Scientific Publication

Enhancing farmers’ capacity for botanical pesticide innovation through video-mediated learning in Bangladesh


Despite the general success of farmer-capacity-building methods such as Farmer Field School in promoting pest management innovations, only those farmers directly involved benefit. How can agricultural extension enable farmer-to-farmer learning about botanical pesticides beyond such schools? We wanted to know how different learning methods, such as video shows and workshops, change farmers’ knowledge, attitudes and practices about botanical pesticides. This paper explains how video engages men and women farmers in spreading botanical pesticides across 12 villages in Bogra District, north-western Bangladesh. We conducted ex ante and ex post surveys among farmers from November 2009 to September 2010. For data analysis, we used t-test and McNemer and Wilcoxon sign rank tests. Our findings suggest that video improves the ability of both male and female farmers to communicate about pest management among themselves and with other stakeholders, as ‘intricate ethno-agricultural practices’. Video-mediated learning sessions are more effective than conventional workshop training in enhancing farmers’ knowledge about botanical pesticides, changing their attitude and finally taking a decision to adopt these methods. In other words, video is capable of communicating complex issues such as the biological and physical processes that underlie pest management innovations. From our case, we conclude that agricultural extension is more effective with the use of facilitated video learning and that this process clarifies complex agro-ecological principles, bias and normative perceptions of the learners. Also, video-mediated learning is not only transferable across villages, but also works well in combination with other media, such as radio, television and mobile phones.