Assessing participatory development communication as a strategy for agricultural information dissemination in Uganda.
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The study assessed the effectiveness of PDC as an Agricultural Information Dissemination strategy based on how banana researchers of the National Agricultural Research Organization (NARO) implemented PDC in Mukono and Rakai districts, between 2001 and 2007. This was effected through identifying components of an Agricultural Information Dissemination Strategy, exploring the extent to which the PDC initiatives addressed those components, and establishing the challenges and benefits in the PDC initiatives. Study respondents were 128, comprising 120 small scale farmers, the same who participated in the PDC initiatives with NARO banana researchers between 2001 and 2007, and eight key informants consisting of banana researchers, extension workers, local leaders and district agricultural officers. The study employed a social survey design. It collected both qualitative and quantitative data through document study, semi - structured questionnaires, focus group discussions, observation checklists, and key informant interviews. Qualitative data was analyzed progressively, while quantitative data was analysed using Epidata, Microsoft Excel and SPSS statistical packages. Data is presented through descriptions, quotations, tables, figures and representative percentages. The study found that the PDC initiatives availed appropriate banana management information to farmers, and that despite finding challenges, the banana farmers utilized the availed information from 2001 up to 2010 which is a relatively long time. The availed information contributed to the control of the spread of Banana Bacterial Wilt (BBW) in Kimenyedde, and in increased banana yields in Ddwaniro. The study concluded that PDC was effective in achieving positive change in a group of farmers, but it focused on one crop or one problem at a time, and it did not address individual farmers’ information needs. The study recommended that the Ministry of Agriculture and universities should build human resource capacity, and support more studies in PDC for example, establish the performance of PDC in annual crops, and animals.