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Factors affecting farmers’ decisions on utilization of rice straw compost in Northeastern Thailand
Rice straw is used in Northeastern Thailand as an alternative to organic fertilizer for crop production. This enables farmers to reduce the use of chemical fertilizers which leads to a decrease in production costs. In spite of the beneficial effects in agricultural production, rice straw compost cannot be produced in large amounts because the burning of rice straws is a common farming practice. The decisions of farmers who use rice straw compost have been investigated by interviewing 120 households belonging to the members of an organic fertilizer user group using a household questionnaire. The study was conducted to evaluate the factors that affect the use of rice straw compost in Khon Kaen Province in Northeastern Thailand. Results of the logit model showed that the farmers’ education, number of rice straw compost trainings in which the farmer participated, lack of knowledge about technology, insufficient labour and difficulty in making rice straw compost had a significant impact on the farmer’s decision to use rice straw compost. Difficulty in making rice straw compost appeared to be the root cause because the procedure of making rice straw compost is complex and labour intensive. Repeated trainings thus, will have a positive and significant influence on farmers’ adoption of the technology. Training provides more knowledge and will presumably change the perception of the farmers towards new technologies and the awareness of positive effects of rice straw compost utilization.