While some degree of farmer experimentation is desirable, this can be quite challenging in terms of knowledge, management time and the risk of failure. Frustrating experience entails disadoption and negative publicity for the technology as a whole. Hence, extension efforts have to be sufficiently flexible and location-specific, which requires new skills for extension agents, including experience with participatory learning.

Historically, public extension programmes have not always been very effective in developing countries. Thus, developing new cost-effective extension approaches is important. Without improved extension models, widespread and successful adoption of NRM technologies is unlikely to happen among smallholder farmers. The integration of local farmer knowledge through community-based learning and farmer-to-farmer transfer could be promising to make extension programmes more sustainable.

Yield and income effects of SRI

We also used the survey data from Timor Leste to analyse the impacts of SRI adoption on rice yields and household incomes.