~ The instruction we find in books is like fire. We fetch it from our neighbours, kindle it at home, communicate it to others, and it becomes the property of all ~ Voltaire
Social learning in agriculture refers to learning that takes place through social interactions between a farmer, and individuals in his social and economic network (aka “information networks”). Such learning can influence a farmer’s decisions at various stages such as choice of crops and inputs; method of input application; or any other form of technology adoption.
The purpose of this blog entry is to situate fieldwork observations on social learning in the context of existing theories and evidence on the importance of social networks in agricultural learning. According to researchers at Stanford University, contrary to popular belief, information about new farm technology and best practices do not flow directly from the lab to the farm. Farmers observe the decisions and experiences of their peers before adopting a new technology—a reason why agricultural technology adoption often occurs sequentially, and with a time lag (Munshi 2008). This blog entry discusses the process of social learning at length, and suggests the engagement of local information networks for successful introduction of new agricultural technologies. Continue reading “Love Thy Neighbour : Information Networks, Social Learning & Technology Adoption in Agriculture” »