Factors affecting rice adoption in the Solomon Islands : a case study of Fiu village, central Kwara'ae constituency, Malaita province : a thesis presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Agri-Commerce at Massey University
In 2006, the Solomon Islands (SI) Government implemented the National Rural Rice Development Programme (NRRDP) through the Rice Section of the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock, aimed at promoting the adoption of rice growing by SI farmers. However, the low level of rice adoption raised questions relating to the successful implementation of this programme.
To investigate the factors that have contributed to farmers‘ decision to adopt or not to adopt the rice technology, a single case study was used involving farmers of Fiu village, in Malaita Province. Data was collected between June and July 2010 through semi-structured interviews with selected farmers who adopted the rice technology including those that did not; FCRP leaders; and government officers (extension and the rice official). The findings of this study revealed that several factors influenced the adoption decisions of farmers and these were the characteristics of technology, internal factors, and external factors. The characteristic of the technology that influenced farmers‘ decision to adopt is relative advantage.The internal factors include personal characteristics of the farmer such as previous experience, proximity of the farm, land free of dispute, availability of a water source and cultural factors whereas external factors identified include government policy, infrastructure development in the area, agro-climatic condition, access to extension service and market. It was found that in late 2010, the adopters discontinued the use of the technology and their decisions were mainly influenced by factors such as poor leadership, poor implementation of the rice policy, and poor extension service. The results also revealed that many farmers did not adopt the rice technology in 2007 and their decisions were influenced by factors such as: relative disadvantage, complexity and incompatibility of the technology, input and labour intensive, land using, and risk. The study also shows that observability, poor leadership and the government‘s failure to implement the rice policy post 2007 influenced the non-adopters decision to continue with the non-adoption of the technology.
This research suggests that for a community rice project such as the FCRP to be successful, the government should facilitate the availability of funds to the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock to ensure that the ministry is able to provide the necessary support to the farmers thus promoting their confidence in government‘s ability to support the implementation of the project. In addition, the selection of leaders who have the right skills, knowledge, and attitudes to manage and drive the project was integral in ensuring the success of the project.