Role of Media in Agricultural Development

(By Muhammad Modassar Ali, Dr. Shahid Mehmood)

(Institute of Food Science and Nutrition, UOS)

Agricultural extension is a vital information transferring system organized to disseminate the latest methodology of agricultural research to farmers. Effective communication is therefore the backbone of the system. Communication therefore is the prime requirement in Agricultural extension work. The success of Agri. development programs in western world is largely confined to the nature and extent uses of media in its any form. The Extension workers at western world have realized the improvement of agriculture sector will be accelerated with the operative use of media in its any form. T.V. and Radio are claimed to be the greatest operative way for disseminating the agricultural technology and information to the farmers. In a republic like Pakistan the literateness level is very low so the optimal of media is of vibrant position. Considering such things T.V. and radio are significantly of vital importance. T.V. and Radio are the quickest way to transmission up-to-date agrarian techniques to well-educated and uneducated farmers similar even if they are in inner areas of Pakistan, more effectively and in a very short time. The illiterate agriculturalists can simply perceive technology processes, and teaching by radio and T.V. Newspapers and magazines play vital role in Agricultural Extension, technology and info among the well-educated farmers. The literacy of Pakistan is increasing day by day, it offers some new promises to the Mass Media and The Print Media.  The print media in Pakistan has broadened the latitude of Agricultural Extension. It is the most reliable inexpensive and convenient source of Agricultural Extensional Communication among the farmers. The quite large proportion of inhabitants of Pakistan about 67.3% belongs to rural habitat and is mostly involved to agriculture. Agriculture sector in Pakistan share almost 23% of the GDP of Pakistan (Govt. of Pak., 2006-07). This sector can do much better as it is going, this is an unfortunate condition. The production on average per hectare in Pakistan is much lower as comparing to the other countries (FAO, 2004), this is a very poor picture of Pakistan. This low yield may be ascribed to the no-using of the modern agricultural technology and techniques and may be due to mismanagement of the farm by the farmers and a big reason may be the poor communication between the extension agents and the farmers. The main objective of the agriculture extension agent is the skill development and the training of the farmers, taking in concept the modern equipment, techniques and technology. As by the definition of Education “It is the aggregate of all the processes responsible for bringing about desirable changes in human behavior” and then defining it with aspect of agriculture “It is the aggregate of all the process, methods and techniques adopted by the Agriculture Extension Agent to bring a desirable change in Farmer’s behavior. Concerning the education of the farmers (especially in Pakistan), the Agriculture Extension Agent should focus on giving the farmers the latest knowledge of modern agricultural techniques, technology and methods, and then training them with necessary skills and the at the last developing their mind toward modern and latest agriculture. The mass media is the most effective and the most powerful tool for dissemination of information within the village masses. On the basis of their working methods the mass media is mainly classified to electronic media and then comes the print media. Agricultural Extension Services and the use of Electronic media were found to be a good and reliable source for dissemination of Agricultural Technology and Information. T.V. is the most reliable source for a farmer in Pakistan. The government of Pakistan have used is for the dissemination of Information regarding “American Sundi” and “Red Cotton Bug” threats. The advertisement of modern agricultural technology and information was also assured. Print media uses the ways of Nonverbal communication to transfer messages to the farmers, it mainly uses diagrams, pictures and words to disseminate accurate and clear information to a large mass of farmers. The form and content of the Print media should be  designed and confined to the needs and interest of the farmers, there should be broad ways that encourage decision making, invigorate the transformation of the modern agriculture technology, it should furnish a more forthright and candid  cure of sustainability with respect to the practical content, and it should also stretch the latest knowledge on the financial and monetary entanglement of any sanctioned agricultural knowledge, counting ambiguity and contingency complex. The printed material can be used by the farmers for long period of time and it is also work as a reminder and the most important thing of it is that it can be used again and again. The demand of print media will advance repute and appeal the diligence of farmers when they speech the actual difficulties confronted by them and then deliver possible resolutions to them. Agricultural Extension employee can get benefit of the printed material sideways with additional communication frequencies to emphasize the education progression of farmers especially in Pakistan. Oakley (1985) suspected print media as permanent communicational method in Agricultural Extension. Although they both acknowledge the limitation of print media for illiterate population of Pakistan. Summing up, the print media could largely be valuable for well-educated farmers, but it doesn’t mean that it is useless for illiterate farmers. As per the passageway of period the literateness level has improved in Pakistan and seems to make its place for transfer of information and the modern agricultural technology, 67% of the inhabitants is knowledgeable. Summarizing the discussion ends with the result that the media plays a vital role in dissemination of information in agricultural sector.

Mujahid Ali

I am a Ph.D. scholar in Institute of Horticultural Sciences, UAF and Ex-Visiting Lecturer in Horticulture UOS, Ex-Research Fellow in ACIAR project on vegetables and Erx-Teaching Assitant in Horticulture UAF. Moreover, Ph.D. IRSIP done in the United States.

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