Agricultural Extension Services Using a Participatory Approach in Vegetable Growing Areas in Suriname (Published)
Extension Officers from the Agricultural Extension Service in Suriname, charged with communication, face difficulties in transferring information to farmers. Therefore, a mixed method study was carried out to explore possibilities to improve communication strategies and to facilitate the introduction of novelties and good practices. From August 1, 2016-February 15, 2017 388 small-scale vegetable farmers participated in a survey gauging their knowledge and practices. In addition, a participatory farmers’ experiment was conducted with 15 farmers to convey information about the application of Biochar, an innovative soil-improving compound. Results revealed that extension officers lack relevant specific agricultural knowledge. Important information on sustainable agriculture did not reach most farmers, although the participatory approach provided the means for information exchange and allowed conveying the needed information. The experiment showed that practical sessions on a regular basis with bi-directional information interchange with farmers as conducted in this research can be an effective method to introduce novelties and good practices.