Marketing Information Needs and Seeking Behaviour of Smallholder Livestock Farmers in the Eastern Cape Province, South Africa
AbstractProfitable marketing and production activities in agriculture depends on the availability of reliable and targeted information, which satisfies the information needs and aligned to the information-seeking behaviour of farmers. This study examined the information needs and information seeking behaviour among 150 smallholder livestock farmers, from a selected province in South Africa. With a survey research design, structured questionnaires were used to collect data from the sample population and analysed using counts, percentages, weighted means for ranking, cross-tabulation and chi-square for tests of significance. The results show a dominance of market price information requirement among farmers (65%), immediate market price information need (38%), high level of need (48%), and a strong reliance on inter-personal sources such as other farmers (36%), phone calls (24%) and auctions (23%) for market information. In addition to this, the listed demographic characteristics of farmers namely age, gender, education, marital status, household size, income and herd size strongly influenced their information seeking behaviour (p<0.05). The study recommends the provision of additional sources of market price information for farmers, and ensuring that personal features of farmers are taken into consideration when designing information service interventions.
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