Factors affecting the adoption of ecological intensification practices: A case study in vegetable production in Chile

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Abstract

Context: Vegetable production is highly dependent on chemical fertilisers and pesticides, but the intensive use of these inputs negatively impacts the environment and human health. Ecological Intensification (EI) has the potential to counter the adverse effects of agricultural intensification and improve sustainability. Despite the potential benefits of EI for the environment, the adoption rate of EI in vegetable production is low. Moreover, most studies on EI adoption focus on implementing a single farming practice or a single production stage. Objective: This article aims to empirically analyse what factors influence the simultaneous adoption of various EI practices in different vegetable crop production stages by farmers in the context of an emerging economy such as Chile. Further, since the literature on EI practices adoption mainly analyses these factors as separate from each other, we aim to explore the interactions between factors and how these jointly impact the application of EI practices. Methods: We collected data via a survey to vegetable growers in the central zone in Chile. First, we measure EI practices adoption through a farm-level index that reflects the sustainability of farming practices in five production stages. Second, we identify which factors affect EI practices adoption through multiple linear regressions. Third, based on the results of the previous steps, we carried out a literature review to see how the factors predicting the adoption of EI could interact. This analysis was performed using structural equation modelling. Results and conclusions: Our results show that being a woman, receiving training on EI practices, and being pro-environment positively affect EI practices adoption. Contrarily, obstacles include the perception of risk and barriers, better access to credit and higher income from farm activities, all of which negatively affect EI practices adoption. With reference to the interaction amongst the factors, we found that economic resources, trust and training are the major factors affecting the perception of risk and barriers amongst Chilean farmers when it comes to adopting EI practices. Significance: Embracing a broad perspective, including different farming practices and production stages, allowed us to offer insights into the complex processes of adopting EI practices. Identifying which factors are important and how these factors interact with each other, contributes to the debate on whatpolicymakers and scholars need to focus in order to increase the use rate of EI practices.

Original languageEnglish
Article number103283
JournalAgricultural Systems
Volume194
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2021

Keywords

  • Agroecology
  • Barrier perception
  • Emerging economies
  • Risk perception
  • Sustainability

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