A study of the adoption of innovations by Syrian farmers
The objective of this research was to "investigate, study, analyse, and report conditions under which Syrian "rainfed" wheat farmers live interact and adopt innovations and improved cropping practices. The purpose of this was to help in understanding forces that can influence farmers' decisions to adopt innovations and which influence their adoption behaviour. The research, also, has attempted to develop concepts and methods which have rarely been used before in Syrian conditions. The recommendations for the policy makers and the Extension organisations in Syria were based on the major findings as well as other findings which were revealed throughout the research. The study was carried out in the two largest rainfed cropping areas in the country; Aleppo province to the north and Hassakeh province to the east, the sample of farmers was distributed in First Stability Zone (Zone 1) and Second Stability Zone (Zone 2). A total sample of 60 farmers were randomly selected from both areas. Nine agricultural innovations and improved cropping practices were selected and farmers' adoption behaviour with regard to these innovations and improved practices were investigated. The nine innovations and practices were; "the use of nitrogen", the use of "phosphorus", "following the recommended time of nitrogen application", "the use of improved wheat varieties", "the degree of following the seed renewal for wheat", "the use of herbicides", "the use of pesticides", "the use of sowing machines", and "following the recommended seed bed preparation". The "Sten Score" method was adopted in order to score the adoption behaviour of farmers for the nine selected innovations and improved cropping practice. The method was modified in order to achieve the best classification of farmers on the basis of their adoption behaviour. Four major aspects and characteristics were selected, investigated and later were analysed in relation to the adoption behaviour of farmers with regard to the nine selected innovations and improved practices. These aspects and characteristics were Personal and Socio-Economic, Economic and Institutional, Communicational, and Psychological Factors. The study has concentrated on characteristics which usually have been ignored or avoided in past adoption and diffusion research. Special methods have been devised in order to help in measuring these aspects and characteristics. Special attention was paid to the role of personality and the Self-image of farmers as important aspects affecting their adoption behaviour. Until recently research into farmers' decision making to adopt or reject innovations did not pay attention to the role played by these factors at the time of taking the decision to adopt innovations. The major findings in Zone 1 revealed that the adoption of innovations and improved practice by farmers were related highly and significantly with farmers' "Self-image", the "availability of credit and cash money" and "having an Extension plot or field demonstration on the farm". The three variables together explain over 70% of the variation in the adoption behaviour of farmers. In Zone 2, the farmers' "Self-image", and the "availability of machinery and equipment on the farm" were found to be the best related variables with the adoption behaviour of farmers. The two variables together explain over 60% of the variation in the adoption behaviour of farmers. The recommendations for the policy makers and the Extension organisations in Syria were based on the major findings as well as other findings which were revealed throughout the research.