Networks and diffusion of agricultural innovations

Dissemination of improved technologies could play crucial role in increasing productivity in agriculture. Extension services, provided by governments and other organizations, could address existing information barriers by providing recommendations for increasing agricultural productivity and yields. Trained farmers may disseminate knowledge further to their peers. Hence, social networks could play an important role in this process—thanks to credibility of contacts and knowledge of local conditions.

This chart of the week from the recent UNU-WIDER Working Paper shows different types of networks in one village in Guinea-Bissau. The research brings several important conclusions. It confirmed that that agricultural information diffuses along social network links from project participants to non-participants. Different types of networks play different role. While chatting network connects virtually all families in village, farmer’s financial support networks are most relevant for information diffusion. Weak social links appear to be as important as strong links in the dissemination of agricultural knowledge. Finally, project has impact on farmers’ communication network, which expanded because of training.

Rute Martins Caeiro. Diffusion of agricultural innovations in Guinea-Bissau. From learning to doing. WIDER Working Paper 7/2022