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Information needs and information-seeking behaviour of small-scale farmers in Tanzania.

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University of KwaZulu-Natal.


This article provides a review of the information needs and information seeking patterns of the rural farmers in selected districts of Tanzania. Focus group data was triangulated with interview data in order to validate, confirm and corroborate quantitative results with qualitative findings. The findings revealed that the information needs and information seeking patterns of farmers were location and gender specific to a certain extent. Farmers relied on interpersonal and face to face communication more than explicit sources of information. Constraints on information access included internal (personal) and external barriers (unavailability of the extension officers, distant locations for consultations with public extension officers, poor responses to information requests from the government and village leaders, lack of awareness of the available information sources, inability of some experts to solve problems, and poor knowledge sharing culture). It is thus important for the government to improve access to extension services, and equip them with necessary skills and adequate information resources. Further, the public and extension services, researchers, educators, information services and other agricultural actors should conduct regular studies on information needs, map communities’ knowledge and information sources, create awareness of information sources, and knowledge culture, and use multiple sources of information (such as print and ICTs) to deliver relevant information in the communities in order to meet the disparate farmers’ needs.