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Best-bet channels for integrated soil fertility management communication and dissemination along the agricultural product value-chain: a comparison of northern Ghana and western Kenya

Adolwa, Ivan Solomon, Schwarze, Stefan, Buerkert, Andreas
Thejournal of agricultural education and extension 2018 v.24 no.5 pp. 435-456
extension agents, farmers, marketing, radio, soil fertility, supply chain, t-test, Ghana, Kenya
Purpose: The aim of this paper is to comparatively assess the most suitable channels for dissemination of agricultural innovations along the entire information value chain. Design/Methodology/Approach: We calculated information scores to measure channel preference from a randomly selected sample of farmers: 285 in Tamale, Ghana and 300 in Kakamega, Kenya. Using t-tests we compared the information score differences of different channels between farmers who adopted Integrated Soil Fertility Management and those who did not. Findings: The highest information scores were observed for radio along the entire value chain for both locations. However, farmers in Tamale prefered interpersonal channels for processing information. Radio and farmer field days had the highest rankings for production information at both locations. Radio, workshops and interpersonal channels (traders and neighbours/friends/relatives) were best-bet channels for marketing and procesing information. Practical implication: Extension agents should place more emphasis on channels such as radio, farmer field days, and workshops as they may offer more efficient delivery of information packages at all levels, whilst recognizing the central role of interpersonal channels. Theoretical implication: The nexus between the uses and gratification, adoption, diffusion of innovations theories and the collaborative communication theory on one hand, and the agricultural product value chain framework on the other, is highlighted. Farmers’ preference for information channels is not predicated on the stage of the value chain. Originality/Value: In the current context of weak agricultural knowledge and innovation systems in African agriculture, agricultural producers are poorly informed about the current innovations. This study furnishes empirical evidence on the best-bet information channels to be used by extension workers and change agents to disseminate and communicate system innovations.