How does communication and its technical content shape farmer responses to plant clinic advice?

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A recent study led by CABI and published in International Journal of Agricultural Sustainability, explores how communication and its technical content shape farmers’ response to advice delivered at plant clinics. How willing were farmers to accept or reject the technologies recommended at plant clinic consultations? And what were the reasons? The research was carried out in Malawi, Costa Rica and Nepal, with the team visiting one plant clinic in each country.

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Shouting out about plant clinics

Farmers bring their diseased crops to a plant clinic for diagnosis and treatment advice © Sven Torfinn / Panos Pictures

Plantwise works with in-country agencies to set up plant clinics, which farmers can attend with a sample of their affected crops to obtain a diagnosis and treatment advice. Plant clinics are often run in larger towns or villages, and farmers can travel many miles to talk to a plant doctor to solve their crop problems. So how do farmers find out about where and when the next clinic is running? I asked co-ordinators of plant clinics in Sierra Leone, Uganda and India about how clinics in their countries are advertised to farmers. Continue reading

Radio initiatives aiding remote African farmers

Radio initiatives in Africa provide the means for farmers to share information © Farm Radio International 2008

Information and communication technology has advanced rapidly in the past few decades. Many of us now take connection to the internet and easy access to information for granted. However, in remote parts of the world, even access to electricity is infrequent and unreliable, and communication technology is developing in a way that reflects this. In Africa, one technology that has become popular as a means of reaching a wide audience is radio. Several initiatives are now using this medium to help educate farmers in rural areas. Continue reading