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AN ANALYSIS OF LANGUAGE USE AND CONTENT IN COMMUNICATING AGRICULTURAL TECHNOLOGIES TO FARMERS IN ETHIOPIA

Simachew Manaye Alehegn1, James O. Onyango2, David J. Spielman3


1

Egerton University, Kenya; 2 Lecturer, Egerton University, Kenya; 3 Research Fellow, IFPRI, USA

ABSTRACT Since research findings often do not have direct or immediate relevance to farmers, extension workers are often called upon to develop ways to communicate and disseminate these findings to farmers. Two of the main problems limiting the effective communication and rapid dissemination of agricultural technologies are the content and the language. Evidence suggests that the importance and impact of language use and content selection and adaptation have been poorly understood in communicating and disseminating new technologies to farmers. The specific objectives of this study were to indicate better ways of communicating new technologies to farmers in agriculture and to select and adapt important technologies for communication. To this end, data and information from two sources were collected. First, survey data were collected from rural farmers in Welmera Wereda, Ethiopia where a research center that generates new technologies is located. The data were collected through questionnaire-based structured interviews of households that were selected using a systematic sampling strategy. Second, information from extension materials that were prepared for distribution to farmers were reviewed and analyzed. Quantitative and qualitative analysis of data and information from these two revealed that extension agents use few difficult words with medium level of understandability and have good knowledge of culture, religion and norms. Most farmers need marketable technologies but farmers economic problem is the limiting factor for not using new technologies. Extension agents who listen to problems of farmers, are timely in technology supply and information provision, use simple words and phrases during communication are preferred by farmers. Demonstration is also the best way that farmers need new technologies to be communicated to them.