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Technology transfer: Institutions, models, and impacts on agriculture and rural life in the developing world

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Technology transfer is a multi-level process of communication involving a variety of senders and receivers of ideas and materials. As a response to market failure, or as an effort to accelerate market-driven social change, technology transfer may combine public and private aparatus or rely solely on public institutional mechanisms to identify, develop, and deliver innovations and information. Technology transfer institutions include universities, government ministries, research institutes, and what may be termed the ‘project sector’. Four farm- and village-level change models are considered: traditional community development, adoption-diffusion, training and Visit Extension, and Farming Systems Research. The challenges to technology transfer efforts center on developing indigenous capacity to generate and adapt agricultural technology to local conditions. This is the primary objective of technology transfer in agriculture and the basis for advancing rural development.

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Additional information

Joseph J. Molnar is Professor of Rural Sociology at Auburn University. He most recently editedBiotechnology and the New Agricultural Revolution (Westview Press, 1988). He is affiliated with the International Center for Aquaculture at Auburn University and has consulted on a variety of development projects for that unit. Articles dealing with technology transfer and aquaculture development issues have appeared inSociologia Ruralis andHuman Organization.

Curtis M. Jolly is Assistant Professor in the Department of Agricultural Economics and Rural Sociology. From 1986 to 1987 he served as Farming Systems Economist at the Institute de l' Economie Rurale, Farming Systems Division, Bamako. At Auburn University, he teaches graduate courses in Agricultural Economics, Project Planning and Sector Analysis and Economics Development. He is also engaged in research in Low-input Agriculture and International Trade. He has published several documents, and working papers at the Institute Senegalais de Recherche Agricole, and the Institute de I' Economie Rurale, Bamako, and articles inThe American Journal of Economics and Sociology, The Journal of Asian and African Studies, Mid South Journal of Economics, Agricultural Extension and Administration, andThe Southern Business and Economic Journal.

Paper prepared under the auspices of a USAID Program Support Grant to the International Center for Aquaculture, Auburn University. We are grateful to P. Duffy and J. Dunkelberger for helpful comments.

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Molnar, J.J., Jolly, C.M. Technology transfer: Institutions, models, and impacts on agriculture and rural life in the developing world. Agric Hum Values 5, 16–23 (1988).

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  • Technology Transfer
  • Farming System
  • Transfer Effort
  • Rural Development
  • Community Development