Impact of improved agricultural extension approaches on technology adoption: Evidence from a randomised controlled trial in rural Tunisia
Low and slow adoption of innovative technologies among smallholder farmers in Tunisia is a key agricultural
development problem partly related to the existing technology transfer approach used in the country.
The objective of this study is to analyse how to design innovative technology transfer strategies more effective
in terms of increasing female and male farmers’ adoption of an improved barley variety, ‘Kounouz’, for
small ruminant nutrition. A randomised controlled trial method was used with farmers in Tunisia to
implement four extension treatments and to evaluate their effects on adoption of Kounouz. Differencein-
difference estimates showed that intensive agricultural trainings can significantly improve adoption
of Kounouz. Technical trainings combined with economic and organisational training and female empowerment
courses resulted in a higher adoption rate. This finding has important policy implications, because
it suggests that ensuring more widespread and equitable adoption of improved technologies may not
require changes in the research system, but rather introduction measures that ensure better access for
women to gender-sensitive extension programmes given their positive impacts on technology adoption
of the household.