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Department of Informatics Informatics and Sustainability Research

How does innovation reach farmers?

on the left side a person is standing in front of a poster, the person is holding flyers and explaining something on the right side of the picture eight people and two children are sitting lined up on a wall, they are listening and looking at the speaker
Farmers are trained in the use of innovative hermetic storage bags. © ZKSD – Project: Improved on-farm storage in East Africa; Picture credits: Michael Brander/UZH

A group of three Master students developed a tool to simulate innovation diffusion in Sub-Saharan Africa using an agent-based approach. With this tool, field researchers can most efficiently introduce crucial agricultural innovations intended to reduce poverty and ensure food security. In order to facilitate the adoption of such innovations, it is crucial to effectively reach key opinion leaders and provide the right incentives to farmers. The students Ann-Kathrin Kübler, Hannah Rohe and Joël Inglin refined an existing model of innovation diffusion (developed at ZKSD by an earlier Master student, Marc Zwimpfer) and created a simplified, intuitive tool that can be used by field researchers to optimally plan their interventions using agent-based simulation and optimization. This approach supports assessing the effects of intervention strategies for spreading information on agricultural advancements and can be generalized to be applied to similar problems.
The group of students will be awarded the Semesterpreis at Tag der Lehre 2024.