Document Type : علمی - پژوهشی
Department of Agriculture Extension and Education, Ramin Agriculture and Natural Resources University, Khuzestan, Iran.
Introduction: The production and development of biofuels can occur naturally in rural areas in the life of rural people and cause dramatic changes, both directly and indirectly. Energy is essential for socio-economic development and improving the quality of life in Iran and other counties (Demirbas, 2008; Yazdanpanah et al., 2015b). Since the production of biofuels is dependent on the agricultural sector, agricultural professionals and experts represent an important source of information for farmers regarding their adoption and innovation. They can facilitate the adoption of innovations or they can limit their diffusion (Bakhtiyari et al., 2017). The aim of this study is to set out the factors affecting agricultural experts’ willingness for the extension and development of biofuels in Khuzestan Province using the artificial neural networks method, and to determine the best method for predicting agricultural experts’ willingness for this.Materials and methods: The study used a cross-sectional survey design. The HBM was quantitatively tested using the survey methodology to understand professionals’ perceptions. The research sample was selected based on quota stratified random sampling (n= 288). The questions were scored on a 1–5 point scale (very low, low, moderate, high and very high) and the survey was conducted among agricultural professionals during February 2015. Data were collected through personal interviews based on a questionnaire structured to assess the central components of the HBM. Afterwards, the completed questionnaires were collected. The questionnaire's internal reliability was tested using Cronbach's alpha coefficient. All scales indicated excellent reliability, generally between 0.76–0.9. Finally, the validity (final step) of the questionnaire was approved by a panel of experts.Results and discussion: Results showed that energy policy, the perceived benefits of renewable energy, the perceived severity of threats from fossil fuels and the cue to action and self-efficacy constructs can predict experts’ willingness.Conclusion: The agricultural sector is the main sector to produce the inputs and resources for the production of biofuels. Thus, farmers represent key stakeholders in the process of a transition towards a higher share of renewable energy. Taken into account that biofuels are a newly emerging technology, it is crucial to provide farmers with sufficient information about this technology and its benefits and risks, in order to increase their willingness to produce biofuels. Here, agricultural professionals play an important role in informing and educating farmers about innovations. The aim of this study is to provide much-needed empirical data about the attitudes of Iranian agricultural professionals towards biofuels. Our analysis revealed that that energy policy, the perceived benefits of renewable energy, the perceived severity of threats from fossil fuels and the cue to action and self-efficacy constructs can all predict experts’ willingness.
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