Agricultural information and knowledge network in rural India: a case of Bihar
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Purpose: The key informants in a village setup were studied to understand the existing social and knowledge systems of farmers, their structure, and relationships between different actors. The purpose is to identify different channels of information and use them as a means to disseminate agricultural technologies and related information to farmers. Design: We use the network map analysis in a case study approach as a tool to demonstrate the linkages between the key actors and stakeholders in the information network of farmers. Findings: The government institutions are well networked among themselves but have limited interactions with non-government sources. Farmers in Bihar have strong linkages with few network actors, who are important nodes in the social knowledge network. The study showed heterogeneity and complexity in the network shape and structure across different districts. Practical Implications: Knowledge networks and social networks are the drivers of information sharing and play a significant role in the diffusion of agricultural technology and related knowledge. Understanding these networks provides a platform for introducing the agricultural technologies and getting connected to a wider group of farming communities. Theoretical Implications: The study shows that the network is formed by different actors and their role determine the nature and shape of the network. Knowledge of this heterogeneity is important in designing or revamping agricultural information systems. Originality: Information and knowledge networks are least explored in the agricultural information dissemination process. Some studies have shown the role of actors and social networks, but this study uniquely explores and presents the heterogeneity of these networks.