Farmers’ perceptions and attitudes to technology adoption in the Ugu District of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa.
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Agricultural entrepreneurship is essential for fostering economic development and feeding growing populations in most less developed countries. Unfortunately, some farmers are experiencing a decline in production and failure to sustain their businesses. The main challenge for these farmers is the failure to embrace new and advanced agricultural technology. Agricultural technology adoption is a powerful tool for farmers to increase productivity and maximize their profits. Agricultural entrepreneurs are, in some instances, conservative and prefer to stick to traditional methods of farming. Based on the literature, many farmers fail to take advantage of the advancement in technology and as a result, find themselves not being as productive as they ought to be. Agricultural technology adoption has the potential to deepen the market share of agricultural output through which the smallholder farmers’ resource use and output diversification decisions could be guided increasingly by their objective of profit maximization. However, the major problem, according to literature, is that the new technology adoption rate by South African farmers is low. This study sought to investigate farmers’ perceptions and attitudes to technology adoption in the Ugu district of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. This study is descriptive in nature and thus qualitative research was conducted with the aim to gather the information that depicts the attributes of people, occurrences or circumstances. It also describes the technology adoption theory, which provided a theoretical framework for this study. Technology adoption theory examines the individual and the choices an individual makes to accept or reject an innovation. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with seven farmers in Port Shepstone to collect the data in the study. Thematic analysis, which is the process of coding data and inducing of categories and themes, was used to analyse data. The study found that there are various factors such as lack of financial resources, lack of adoption by neighbouring farmers, perceived usefulness and size of the business contribute to farmers’ decision to adopt new agricultural technology. Farmers believe that technology is more expensive in early stages adoption but after that, it can help one grow their business and production. It was revealed that commercial farmers are more likely to adopt new technology than small-scale farmers.