Original Articles

Promoting technology adoption in the small-scale oil palm fruit processing sector in south-western Nigeria: an innovation systems approach

DOI: 10.1080/20421338.2014.924267
Author(s): Olawale O. AdejuwonAfrican Institute for Science Policy and Innovation, Obafemi Awolowo University, Nigeria, Kehinde A. TaiwoDepartment of Food Science and Technology, Nigeria, Matthew O. IloriAfrican Institute for Science Policy and Innovation, Obafemi Awolowo University, Nigeria


Technologies have been developed for various unit operations in small-scale oil palm fruit processing in Nigeria. However, a majority of small-scale processors in the country still adopt traditional techniques, with a few adopting processing technologies for a particular stage in the process. The study utilised an innovation systems approach to examine and prescribe policy recommendations for the lack of technology adoption in small scale oil palm fruit processing in south-western Nigeria. The analysis was focused on three types of interactions, namely (1) interactions among actors in the innovation system, (2) interactions between sources of science, technology and innovation (STI) and doing, utilising and interacting (DUI) forms of learning and innovation, and (3) between fabricators of the processing technologies and processors. The results revealed that the innovation system in the sector is divided along formal and informal sector lines. The formal sector institutions comprise the Nigerian Institute for Oil Palm Research and a few universities with agricultural engineering departments who possess the core of the technology and interact well with one another using the STI mode of learning and innovation and have produced technologies for all the five steps of processing oil palm fruits into palm oil. These innovations have not been successfully adopted in the sector. The informal sector includes the processors and artisans who fabricate small-scale oil palm fruit processing technologies for two stages in the process using the DUI mode of learning and innovation. These technologies produced by the informal part of the system are largely based on imitation and cost innovations and have been widely adopted in the sector. The study recommends that technology adoption can be encouraged through the production of technologies fostered by both STI and DUI modes of innovation and robust fabricator and processor interactions.

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