Information Needs and Seeking Patterns of Farmers within the Changing Information Environment: A Case of Sri Lankan Vegetable Farmers

M.G.P.P. Mahindarathne, Qingfei Min


Information plays a pivotal role in today’s agriculture whilst the ICTs have largely influenced the agriculture information and communication systems. In this context, gaining an in-depth knowledge of farmers’ information needs and seeking patterns is central to designing and executing prolific agriculture information systems. With respect to the vegetable farmers in Sri Lanka, recent and sufficient informational studies have not been carried. Thus, this study sets out to explore information needs and seeking patterns of vegetable farmers within the contemporary information environment. Data were gathered by interviewing 289 vegetable farmers and were analyzed by computing the relevant informational indices. The findings show that the majority of vegetable farmers exhibit a medium to a high level of information needs. Market-related information found to be the most prioritized informational need among vegetable farmers followed by information related to crop production, the environment, climate and policies, new technologies, and training and development, respectively. Furthermore, traditional sources and channels remain the most trusted and adopted sources and channels of the vegetable farmers, while the use of modern means of communication seems remarkably low. In selecting sources and channels, vegetable farmers look for the ones that are capable of delivering specific, localized, credible and up-to-date information in local languages.

Keywords: Agricultural information needs, Sources and channels, Information indices, Vegetable farmers, Sri Lanka

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ISSN (Paper)2224-5758 ISSN (Online)2224-896X

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