Access and utilisation of knowledge and information by aquaculture farmers in Namibia

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University of Namibia
This study on access and utilisation of information and knowledge by aquaculture famers in Namibia investigated the knowledge gap that exists between information and aquaculture production by providing research based evidence on the nature and extent of information utilised by aquaculture farmers in Namibia. The study was driven by the main research question; what is the level of access and utilisation of knowledge and information by aquaculture farmers in Namibia?, and it was guided by two theories: Rogers’ Diffusion of Innovations (DOI) theory that explained how a new innovation is adopted in society and Kuhlthau’s Six Stage model of the Information Search. The mixed methods research design employed a concurrent triangulation approach, combining qualitative and quantitative research approaches. Data collection methods used for the quantitative research were surveys, and semi-structured interviews, observation and document analysis for the qualitative. The population comprised of all fish farmers and their managers in Namibia, and the fish farmers’ database at the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources was used as a sampling frame. The survey respondents were selected using a multi stage sampling technique, starting with a simple random sample as well as employing convenient sampling technique while key informants (managers) were selected using the purposive sampling technique. The key findings of the study revealed that fish farmers lacked the required information to fulfil their information needs. They needed the information for problem solving, performing tasks and decision making. The study also showed that fish farmers used different types of information which cuts across different disciplines and this information included agricultural information, health information, environmental information, technological information, business and trade information, and government policies and plans. Several information sources used by fish farmers were newspapers, Internet, textbooks, experts, etc. and they shared information on various topics amongst themselves such as fish markets and harvests, weather forecast, types of fish species, modern fishing methods, site of shoal, fish feeds, and fishing regulations and government policies. The study established that fish farmers could not attend information literacy and knowledge competencies training regularly, though this should not be interpreted to mean that they lacked information and knowledge on aquaculture production. The study proposes an information access and utilisation model (Integrated Aquaculture Information System) that can support aquaculture farmers as users of information, and also highlights the importance of information and knowledge for sustainable livelihoods amongst fish farmers.
A dissertation submitted in fulfillment of the requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Information Science
Information use, Information seeking behaviour, Aquaculture farmers