Enhancing farmers’ access to and use of agricultural information for empowerment and improved livelihoods: a case of Morogoro region, Tanzania

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University of Dar es Salaam
This study aimed at exploring and testing an intervention that could stimulate and promote the practice of proactive information acquisition by farmers as a strategy for empowerment, reduction of poverty and improvement of livelihoods. It was conducted in Morogoro region in Tanzania in two main stages; the situation analysis survey stage in ten villages, and a longitudinal participatory action-oriented stage which was an intervention phase in four villages. The Village Information Centre (VIC) model was established, monitored and evaluated. This was preceded by the pre-intervention knowledge test in the four research villages and two control villages. Descriptive statistics and frequency distribution of variables were computed, a chi-square test and a regression. analysis for selected sets of variables were done. The majority of farmers were between 28-47 years old. Slightly more than half (56%) of all farmers had completed primary school education. Furthermore, 76% of the farmers had functional literacy, and 55% of all respondents had a habit of reading at least once in several months. Close to 90% of all respondents had some printed information in their homes, with newspapers being the most common item. The VIC was highly acceptable in all villages, but the age, level of education and gender were significant factors (p S 0.05) influencing awareness of, visits to and use of the VIC. Farmers revealed diverse and unmet information needs that were not necessarily related to their agricultural activities. The "push" phenomenon inherent in some extension approaches may have led most farmers to develop passive recipience that does not necessarily promote a "pull" phenomenon. Exposure to information is probably needed in order to stimulate a demand for information. The VIC initiative has also demonstrated the presence of reading skills that are under-utilized. This is a challenge and opportunity for information professionals. Therefore it is recommended that documentary information workers prepare a strategy, which will have a complementary role to the regular extension services, on enhancing the practice of proactive information acquisition by farmers for their own empowerment and improvement of their livelihoods.
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Information storage and retrival systems, Agriculture, Agriculture literature seaching, Farmers, Documentation, Tanzania, Morogoro region
Matovelo, D. S. (2008) Enhancing farmers’ access to and use of agricultural information for empowerment and improved livelihoods; a case of Morogoro region, Tanzania, Doctoral dissertation, University of Dar es Salaam. Available at (