PhD defence: Essays on Technology Adoption in Crop Farming: Lessons from Smallholder Farming in Ethiopia and Precision Farming in Europe

PhD defence

Tseganesh Wubale Tamirat


Globally, agriculture is on a cross road with pressing challenges of ever increasing demand in the face of declining availability of key natural resources, climate change and volatility in market and regulatory conditions. To survive amid these challenges, technologies hoped to improve productivity and overall performance of agriculture have been promoted. However, utilization does not live up to expectations. With the objective of contributing to the advancement of understanding of technology adoption in agriculture, this study focuses on methodological issues in modelling technology adoption behavior in the presence of interdependence in users' adoption decision across related technologies; understand farmers' views and needs about farm technologies; and estimation of expected costs and benefits of technologies. The thesis consists of four self-contained but related papers. One paper focuses on the use of context relevant models to adequately model farm households' interdependent adoption decisions considering five innovations using panel data from Ethiopia. The other three papers are related to precision agriculture technologies in Europe (auto-guidance and GPS-assisted precision agriculture (PA), Controlled Traffic Farming (CTF) and an integrated precision farming technology for irrigation and harvest management (labelled as USERPA). Main findings from the thesis: (i) farmers do consider multiple technologies in their adoption decisions. (ii) Scale of operation (farm size) does have a significant bearing on the adoption of PA technologies. (iii) Surveyed European farmers reveal positive perception and expectation about the potential of CTF but adoption is hindered by technical, economic and access related factors. (iv) Economic advantage of USERPA is highly sensitive to changes in fruit price and cost of sensors. The findings of the study suggest for: (a) comprehensive modelling of interdependent decisions, (b) adapted market models (e.g, adapted contractual service provision in collaboration with farming associations) to minimize fixed cost associated with the technologies in consideration and enable optimal use of resources and (c) regulatory interventions to facilitate standardization and compatibility of technologies from different suppliers. Meaningful understanding and beneficial facilitation of technology adoption demands coordination of efforts.


Associate Professor Søren Marcus Pedersen, Department of Food and Resource Economics (IFRO), University of Copenhagen

Co-supervisor: Associate Professor Kurt Nielsen, Department of Food and Resource Economics (IFRO), University of Copenhagen

Assessment Committee

Chair: Associate Professor, Tove Christensen, Department of Food and Resource Economics, University of Copenhagen

Director Mogens Lund, Norwegian Institute of Bioeconomy Research

Associate Professor Emeritus Jørgen Lindgaard Pedersen, Danish Technical University


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