as plantation management and farm administration. This study determines the factors that have an influence on adoption of new or improved technologies and practices and their relationship with the generation of economic value of oil palm. A cluster analysis of 33 key new or improved technologies and practices adopted by 104 growers was performed, and the main adoption categories and the variables influencing adoption are described.

The results indicate that three clusters of growers can be discerned that differ in terms of their levels of adoption. The highest level of adoption of new or improved technologies and practices is related to higher yields and vice versa. The new or improved technologies and practices that differentiate the cluster of the advanced adopters from the cluster of the basic adopters are those related to plantation health, grower associations and production unit management.

The cluster of the intermediate adopters is outstanding for their levels of adoption of new or improved technologies and practices in the aspects of plant nutrition, harvest, and genetics and reproduction. The advanced adopters set up better links for getting information, generally from their extensionists. The three clusters each exhibit a great degree of homophily, indicating little information flow between the different clusters of growers, while these can learn from each other. These results make it evident that better articulation among different clusters of growers and other actors should be encouraged, and that diversified and tailor-made extension strategies should be designed to optimally support different clusters of growers.
Keywords: Innovation,Technology adoption,Knowledge,Agricultural extension,Social Network Analysis,Multivariate analysis.

Agricultural Systems
2015

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