Examining the relevance of farmer field days in the dissemination of cassava information in Kiryandongo District
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The purpose of this study was to examine the relevance of field days in disseminating information of improved cassava to farmers in Kiryandongo District. To achieve that objective, the study was divided into four major parts. The first part looked at how farmer field days are used in the dissemination of cassava research information. The second part investigated the effectiveness of farmer field days in the dissemination of cassava research information, while the next part explored the challenges of farmer field days in disseminating cassava research information. The last part gave recommendations on how field days can enhance increased access to improved cassava information to farmers in Kiryandongo district. The study took a qualitative approach and employed Focus Group Discussions and in-depth interview methods for data collection, so as to obtain answers to the research questions. 32 farmers were engaged in focus group discussions from villages including: Kididima, Nyamer ii, Kifuluta iii, Mboira I, Karagarya Village and Sabbasabba-Diika in four sub-counties in Kiryandongo District. In-depth interviews were held with 6 respondents including: cassava researchers at NARO-NaCRRI, Kiryandongo local government and community-based-organisation-Brac. The findings of the study indicate that field days, though with some challenges are an effective tool and have contributed to the dissemination of cassava information to cause adoption of varieties and accompanying agronomic practices of improved cassava in Kiryandongo District. Although farmers in Kiryandongo also receive information about improved cassava through other channels, field days are more preferred. These bring together farmers, extension workers and researchers in an interactive manner through experiments and demonstrations. The findings further indicated that despite the challenges such as bad timing and lack of resources/funds to facilitate the activity, farmer field days are a key learning platform and should be promoted because of their visual power. The study draws conclusions and proposes other areas of inquiry on how field days can enhance agricultural information dissemination in Kiryandongo. The researcher recommends a more inclusive ‘user-centred approach’ to address the feedback loop typical in the field days so as to facilitate dialogue among different stakeholders.