Introducing new technologies for sustainable agricultural development in Mongolia : towards a collaborative and effective extension system
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A major goal for Mongolia is to eliminate rural poverty through sustainable rural development. To accomplish this, the agricultural sector must become more profitable and sustainable. Declining crop yields can be addressed by the adoption of new technology. Barriers to introduction of new agricultural technologies were evaluated using an inter-disciplinary perspective. Field research was carried out to understand the factors affecting Mongolian farmers’ decisions to adopt conservation farming practices. A semi-structured survey questionnaire was completed by 42 farmers and 30 extension agents and in-depth interviews were conducted with ten adopter-farmers in Mongolia. The introduction of conservation tillage was used to illustrate a technology transfer system and the challenges it poses. To most of the farmers, the main advantages of this technology were reduced soil erosion, increased cost efficiency, and higher crop yields. The main disadvantages found were high investment costs, unreliable input supply, and a lack of knowledge of the technology. Factors that encourage adoption of new technologies include government financial incentives, reduced labor requirements, and increased production due to better soil and water conservation. A lack of investment capital, required inputs, and relevant knowledge were all identified as barriers for the utilization of such new technologies. In general, early adopters and non-adopters of conservation tillage differed in that the early adopters tended to have more farmland, livestock, and equipment. The field studies in Mongolia were complemented by field research trials in Canada that evaluated new technologies for weed control in conservation tillage systems. One key to the successful adoption of new agriculture technologies is an effective and responsive research and extension system. Currently, for Mongolian farmers and extension agents, international projects are the main source of information with respect to new agricultural technologies. The capacity of local research and extension institutions is fairly limited. It will be important to establish better linkages among 3 researchers, extension agents, farmers, and policy makers through reorganization and strengthening of Mongolia’s “top-down” research and extension system. Meaningful farmer participation must take place at all stages of any technology transfer process. Based on these principles, an interdisciplinary, inclusive, and responsive national agricultural research and extension model is proposed.
DegreeDoctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
SupervisorHolm, Rick; Schoenau, Jeff
CommitteeGertler, Michael; Cochrane, Don; Wood, Grant; Anderson, Darwin; Hambly Odame, Helen
Copyright DateSeptember 2010