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Agri-technologies and travelling facts: case study of extension education in Tamil Nadu, India

Author

Listed:
  • Howlett, Peter
  • Velkar, Aashish

Abstract

This paper is motivated by two broad questions: how is technology transferred from academia to non-academic domains, and how well do facts within these technologies travel? These questions are explored in the context of a particular extension education program in Tamil Nadu, south India. The paper explores the extent to which fertigation technologies (drip irrigation) and other farm and postharvest technologies travelled from the Tamil Nadu Agricultural University to the farming community in two districts of north Tamil Nadu. The extension effort, involving direct scientist to farmer interaction, sought to push facts about such technologies – termed ‘precision farming’ – to the larger community through demonstration effects. We conclude that although facts about precision farming travelled well, the technologies themselves travelled once certain institutional barriers were overcome. This involved not only overcoming the farmers financial inability to invest in a relatively expensive technology, but also fostering cooperative behaviour and improving individual bargaining power through the formation of local farmers associations. This model of an extension education had an strong demonstration effect that encouraged the travel of critical facts about precision farming.

Suggested Citation

  • Howlett, Peter & Velkar, Aashish, 2008. "Agri-technologies and travelling facts: case study of extension education in Tamil Nadu, India," Economic History Working Papers 22492, London School of Economics and Political Science, Department of Economic History.
  • Handle: RePEc:ehl:wpaper:22492
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    File URL: http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/22492/
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Foster, Andrew D & Rosenzweig, Mark R, 1995. "Learning by Doing and Learning from Others: Human Capital and Technical Change in Agriculture," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 103(6), pages 1176-1209, December.
    2. Munshi, Kaivan, 2004. "Social learning in a heterogeneous population: technology diffusion in the Indian Green Revolution," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 73(1), pages 185-213, February.
    3. Feder, Gershon & O'Mara, Gerald T, 1981. "Farm Size and the Diffusion of Green Revolution Technology," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 30(1), pages 59-76, October.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • Q1 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture
    • N0 - Economic History - - General
    • I23 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Higher Education; Research Institutions
    • B1 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - History of Economic Thought through 1925
    • O53 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economywide Country Studies - - - Asia including Middle East

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