Back to Page Authors: Martina Ayoub

Keywords: innovation, information acquisition strategies, crop type, multivariate probit

Abstract: To ensure the transition to an agro-ecological farming system that does not rely on crop protection products, France has launched an action plan “Ecophyto Plan”. The plan aims to connect innovative farmers and provide the necessary information about farming practices to guide farmers in their transition to the agroecological model. Information and knowledge are vital for farmers who are innovative and willing to change their farming system to an ecological one as they reduce risks and uncertainty. Is it possible that farmers develop different information acquisition strategies for each innovative farming practice implemented on-farm? Do the strategies change based on crop type? Answering these questions will help to identify the social networks, and channels of information that drive innovation amongst farmers and facilitate the transition to the more sustainable farming system, which is vital for stakeholders who endorse these innovations. The study uses multivariate analysis and French data for the year 2016-2017 with marginal effect calculation to test for heterogeneity in the impact of this new extension tool compared to the more traditional information sources. Moreover, the study examines the potential heterogeneity that could exist in information acquisition strategies between different types of crops; by implementing separate models for each crop type included in the data. According to the data sampling, farmers report only one crop type. In the case of two crops, we conduct a t-test on the average of each information source. This approach helps in examining the possibility that farmers develop a unique strategy for each crop type grown on the farm. The study focuses on six farming practices; they include crop rotation, cultural control, biological control, genetic control, mechanical control, and chemical control. We argue that these practices are innovative as farmers need to adapt them to the farm needs. First, we expect that the impact of each information source will differ based on the farming practice type. The traditional sources such as suppliers, media, independent consultants, peers, and cooperative will have a higher impact on the innovation probability in chemical control and cultural control practices. The new extension tools will increase the probability of innovation in practices related to genetic and biological control. Second, we predict that based on the crop type grown in each farm, the most efficient source of information for each innovative practice will be subject to change. In cases where farmers cultivate more than one crop on their farm, we expect that the most efficient source of information for each innovative practice will remain unchanged.