Diffusion of an Agricultural Innovation: A Case Study Involving Dry Litter Technology in American Samoa
Pacific Agriculture & Natural Resources 2017, Volume 7, Number 1
Dry Litter Technology (DLT) is a pig waste management system that was first introduced to farmers in American Samoa over 15 years ago by the College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa. The system offers adaptable water quality solutions for small-scale piggeries, using composting processes to realize a positive return from the nutrient resources in waste rather than washing it into nearby streams and causing pollution. With almost 100 producers currently utilizing the DLT, the factors that led to the adoption of the DLT in American Samoa were investigated in order to understand how to best facilitate the adoption of this technology in American Samoa, other islands in the Pacific, and in other tropical areas around the world. Interviews were conducted with 30 farmers to explore how the perceived attributes of the DLT contributed to its adoption. Results reveal that a major paradigm shift in the nutrient management system occurred, from a water-based system to a dry litter-based system, and provided a variety of benefits to the immediate family, village, and the community and brought challenges due to the cultural issues associated with the paradigm shift.
The Dry Litter Technology Waste Management System (DLT system) was first introduced to American Samoa by Glen Fukumoto from the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa (UHM) and Jim Wimberley, a private consultant, in 2001. Fukumoto and Wimberly launched a DLT system training and awareness initiative as part of a multi-agency initiative funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (USDA NRCS) to introduce effective pig manure management and utilization in American Samoa, based on work done in Hawaiʻi in the 1990s. Project activities included technical assistance, information dissemination, and deployment of appropriate technologies (Wimberly and Lynch, 2002). The goal of the project was to introduce pig operators to the beneficial use of nutrients while reducing the potential for adverse environmental and human health impacts from piggery operations (Wimberly and Lynch, 2002).The purpose of this study was to evaluate the process and outcomes of DLT adoption in American Samoa in order to determine the benefits and challenges associated with its adoption and investigate the attitudes and perceptions among pig producers about the DLT system in order to facilitate future adoption of this piggery management system. As a result of efforts by various change agents, American Samoa has the highest rate of adoption of the DLT system throughout the Pacific (G. Fukumoto, unpublished report, September 2014) with over 100 DLT piggeries built since 2009 and 220 new EQIP applications for DLT systems as of July 2014 (D. Ayala, personal communication, July 2014). Understanding relationships among culture, values, existing practices, and political/social/economic relations is a necessary element of understanding what makes technology transfer possible, or not (Rogers, 2003). This study will cover the significance and management of pigs in American Samoa followed by an overview of the DLT system components and the process by which it was introduced in American Samoa. Then, a 2013 survey developed to investigate this technology transfer is described. Following the survey methodology are the results and discussion, including a socio-economic profile of survey respondents and a summary of the benefits and challenges associated with adopting the DLT system reported by respondents. Conclusion and recommendations are in the last section, which outlines the issues that have a major impact on the adoption of the DLT and details ideas for increasing the adoption rates of the DLT in American Samoa.
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