Agricultural technology transfer to people in the developing world is a potentially powerful tool to raise productivity and improve livelihoods. Despite this, many technologies are not adopted by their intended beneficiaries. Qualitative studies have identified guidelines to follow in the design and dissemination of agricultural technology, but there has been comparatively little synthesis of quantitative studies of adoption. This study presents a meta-analysis of adoption studies of agricultural technologies in the developing world. The results confirm most earlier findings, but cast doubt on the importance of some classic predictors of adoption, such as education and landholding size. Contact with extension services and membership in farming associations are found to be the most important variables in predicting adoption. Attributes of the technologies are found to modify the relationships of predictor variables to adoption. Membership in farming associations and farmer experience are found to be positively linked to adoption in general, but for technologies that reduce labour the effect is amplified. The findings have potential implications for researchers, extension workers, and policy makers.

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