The importance of opinion leaders in agricultural extension
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We can observed that opinion leaders tend to have access to mass media information and external contacts that provide them new ideas from outside. Additionally, the opinion leaders have greater contact with change agents, social participation, higher social status, and more innovativeness. Opinion leaders are used as role models in the adoption of innovations. This can be effective at the social and economic levels of the diffusion process. From the economic perspective of projects’ implementation when diffusing an innovation, opinion leaders multiply the efforts of the change agent, by carrying the message to more possible adopters. This translates into effectiveness by achieving more diffusion in less time. At the social level, once opinion leaders have adopted an innovation, that innovation acquires local sponsorship and credibility. Where, Opinion leaders are heterophilous individuals who observe and evaluate innovations proven by innovators. They are considered early adopters of culturally acceptable innovations and generally are opponents of culturally unacceptable ones. Once opinion leaders approve and adopt and innovation, it influences others in the group who also adopt the innovation to maintain a social and economic status among the social system. Leaders are important determinants of rapid and sustained change, as diffusion happens faster when it is initiated by them. They are considered the bridge between farmers and sources of innovations.
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