Debate: Why aren’t farmers using agricultural tech?


Courtesy of Courtesy of SciDev.Net

Take part in our online debate that will take place on this page on 9 June starting at 1pm British Summer Time (GMT+1). Over two hours, our expert panel will help steer a discussion on why farmers in developing countries are not improving productivity by adopting a greater number of innovative technologies.

Delivering food security for everyone on the planet is a monumental challenge. The global population is set to increase by over two billion by 2050 and, coupled with increasing incomes, this will inevitably lead to a rising demand for food. Yet the effects of soil erosion, climate change and an increasing shortage of water due to over irrigation are likely to lead to a loss of farmland. To attain food security, farmers will have to become ever more innovative. But many farmers in the developing world are slow to adopt technological innovations, ranging from improved maize varieties to the use of information technology. Our online discussion will explore the possible reasons for this.

The debate is being organised alongside the Cornell Alliance for Science, a global initiative for science-based agricultural communications. Accompanying the debate is an introductory piece by the alliance’s director, Sarah Davidson Evanega, on the importance of engaging with farmers to increase the uptake of agricultural innovation.

The debate will draw on the experience and expertise of academics and SciDev.Net staff from around the world.

The discussion will take place in the comment section below. Please log in below and add your comments and questions on the thread.

We will cross-posted questions via Twitter (@scidevnet) using #Tech4Ag.

The online debate will precede an offline debate — also co-organised by SciDev.Net and the Cornell Alliance for Science — on 10 June looking at the role of journalists in promoting technological choice for farmers. This will take place at the World Conference of Science Journalists in Seoul, South Korea.


Julien Chongwang is assistant editor of our Sub-Saharan Africa (French) edition. Prior to joining Scidev.Net, he was the editor in chief of Le Quotidien de l’Economie, a daily newspaper in Douala, Cameroon.

Daniel Fonceka is a researcher and scientific coordinator at the French research centre Agricultural Research for Development (CIRAD) and the Regional Study Centre for the Improvement of Adaptation to Drought (CERASS) in Senegal.

Ndjido Ardo Kane is a geneticist and plant molecular biologist at the Senegalese Institute for Agricultural Research.

Julio Maia is a researcher at the Sao Paulo State University, Brazil. He is currently involved in a project to produce transgenic, drought-resistant soybeans.

Luisa Massarani is based in Brazil and coordinates SciDev.Net’s Latin America & Caribbean edition.

Nick Ishmael Perkins is SciDev.Net’s director. He has worked as a journalist, media trainer and project manager for many years in Sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia and the Caribbean.


Joan Conrow is an independent journalist whose work has appeared in Audubon, National Wildlife and many national and regional publications. She writes frequently about agriculture, biotechnology, nature, politics and human foibles.

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