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Role of contact farmers as a source of information in the adoption of selected cotton practices among small-scale farmers in two districts of Paraguay
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The purpose of this research was to examine the extent and the manner in which contact farmers in the Training and Visit System of agricultural extension in two districts of eastern Paraguay influenced the dissemination of agricultural information among small-scale follower farmers. The study was conducted in October and November of 2000. Survey instruments were translated into Spanish and data were collected by personal interviews, informal conversations, and through participation in farmer meetings. This descriptive study was based on the responses of 35 Contact Farmers (CF) and 42 Follower Farmers (FF). Results showed that demographic characteristics of the two groups did not differ, except for the level of education (CFs' mean = 6.83, FFs' mean = 5.16, t value = 3.07). The forms of communication used by contact farmers and preferred by follower farmers were individual visits and group meetings. Follower farmers preferred contact farmers, friends, and neighbors, and their own experience to information received from agricultural extensionists. Friends, neighbors, and contact farmers were sources of information that follower farmers stated were available on time, understandable, and trustworthy. Key findings for the adoption of five cotton practices were the following: Paraguayan REBA P-279 was the most recommended, but the Argentine Guazuncho II was most grown; only 9.5% reported the use of the fertilizer formulated as 12-12-17-2; cultural methods of weed control were preferred to chemical control; a 5% increase in plant density from the beginning to the end of the project was seen; and 88% reported that they did not have enough information to control cotton diseases. The knowledge gained will be useful for extension workers, administrators, program managers, policymakers, funding organizations, and the general public to formulate guidelines and organize work programs for disseminating information more effectively to small cotton farmers. Results and recommendations will be presented to the board and staff members of the Agricultural Extension Directorate and the Ministry of Agriculture in order to develop strategies for effective methods of communication long needed among all involved in the agricultural extension process.
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Includes bibliographical references (leaves 101-106).
Issued also on microfiche from Lange Micrographics.
Diarte Meza, Nelson Antonio (2001). Role of contact farmers as a source of information in the adoption of selected cotton practices among small-scale farmers in two districts of Paraguay. Master's thesis, Texas A&M University. Available electronically from
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