The increasing availability and access to Information and Communication Technology (ICT) is providing new opportunities to address the persistent challenge of limited access to agricultural information and knowledge by smallholder farmers. Farmer videos are among the ICTs with high potential to enhance effectiveness of agricultural extension delivery in the Sub-Saharan region. However effective integration of ICT in extension systems has to take into account the social learning, which is well documented as the major mechanism for farmer learning and innovation. This study assessed the benefits of a video-mediated extension approach (VMEA) as compared to the conventional Face-to-face Extension approach (F2FEA). Specifically, the study focused on farmer perception on VMEA; how VMEA integrates the social learning phenomenon to influence change; comparison of the relative strengths of VMEA and F2FEA. The study was conducted among rice farmers in Kamwenge and Hoima districts in Uganda. The VMEA was implemented in Kamwenge district for three years by Sasakawa Global 2000 (SG 2000), a Non-Governmental Organization (NGO), while in Hoima, the F2FEA was the dominant approach delivered mainly through Hoima District Farmers’ Association (HoDFA). A cross-sectional survey was conducted among 196 farmers in the two districts. The study involved all rice farmers (100) subjected to VMEA by SG 2000 in Kamwenge, and 96 rice farmers who benefited from the F2FEA through HoDFA in Hoima district. Semi-structured interviews, focus group discussions, field observations and key informant interviews were used to collect the quantitative and qualitative data. Quantitative data were analyzed using Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) while thematic analysis was applied to the qualitative data. Although both VMEA and F2FEA were skewed to benefit more men than females, the timing and central location of the video shows constrained the females more compared to the F2FEA. About 38% and 29% were female beneficiaries of F2FEA and VMEA respectively. Most farmers who attended video shows were within a distance of 1.5 Km from their homes while distance was not a limiting factor for the F2FEA. However, because of the entertainment element embedded in the VMEA, it attracted more diverse audiences including the youth and other potential farmers, while the F2FEA targeted known farmers. The VMEA triggered social interactions and exchanges between farmers than the F2FEA. The practical experiences presented in the videos triggered discussions among farmers as they compared with their own practices and explored creative ways of adapting some practices to overcome their constraints, hence fostering innovation among the farmers. The conversations that followed the videos and exchanges thereafter were stronger social learning features of the VMEA compared to F2FEA. The T-tests indicate that on one hand, VMEA is stronger in mobilization and awareness creation, fostering self-guided learning, and social interactions and networking amongst farmers. On the other hand, F2FEA is stronger in facilitating knowledge acquisition and retention, and knowledge application due technical backstopping by extension workers. The strengths of VMEA and F2FEA are complementary in the processes of farmer learning and innovation. The two approaches therefore would not be sufficient when used independently. The two approaches when used in combination more effectively enable farmer access to information and knowledge thereby facilitating learning and innovation among farmers. Successful integration of VMEA and F2FEA however calls for rethinking of institutional arrangements, roles of the extension worker, and pragmatic retooling of the extension worker to effectively utilize videos in the farmer learning processes including video documentation of farmer practices and experiences.
Date of publication:
RUFORUM Theses and Dissertations
Agris Subject Categories:
RUFORUM, Carnegie Cooperation of New York, Access Agriculture, DAAD, Inta-ACP Mobility