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Assessing the effectiveness of the volunteer farmer trainer approach in dissemination of livestock feed technologies in Kenya vis-à-vis other information sources

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Improvement in agricultural production productivity and sustainability is dependent on farmers’ access to up-to-date information on modern agricultural technologies. In the past agricultural extension officers played an important role in disseminating knowledge from researchers to farmers. However this linear model of extension was not effective. As a result the extension system in developing countries has been changing to accommodate challenges presented by the linear model. Major modifications include the introduction of participatory approaches and the proliferation of many sources providing agricultural information. The sources could be interpersonal or impersonal. Farmers’ choice of a particular source can be determined by various factors including socio-economic characteristics of the farmer reliability accessibility and affordability of the information source. Previous studies have been done to determine farmers’ preferences for sources of information. However little has been done to establish the type of information accessed from particular information sources. This study addresses the gap by assessing the effectiveness of the Volunteer Farmer Trainer (VFT) approach in disseminating information vis-a-vis other sources of knowledge. The VFT approach is a type of farmer-to-farmer extension model that is used by the East Africa Dairy Development (EADD) project in Kenya to disseminate information on livestock feed innovations. The objectives of the study were to identify farmers’ sources of information information source preference access to and training on livestock feed technologies and technology sharing among farmers. The findings indicate that radio was the most accessed source of information followed by Community Extension Service Providers (CESPs) neighbours field days and the Ministry of Agriculture Livestock and Fisheries Development (MoALFD); all accessed by more than 40% of the sampled farmers. With regard to gender a significantly higher percentage of male farmers than female farmers had access to most of the information sources. Examples include radio field days agricultural shows skilled farmers written materials demonstrations newspapers breeders’ shows mobile phones and posters. Clearly male farmers have more access to both electronic and interpersonal sources of information than their female counterparts.

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    Mwambi, M.; Kiptot, E.; Franzel, S.


    Livestock feed, Livestock farming, Feed technologies, Training, Livestock, Socio-economic

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