11 May 2005

Researching farmer information access in Tanzania

IAALD member Doris Matovelo is researching strategies to cultivate active information acquisition practices among farmers in Tanzania. Doris is interested to connect with other people working in this area. Her research suggests that there is much existing information on agricultural innovations but that this information is not known to the majority of intended end users - the smallholder farmers.

Her village visits show that functional literacy among farmers has increased and many farmers have attained primary school education - which is an important factor for utilization of printed and electronic sources of information. As a tradition, farmers seem to depend to a large extent on the extension staff in rural areas for their agricultural information needs. Although the role of extension is well acknowledged, the extension approach by itself does not necessarily cultivate habits of active information acquisition among farmers. There may therefore be a niche for other information actors to play a role in supporting information needs that are not addressed by the conventional information dissemination practices.



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