Information sources and dispersal channels in the extension of pasture weed management technologies in southern eastern Kenyan rangelands
Wanjala, MJ, Lloyd, DJ & Nichols, JD 2003, 'Information sources and dispersal channels in the extension of pasture weed management technologies in southern eastern Kenyan rangelands', paper presented to APEN National Forum 2003, , Hobart, Tasmania, 26 -28 November.
This paper analyses perceived constraints encountered by farmers while sourcing appropriate information through various communication channels relevant to the adoption of weed management technologies. It further examines the values farmers attach to some pasture weeds that have contributed to the variable uptake of weed management technologies. The study was stimulated by the apparently low adoption of pasture weed management technologies in predominantly livestock dependant communities. In many cases, governments and industry employ a variety of communication media when distributing information relating to improved agricultural practice. Single subject interviews were carried out with 165 participants from two ethnic communities within the south-eastern Kenyan rangelands to explore the uptake of knowledge relating to weed management technologies. An assessment was made of the techniques frequently employed and the obstacles presented to the uptake of new technology. In addition, an assessment of the benefits of some pasture weeds in farmers’ perspectives was assessed. Results indicate that extension agents were largely ineffective in the dissemination of weed management technologies in both communities as was the use of mass media. Other traditional information dissemination mechanisms such as using community decision leaders, neighbours and seminars were less effective than anticipated. Regardless of communication channels and sources of information, it was also found that pasture weeds were valued by farmers in both divisions as livestock feeds and woodfuel. Farmers in Mashuru placed importance on some pasture weeds as a source of construction material and medicinal plants. These mixed reasons for non-uptake of new technologies are discussed and recommendations made for future programs, including the need to improve the skills and resourcing of extension services across cultural settings and production system.