Researchers Studied Uttarakhand Farm Women for Agriculture Information Needs
A study, “Agriculture information needs of farm women: A study in State of north India,” recently published in the African Journal of Agricultural Research sought to figure out three key things:
(1) to find out the socio- personal, communication characteristics of the farm women; (2) to study their information seeking and information sharing behaviour; and (3) to determine their agriculture information needs.
Agriculture is still a predominant income source for a majority of Indian household and 18% of India’s GDP. Farm women play an important role in the success of the agricultural industry by handling many of the day-to-day tasks. However, information dissemination traditionally focuses on male farmers and this leaves the women without modern-day techniques and technologies for farming. The authors of the study also mention that it is harder for women to receive this information as they are bound to the house for domestic tasks and due to societal pressures. The study aimed to find out what the gaps in information were, and how best to solve them.
Socio- Personal, Communication Characteristics of the Farm Women
The study took place in Northern India, Uttarakhand, located in the Himalayas. The local agricultural industry is a sustenance based one, rather than a marketable one. All the farmers were marginal farmers (had less than one hectare of land).
All the women reported that they had not be contacted by external agencies, but did have a lot of informal contact about their agricultural practices with friends, neighbors, and family.
The following graphs display literacy and technological access characteristics of the participants.
Information Seeking and Information Sharing Behaviour
The following table displays their tendency to seek and share information. Progressive farmers and external agencies were out of the picture. Most women used advice from their elders and from friends and other relatives to gain best farming information.
Agriculture Information Needs
The last table took data on what women needed information on and displayed in ordinal ranks to help policy makers and organization figure out where to start. The first three are things that all the women said they needed information for: disease control/management. weed control/management and use of farm implements.
The study shows that a high need for information sharing from external sources exist for rural women. If women are to overcome the less than a half-a-dollar a day incomes, they need to be able to adapt and adopt new technologies and methods, which will help them compete. The women clearly have a need for the knowledge, and now that the areas in which changemakers need to focus is clear, the next step should be taken.[Image Attribute: nandadevieast via Compfight cc]