n Mousaion - Agricultural researchers and extension workers' information needs and challenges in Zimbabwe : preliminary results of a pilot study




Agriculture plays an important role in the economies of many developing countries, contributing considerably to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), labour and exports. In Zimbabwe, agriculture provides an income to 75 per cent of the country's population. The role of researchers and extension workers is thus important in this process. This article reports on a pilot study that examined the information needs and challenges of veterinary researchers in Zimbabwe. Purposive sampling was used to identify and select respondents around Harare. Although Mashonaland Central and Mashonaland East were initially selected, the study was able to capture respondents from across other provinces and districts from part-time students attending Mazowe Veterinary School. A questionnaire was used to collect data, most of which was analysed using the Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS). The study revealed that there were varying information needs among the respondents, with the need for information on animal health and production being the lowest, despite the majority of respondents being veterinary extension workers. Lack of resources - especially transport and information sources - was cited as a factor affecting research and extension services. The study also showed that there was poor dissemination of agricultural information between researchers and extension workers and the farmers, and this was done through various channels, traditional and modern information and communications technologies (ICTs).


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