Communication strategies employed by the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock in the implementation of farmer input support programme(FISP): A case study of Kafue District
Mushimba, Chipulu Gloria
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This report represents the findings on the assessment of the communication strategies which are used by the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock in the implementation of Farmer Input Support Programme (FISP). The study was specifically designed to generate information and other analyses of the communication strategies and recommendations for improving the impact of the programme on food security and alleviation of poverty among farmers and the country at large. The views and perceptions of both the small scale farmers and the officers from the ministry regarding the effectiveness of the communication strategies and programmes in reducing food insecurity and poverty were solicited and analyzed from a total of one hundred (100) small scale farmers, four (4) key informant interviews were conducted with the Officers from the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock, and two (2) focus group discussions were held with small scale farmers who included men, women and youths that were beneficiaries of FISP. The data collected was analyzed using SPSS for quantitative data and Thematic Analysis was used for the qualitative data. The study was conducted in Kafue District of Lusaka Province. The major findings of the study were that the Kafue District Agricultural Office uses electronic and print media as well as person to person communication to disseminate information to farmers but rely heavily on person to person communication. The findings revealed that the Government of the Republic of Zambia has made some considerable effort to come up with the poverty reduction programme - FISP. Through FISP, small scale farmers are able to have access to farming inputs (seed & fertilizer). The study further revealed that the Ministry does have communication strategies in place although they are not as effective as they should be. During the study, respondents (small scale farmers) raised serious concerns on late delivery of inputs and the inadequacy of the quantities. Furthermore, the study noted that not many farmers had information on weaning off the programme. It is, therefore, recommended that: The ministry come up with clear and concrete communication strategies and makes them generic. Information disseminated to the farmers should be translated into local languages that are used in the district (chitonga and chinyanja).Mechanisms to ensure that inputs are delivered on time are put in place.