Sygnola Tsafack and Ann Degrande (2015) The Value of Printed Sources of Information in Agricultural Extension Case Study on 'The Farmer's Voice' in Cameroon, MEAS Evaluative Case Study uri icon

abstract

  • Various methods are used to provide extension workers and farmers with agricultural information. Printed materials remain a major source of information, despite digitalization of information networks, but few studies have looked at their effectiveness. The present work characterizes and assesses the effectiveness of The Farmer's Voice (TFV), an agricultural newspaper in Cameroon. Data were collected using a semi-structured questionnaire from 107 randomly sampled readers (mainly farmers, lead farmers and extension workers) in three regions. Most respondents subscribed to TFV and paid fees themselves. The time readers took to read completely the magazine varied with gender, reader category, and education level. Respondents recalled topics such as technical tips and health/nutrition much more than others. For 94 percent of users, the motivation to read TFV was to learn appropriate practices on production, consumption, and marketing. Though TFV was a complementary source of agricultural knowledge for most respondents, 97.2 percent were using information from this magazine on a day-to-day basis. Most respondents kept copies of TFV, mainly for future reference. More women than men and more subscribers than occasional buyers preserved copies. All respondents agreed that TFV had significantly contributed to changes in their farming practices. For farmer trainers, TFV was very useful in their extension and advisory activities. Though more than four-fifths of readers had learned about new farming practices through TFV, 27.2 percent were not able to master some of the techniques described in TFV. The difference can be explained by their low education level. Around one-third of respondents said they were willing to share information with others through TFV; very few (11.5 percent) had written to the journal. The majority of users found TFV easy to read and understand. The current price was just about right for 52.8 percent of readers, and 76.8 percent said the quality of the journal was good. Less than one-fourth of respondents (23.4 percent) were able to specify a journal that could substitute for or complement TFV. Most users of TFV (83.5 percent) confirmed that the content of the journal is relevant to all types of farmers. The average score of the general effectiveness of the TFV was 8 out of 10 (min = 5, max = 10, median = 8). The majority of subscribers complained about not receiving their monthly issue on time. Distribution coverage was also low, especially in the rural areas and in towns where there is no official distributor. Some respondents criticized TFV for not sufficiently dealing with topics such as fund-raising, agroforestry and processing of agricultural products

publication date

  • 2016