Level of Cacao farmers’ communication engagement, experiences and challenges towards a framework in community communication

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Research Paper 20/03/2023
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Level of Cacao farmers’ communication engagement, experiences and challenges towards a framework in community communication

Abstract

Embracing community communication as an integral part of research and action programs, stakeholders can foster a participatory approach that facilitates dialogue, collective decision-making, conflict resolution, and social mobilization. This study on the level of cacao farmers’ communication engagement in Lasam, Cagayan, Philippines within the context of the School Plus Home Cacao RDE Project, reveals a moderate level of community communication among farmers. While the current engagement level is a positive sign of active participation, there exists ample scope for improvement to foster more robust community communication efforts. The mixed-methods research design provided valuable insights into both quantitative and qualitative aspects of communication engagement. Quantitative analysis indicated that cacao farmers exhibited a moderate level of engagement in community communication, while qualitative findings shed light on the significance of community communication in various aspects of cacao farming. Farmers’ experiences and challenges related to community communication emphasize the importance of addressing language barriers, time constraints, limited connectivity, and inadequate information dissemination. The study highlights the potential benefits of an improved communication framework tailored to the specific needs of cacao farmers in Lasam. The proposed communication framework focuses on establishing reliable and inclusive channels, cultivating local champions, promoting farmer-to-farmer knowledge exchange, and collaborating with relevant stakeholders. Moreover, the framework emphasizes the value of flexible approaches, tailored information dissemination, and capacity building for digital literacy where applicable. By implementing the proposed communication framework, stakeholders can actively foster community engagement among cacao farmers, leading to more effective knowledge sharing, better decision-making, and enhanced social cohesion. Strengthening community communication efforts can lead to improved farming practices, increased resilience to challenges, and overall sustainable development in the cacao farming community of Lasam. Collaborative efforts involving local government, municipal agriculture offices, and educational institutions, such as CSU Lasam, are encouraged to support this initiative.

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