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Understanding Farmers' Communication Networks: An Experience in the Philippines
by Ricardo Ramirez

For several years there has been an awareness in the Philippines of the need to ensure that investments in natural resources research produce options which farmers may adapt and adopt. The Philippines Council for Agriculture and Resources Research and Development (PCARRD) 1991 Review highlighted the need to address inadequate links between farmers, outreach systems and research. The report underlined the limited number (11 percent) of "mature technologies" which had been adopted by farmers. This case study grew out of an FAO/UNDP communication for development project which aimed at improving the exchange of relevant agricultural information between research, extension networks and farmers in five regions of the Philippines. The field work in each site was started using rapid appraisal techniques. It soon became evident however, that technology and information per se were insufficient elements to propel an increase in agricultural productivity and rural incomes. Other demands were voiced by the communities, which in turn pointed to the need to make services in all sectors more responsive to barangay needs, including credit supply, infrastructure development, marketing, health and education. The farmers' definitions of problems and their underlying causes indicated the limited impact which agricultural information and communication have, if not coordinated, with other services. This explains why agricultural development needs to have a systems perspective. From a systems perspective, it is necessary to identify all the actors involved. In this context it was clear that the Department of Agriculture's extension system is only one of many actors which influence farmers' decision making hence the necessity for systematic mapping of the agricultural information linkages that are important to farmers.

Publication Type: Authored Book
Publisher: FAO (1995)
Location: Rome, Italy
Language: English

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