Analysis of conservation agriculture preferences for researchers, extension agents, and tribal farmers in Nepal using Analytic Hierarchy Process
Tamang, Bishal B.
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Food security in the Middle Hills region of Nepal is threatened by decreased agricultural productivity resulting from accelerated soil degradation. Conservation agricultural (CA) practices can improve soil health and improve livelihoods, but adoption remains low. This study seeks to improve transfer of CA technology by identifying and comparing farmer, researcher, and extension agent preferences for CA through conducting Analytic Hierarchy Process (AHP). AHP is a method to evaluate multi-criteria decision making that allows for different preferences to be weighted. A hierarchy is constructed where the top row is a goal that has been identified. In this case, focus groups identified improved income as the primary goal. The second row consists of major objectives or criteria for fulfilling the goal, in this case these were profit, labor saving, yield, and soil quality. The bottom rung consists of the available options: a traditional farming system and three different versions of CA production systems. Although researchers, extension agents and farmers agree on improved income as the ultimate goal, their preferred methods for achieving this goal differ. The research revealed indications of knowledge gaps that could inhibit technology transfer. Because of this, the authors emphasize need for communication, listing three communication-related recommendations for improving technology transfer.