Interplay: Analysing how communication affects knowledge management between sugarcane family farmers and extension workers in San Carlos City, Negros Occidental, Philippines
The Philippines has always been mostly an agricultural-based country. In 2009, the Philippine Statistical Authority reported that 89 per cent of the 4.8 million agricultural operators are male with the remaining 11 per cent female. Data also showed that even though more females are able to complete their secondary education and even higher, a problem continues to persist on the equality of treatment between male and female family farmers particularly in their access to knowledge on subsistence or production-based farming.
Studies on family farming found that most of the farm labour was assigned to male farmers. Meanwhile, the 'unpaid labour' either on the farm or the household level was provided by female members of the family. Very few studies focused on how gender communication affects the dynamics of family farmers especially on their access to knowledge, knowledge sharing, and decision-making process which are vital in a small community set-up in a developing country in Southeast Asia.
The research study adopts Dill and Zambrana’s Intersectionality and Connel’s Gender Lens approaches to analyze how gender and communication impacts on knowledge management of family members and extension workers in sugarcane production. It employs mixed methodology research to collect the data. Through purposive sampling, selected family farmers from five households with not more than five hectares of owned sugarcane plantation in San Carlos, Negros Occidental, Philippines are selected as respondents of the study. They will participate in Participatory Rural Appraisal (PRA) activities such as “daily routine charts” and “small group discussions” as part of the rapport-building with the community. Moreover, conducting a semi-structured interview will validate the outcome of PRA activities. Extension workers who are working closely with the farmers will also constitute the key informants in a separate session of semi-structured interviews to elicit information on how the local government provides extension services to both women and men family farmers. Data from the field will be analysed through Nvivo coding (open, thematic, axial), memoing, and through descriptive statistics.
The study will be able to enrich the body of knowledge on the issue of gender equality on knowledge sharing and decision-making process and contributes to the end goal of inclusivity in all aspects of family farming through this case study on the Philippines.
Keywords: rural communication, extension services, gender, sugarcane family farmers