KHIN MAR CHO
Justus-Liebig-Universität Giessen, Institute of Rural Sociology and Extension, Germany
This papers report on a study of agricultural knowledge and information systems undertaken by the Central Agricultural Research Institute and the Agricultural Extension Division under the Myanmar Agriculture Service. Field research was conducted in three districts which are located in different agro-ecological regions of Myanmar. The core objectives are to assess the significance of different actors and organisations as potential uptake/dissemination pathways for agricultural technologies, and to consider ways to improve the performance of the knowledge and information systems in Myanmar. Technology refers to the combination of knowledge, inputs and management practices which are used together with productive resources to gain a desired output. Transfer of technology is not merely the means of transferring knowledge, information and skills about technology to its potential users but also way of helping them to use these technologies fruitfully to their advantages. The transfer of technology to the farmers in a social system is a very complex and complicated matter. Although the government extension is a major source of information in all the communities investigated, neither the communities nor the extension personnel themselves were satisfied with the quality or frequency of interaction. NGOs and UNDP are also important sources of information in those areas where they are active. The major sources of knowledge for small holders are friends, relatives, neighbours and markets. Most farmers considered that their most pressing information requirements which was not being adequately addressed were information on technical details of farming (e.g. chemical fertiliser application rates, where to get certified seeds, the most appropriate varieties for a given location, soil and water management, housing and management of livestock, etc.) market information, and input prices and availability. For the successful dissemination of agricultural technologies to a majority of farmers, it is a greater need to improve the performance of the agricultural knowledge and information systems by assisting farmers in ensuring adequate amount of knowledge about technologies and other information.
Keywords: Knowledge and information systems, Myanmar, technology dissemination