A major issue for the designers of decision support tools is the degree of likely uptake by the potential users, and this is no different for seasonal forecasting. The farming community, which is traditionally conservative when it comes to changing well-entrenched behaviors, is particularly reticent to adopt such tools. Many factors play a part in users' decisions to adopt these tools and the information they provide.
Knowledge, awareness, and understanding of the potential outcomes available through the use of the tools vary. Confidence in the outcomes is often lacking, especially when the tools may be replacing well-tried and comfortable practices. These practices may be seen to be adequate for the decisions they are assisting, and hence users do not perceive a need for new technologies.
Previous experiences associated with the technologies being used by the tools will also be a factor. These may be first-hand experiences or purely word of mouth in the community. Local opinion will frequently be more powerful than information from "outsiders." Naturally, if past experiences have resulted in negative consequences, the uptake of the new technology will be even less likely. Confidence in the new technology and trust in the provider of the technology are therefore likely to be highly influential. In fact, the "human factor" frequently can be less certain than the technologies themselves.
Was this article helpful?