Integrating diverse knowledge bases for empowering local farmers in India
The dissemination of agricultural information process to the farmers of Baruipur, a community development block in West Bengal, India is studied. Semi-structured interviews were conducted to collect qualitative and quantitative data from 129 farmers and two government officials. The study reveals that among the available wide range of information sources and learning forms, farmers primarily value local knowledge as it is mainly experience-driven, practical and can be shared or transmitted informally among the farmers. But, informal local knowledge gradually gets influenced by extraneous factors, constructing an alternative pathway that resist the flow of information from reaching to the grass-root level. Limitation of genuine and accurate agricultural information impeded the empowerment of farmers at the micro level which demands for a superior integration among diverse knowledge systems with informal local knowledge. Here, the study identifies a more practical approach for knowledge integration, aiming to secure local preference, dynamisms and internal cohesiveness among participants from different domain. Further, this paper forwards a participatory approach based informal communication model, facilitating two ways communication for better and effective flow of need based, value added, accurate information towards holistic empowerment of the farmers at the ground level.
Information; Information sources; Knowledge; Knowledge integration; Communication channels; Farmer
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