Monday, December 05, 2011

Importance of communication in agricultural development

COMMUNICATION is a powerful tool and can be used to effectively communicate scientific knowledge to the farming community who need them most.
Group picture of the workshop participants and facilitators

Speaking at the closing of a workshop on popular communication skills at National Agriculture Research Institute headquarters last Friday, a farmer participant challenged scientists and others who are holding on to information derived from scientific research to  make it their business to communicate them to the farmers who need this to improve their farming practices.
While acknowledging that communicating scientific knowledge is not an easy task, Jacob Kinge, said that it was also important that new knowledge generated from research needed to be communicated to farmers in the most-appropriate form for them to learn and adopt new innovations to improve their way of farming.
Kinge, who is a model rice farmer from the Avi area of the newly-created Jiwaka province was impressed that he was able to learn and had hands-on experiences in developing popular communication products at the workshop, describing it as a rare experience as in most cases he would be on the receiving hand of such products developed by others. 
Jacob Kinge speaking during the closing ceremony

In acknowledging NARI for giving him the opportunity to participate at the workshop, Kinge said such workshops were very important to impart the skills and knowledge required to develop communication products for the benefit of the farming community.
Kinge,  who was among three farmers who participated in the workshop praised NARI management for its foresight in organising such workshops and called for more of such to be organised to ensure people including scientists were equipped with the know-how to communicate scientific information to the farmers.
He added that the participation of farmers in such workshops was a step in the right as they would not only learn the skills involved but would also be able to contribute towards the choice of media and appropriate language to use when developing communication products meant for farmers.
The week-long workshop facilitated through the ACP NARI-EU Science and Technology programme was aimed at demonstrating to participants how to appreciate the importance and benefits of communicating new scientific knowledge to a range of audiences using various communication media.
  Participants in discussion during group work at the workshop

The workshop,  facilitated by two staff of the Communication for Development faculty of the PNG University of  Technology and  supported by NARI information and communication staff involved both learning the concepts involved as well as practical sessions, where participants were able to develop various popular communication products.
Over 24 participants including farmers, extension officers, communication experts and scientists from Solomon Islands, Vanuatu and PNG participated in the workshop.

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