Technological change has been the major driving force for increasing agricultural productivity and promoting agriculture development in recent times. In the past, the choice of technologies and their adoption was to increase production, productivity and farm incomes. Over many decades, policies for agriculture, trade, research and development, education, training and advice have been strong influences on the choice of technology, the level of agricultural production and farm practices.
Agriculture is becoming more integrated in the ago-food chain while environmental, food safety and quality, and animal welfare regulations are also increasingly impacting on the sector. It is faced with new challenges to meet growing demands for food, to be locally competitive and to produce agricultural products of high quality.
Today, farmers, advisers and policy makers are faced with complex choices. They are faced with a wide range of technologies that are either available or under development; they must deal with the uncertainties of both the effects these new technologies will have throughout the agri-food chain and the impact that a whole range of policies will have on the sustainability of farming systems.
The focus of the project was the adoption of technologies that have the potential to contribute to sustainable farming systems.
Technology adoption, however, is a broad concept. It is affected by the development, dissemination and application at the farm level of existing and new biological, chemical and mechanical techniques, all of which are encompassed in farm capital and other inputs; it is also affected by education, training, advice and information which form the basis of farmers’ knowledge. It also includes technologies and practices in the whole agri-food sector that have an impact at the farm level. Finally, it should be borne in mind that most of these new technologies originate outside the farm sector.
The outcome of the project refers to the increasing capacity of agriculture over time to contribute to overall welfare by providing sufficient food and other goods and services in ways that are economically efficient and profitable, socially responsible, while also improving environmental quality.