Why does technology fail to benefit the poorest farmers? A sociotechnical approach to the study of innovation and poverty
Harley, Alicia G.
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AbstractThis dissertation seeks to understand the barriers preventing the poorest farmers from realizing greater benefits from technology innovation. The goal of the dissertation is to derive policy relevant insights for reorienting the institutions structuring agriculture innovation systems to ensure the poorest farmers reap greater benefits from agricultural technology. The research for the three papers was conducted in India and pairs qualitative interviews of farmers and other actors in the agricultural innovation system, including members of the private sector, government, NGOs, international donor agencies, and researchers, with analysis of survey data collected by the author, and secondary sources, including government documents, NGO and donor reports, newspaper articles, books, and journal articles.
The results demonstrate that the benefits of agricultural technology are frequently skewed toward wealthier farmers. This continues to be the case, even when policy makers and technologists are explicitly concerned with the needs of the poorest. Ensuring benefits of technology are realized by the poorest farmers, requires context specific fit between physical and institutional dimensions of technology that explicitly takes into account the opportunities and barriers facing the poorest farmers. Reorienting agricultural innovation systems to meet the needs of the poorest requires more than just technologies with the appropriate physical dimensions. It also requires efforts across stages of the innovation system to align the physical and the institutional dimensions of technology with local conditions, in ways that meet the needs of the poorest.
Citable link to this pagehttp://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HUL.InstRepos:40050010
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