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Unpacking the drivers behind the use of the agricultural innovation systems (AIS) approach: The case of rice research and extension professionals in Sierra Leone

Unpacking the drivers behind the use of the agricultural innovation systems (AIS) approach: The case of rice research and extension professionals in Sierra Leone

Kamara, Lamin Ibrahim, Dorward, Peter, Lalani, Baqir ORCID: 0000-0001-8287-3283 and Wauters, Erwin (2019) Unpacking the drivers behind the use of the agricultural innovation systems (AIS) approach: The case of rice research and extension professionals in Sierra Leone. Agricultural Systems, 176:102673. ISSN 0308-521X (doi:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.agsy.2019.102673)

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Abstract

Agriculture Innovation System (AIS) thinking and approaches are largely perceived as a sine-qua-non for the design and implementation of effective and sustainable agriculture development programmes. AIS has gained popularity in the agriculture innovation literature and has been embedded in policy documents of agriculture sector institutions in many countries. However, there is much less evidence of AIS thinking influencing the behaviours of research and extension institutions and staff ‘on the ground’. An important research gap is the need to better understand the attitudes and beliefs of extension and research professionals regarding AIS and that drive behaviours. Sierra Leone, like most developing countries, has embraced the use of AIS (at least in theory) as evident in policy documents of government institutions – the leading innovation system actors in the country. This study uses the Theory of Planned Behaviour (TPB) to assess the cognitive foundation of agricultural research scientists and extension professionals' intention to use the AIS approach related to rice innovation (the country's staple food crop). Results show there are significant differences in intention which relate to organisation affiliation, age, and gender. Moreover, those with a high intention to use the AIS approach have significantly stronger beliefs associated with the benefits of AIS including its ease of use and the positive effects it is likely to have on smallholder farmers' food security and ability to innovate. Those with a high intention to use the AIS approach also perceive stronger social pressure from key social referents such as colleagues, employers and supervisors; suggesting that policies and an organisation's vision have a significant bearing. Furthermore, the findings suggest that impediments to the use of AIS relate to lack of finance and knowledge. Unpacking these beliefs allows possible entry points to be identified which can enhance the functioning of existing AISs and newly formed ones. The findings and framework presented are useful for many developing countries where AIS approaches are being tested.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: agricultural innovation systems, rice, theory of planned behaviour
Subjects: S Agriculture > S Agriculture (General)
Faculty / Department / Research Group: Faculty of Engineering & Science
Faculty of Engineering & Science > Natural Resources Institute
Faculty of Engineering & Science > Natural Resources Institute > Development Studies Research Group
Last Modified: 03 Sep 2019 08:59
Selected for GREAT 2016: None
Selected for GREAT 2017: None
Selected for GREAT 2018: None
Selected for GREAT 2019: None
URI: http://gala.gre.ac.uk/id/eprint/25041

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