South African Journal of Agricultural Extension

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The influence of farmers\' adoption behaviour on maize production

CP Msuya, GH Düvel


Although problems normally addressed in agricultural development are concerned
with some form of production efficiency, most adoption studies do not focus much on the contribution of adoption behaviour to the production efficiency. Instead, they concentrate more on the determining factors and their influence on adoption of recommended practices. This study was therefore designed to determine the contribution of farmers\' adoption of recommended maize production practices, namely maize varieties, seed spacing, fertilization and weeding on production efficiency in order to assess the soundness of the advice given to farmers. The research was conducted in the Njombe district, using a structured questionnaire to collect data from 113 farmers, randomly selected and representing five percent samples of four villages. The results show that most of the farmers (97.3 percent) production efficiency falls well below the achievable maize yield of about 40 bags per acre. The overall low level of adoption of the recommended and investigated practices as well as
their highly significant correlation with yield goes a long way in explaining the low
production efficiency. However the fact that these practices explain only 55 percent of
the yield variation leads to the conclusion that extension and research haven\'t all the
answers, either in terms of the nature and completeness of recommended practices or
in terms of the appropriate criteria for their measurement.

South African Journal of Agricultural Extension Vol. 35 (1) 2006: pp. 93-105

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