Farmers’ Preferences and Utilisation Towards Agricultural Information Sources
The Case of Wolaita Zone, Southern Ethiopia
The purpose of this paper is to identify farm households’ preferences towards agricultural information sources and their usage in the Wolaita Zone, Southern Ethiopia. A proportionate sample of 364 farm households was selected using a systematic random sampling technique. A pre-tested semi-structured interview schedule was used to collect primary data during June and July of 2020. Descriptive statistics and bivariate analysis (t-test and chi-square test) were used to analyse the data and test the level of association between the dependent and independent variables. Three focus group discussions were held with progressive farmers and the data were thematically analysed. The results revealed that co-farmers, extension agents, and family members were the most preferred sources by respondents. This shows interpersonal and peer-to-peer methods are dominantly used by farmers in Wolaita Zone, Southern Ethiopia. To boost agricultural productivity and target communication campaigns, the government should devise a proper way of disseminating information to the farmers. Information should be available through the sources that have been used by the farmers considering how the messages are best suited to their context. Moreover, some potential sources such as research and academic institutions and mobile phones should be accessible to transform the current practices of farming.