Sources of information, knowledged base, and knowledge needs of dry season vegetable production as identified by women farmers in Ngabu Agricultural Development Division, Malawi, Central Africa Public Deposited

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  • The purpose of this study was to identify the dry season vegetable production sources of information, technical knowledge base and needs of women farmers expressed by the women farmers themselves in Ngabu Agricultural Development Division, Malawi, Central Africa. The objectives were to identify the following aspects of dry season vegetable production for overall women farmers and farmers in male- and female-headed households: (1) awareness of sources, (2) sources used, (3) primary sources, (4) preferred sources, and (5) technical knowledge base and knowledge needs. A multistage cluster sampling technique was used to select a sample of 200. The data were collected by personal interview using a structured questionnaire translated into local language. Data were analyzed using descriptive statistics. Family members was the source of information most women farmers in the total sample as well as in the male- and female-headed households were aware of, used, and preferred; friends was next. Family members was the most frequently used information source. The majority of women farmers in the total sample as well as in the male- and female-headed households did not have technical knowledge. Most respondents expressed a need for knowledge in almost all the selected technological areas for the commonly grown dry season vegetables and some exotic ones. However, there were more women farmers in male-headed households than female-headed households who needed knowledge in certain technological areas: (a) manure type and rate of application; time of fertilizer application; vegetable crop rotation; garden fence construction; and (b) varieties; planting methods; fertilizer types; insect and disease knowledge for Indian mustard and onion. The percentage differences were statistically significant. The fact that women farmers have a low level of technical knowledge suggests that their primary information sources also may have a low level of technical knowledge.
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