Seeding success: Increasing agricultural technology adoption through information

Modern agricultural technologies have enormous potential to drive poverty reduction and economic growth, but adoption remains low in many countries. New models of information sharing could help resolve this.

With over half of working adults in sub-Saharan Africa employed in agriculture, improving agricultural productivity is an important way to raise living standards. This brief focuses on mechanisms to encourage the adoption of better farming technologies – broadly defined to include improved agricultural practices, inputs, crop varieties, and other products like crop insurance or innovative lending products – to increase agricultural productivity and improve livelihoods.

While numerous studies and field trials have demonstrated large potential productivity gains from agricultural technologies such as hybrid seeds and fertiliser, their usage remains strikingly low in Africa. The rates of fertiliser use in sub-Saharan Africa are one-eighth the worldwide average, with Africa accounting for only 3% of global fertiliser consumption in 2013 (FAO, 2015).