The term Information channels refers- the means by which people access information that includes both ICT based channels and services, and the mass media (television, radio, and print). In an agricultural country, like Bangladesh, where agriculture is still a major source of income for 16 million households, farmers look for economic, user-friendly, and easily accessible information sources .Traditionally more than 60% of farmers prefers to seek information from input retailers and Sub Assistance Agriculture Officers ( SAAO). However input retailer may not always provide updated and neutral information. Additionally, with each SAAO is catering to 1300 farming household, farmers face challenges to gain prompt access to SAAO at the time of need. In order to provide reliable and timely information, information channels such as ICT and media tools can act as a complementary information sources for the farmers. Reliable and timely agriculture based information helps farmers to protect themselves from potential losses, reduce costs and enjoy higher yields, resulting in increased income. Recent studies (Orgquest, 2013) show 84% of farmers own mobile phone. 90% of farmers watch TV and 54% listen to agro information in Community Radio. Thus by utilizing both ICT and mass media tools, farmers’ need for information and services can be addressed.
With 27 television channels (24 private and 3 public), 24 radio stations (public, private and community radio), 824 print publications (daily newspaper), 6 commercial telecoms operators with nationwide coverage, 5000 telecentres and 3 agro helplines, the information channels industry is growing rapidly since 2004.
By 2017, Katalyst aims to see around 350,000farmers, rural entrepreneurs and policy makers having access to relevant information and services for usage, delivered through various information channels.
Information Channels Sector Brief- English