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Agriculture–nutrition linkages in farmers’ communication networks

Agricultural Communications Documentation Center (ACDC)
Jäckering, Lisa (main author), Gödecke, Theda (author), Wollni, Meike (author)
Online journal article
Publication Date:
Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
Agricultural Communications Documentation Center, Funk Library, University of Illinois
Subject Term:
communication networks, extension, extension programs, farmers, information dissemination, information flow, nutrition, nutrition information, rural development, health communication, farmer communication, Kenya (Africa, Eastern)
16 pages., via online journal., To date, little is known about how information flows within farmer groups and how extension interventions could be designed to deliver combined information on agriculture and nutrition. This study uses unique network data from 815 farm households in Kenya to investigate the structure and characteristics of agricultural and nutrition information networks within farmer groups. Dyadic regressions are used to analyze the factors influencing link formation for the exchange of agricultural and nutrition information. In addition, we apply fixed‐effects models to identify the characteristics of central persons driving information exchange in the two networks, as well as potentially isolated persons, who are excluded from information networks within their farmer groups. Our results show that nutrition information is exchanged within farmer groups, although to a limited extent, and mostly flows through the existing agricultural information links. Thus, diffusing nutrition information through agricultural extension systems may be a viable approach. Our findings further suggest that group leaders and persons living in central locations are important drivers in the diffusion of information in both networks and may thus serve as suitable entry points for nutrition‐sensitive extension programs. However, we also identify important heterogeneities in network characteristics. In particular, nutrition information is less often exchanged between men and women, and some group members are completely isolated from nutrition information exchange within their farmer groups. We derive recommendations on taking these differences in network structure and characteristics into account when designing nutrition‐sensitive extension programs.