Agriculturists and extension workers have been exploring how to harness the use of social media for agriculture. However, social media adoption among farmers in developing nations remains to be a challenge. A survey among 365 farmers in Chiang Mai, Thailand, revealed that only 66 respondents had adopted social media. Furthermore, only 8 out of the 66 respondents relied on social media for agriculture-related information. For 25 out of the 66, the purpose of social media was entertainment. LINE, Facebook, and YouTube were the adopted social media platforms. Age and level of education were also the significant determinants of social media use. Younger farmers and those with higher levels of education adopted social media successfully.
The low adoption of social media could be attributed to the aging population of farmers. The average age of the respondents was 58. Majority were male, had primary education, and had an average of 27 years in farming. Majority were also considered smallholder farmers with 10 Rai (approximately 1.6 ha) of land where they cultivated rice and longan. While access to the internet was commonplace, the sources of agricultural information remained to be the extension workers and neighbors.
This study conducted by Sukit Kanjina of the Chiang Mai University Faculty of Agriculture showed the need for a gradual shift from traditional extension activities to social media-based extension programs or a combination of both. Extension workers would have to raise awareness of social media first. Once farmers have embraced social media, extension workers can begin harnessing it for information dissemination and mobilization.
Source: Sukit Kanjina (2021). Farmers’ Use of Social Media and its Implications for Agricultural Extension: Evidence from Thailand. Asian Journal of Agriculture and Rural Development, 11(4), 302-310. 10.18488/journal.ajard.2021.114.302.310
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