The role of Community Information Centres (CIC) in enhancing farmers’ access to information: A case study of CIC models in Morogoro region, Tanzania

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This paper presents the findings of a study which was conducted in Morogoro region to identify farmers’ current information needs. It also examines an approach that could enhance farmers’ access to and use of agricultural information with a view to promoting the practice of proactive information acquisition for empowerment and improved livelihoods. The study set out a participatory action research to pilot models for stimulating the proactive practices in accessing and utilising agricultural information. The model which was employed for this study evolved from the Village Information Centres (VIC) model and gave way to Community Information Centres (CIC) given the realisation that VICs have application and relevance to broader communities that may not necessarily be village-based. The study found that farmers’ information needs are not necessarily related to agricultural activities taking place at that particular time in a particular area. In some cases, exposure to information brought about information needs that were not expressed in the first place. This also implies that in some situations exposure to information is needed to stimulate a demand for information. The content, presentation style and language used were among the determinants influencing the demand for particular information. The study found adequate levels of literacy among smallholder farmers such that they could effectively access and make use of printed information. The findings also demonstrate the presence of reading skills that are otherwise underutilised. In conclusion, the study advocates for “pulled information” phenomenon as opposed to “pushed information” in building sustainable knowledge acquisition skills among smallholder farmers.


First COTUL annual conference-­2014


Community Information Centres, Smallholder Farmers, Information Needs