Agroforestry Systems

, Volume 91, Issue 5, pp 811–824 | Cite as

Can farmer-to-farmer communication boost the dissemination of agroforestry innovations? A case study from Sulawesi, Indonesia

  • Endri Martini
  • James M. Roshetko
  • Enggar Paramita


Research agencies generate a vast number of agroforestry innovations, many of which have significant potential to increase productivity and to improve livelihoods. However, the dissemination of information related to these innovations and their adoption rate remains low throughout Indonesia, particularly in areas with a low level of infrastructure development, such as in Sulawesi, Indonesia. In areas such as these, interpersonal communication between farmers (farmer-to-farmer interpersonal communication) is a significant means by which farmers obtain information related to agroforestry innovations that they may utilize to improve the productivity of their plots. Given the significance of this channel of communication, further investigation is merited to assess how it might be leveraged to improve the dissemination of information related to agroforestry innovations and how it can complement the use of other communication channels. Thus, this study was conducted to identify how farmer-to-farmer interpersonal communication is used and the extent to which it is a preferred means by which information related to agroforestry innovations is disseminated in Sulawesi, Indonesia. Data was collected through semi-structured interviews involving 144 farmers (40 % female) from 12 villages in the provinces of South Sulawesi and Southeast Sulawesi, Indonesia. Results show distinct differences in terms of farmers’ preferences for the various types of disseminators of information related to agroforestry innovations between provinces and genders. It was found that farmers play a significant role as reliable disseminators of information related to agroforestry innovations to a greater extent in areas where farmer’s access to government extension agents is limited and where language barriers act as a constraint to the dissemination of information by these agents. Farmer-to-farmer communication is not the only communication channel for the dissemination of the information, but it is preferred by farmers who only speak local languages. Thus, to enhance the dissemination rate of agroforestry innovations, farmer-to-farmer communication channels should be utilized to complement the use of other channels. In areas where farmer-to-farmer communication channels are preferred, deliberate measures to improve expert farmers’ and opinion leaders’ access to information related to agricultural and agroforestry innovations will facilitate the effective dissemination of this information amongst a greater number of farmers.


Communication channels Expert farmers Extension agents South Sulawesi Southeast Sulawesi 



This study was supported through the Agroforestry and Forestry: Linking Knowledge to Action (AgFor) project (Contribution Arrangement No. 7056890), funded by Global Affairs Canada (GAC), Government of Canada. We appreciate the assistance and contribution of the collaborating communities and of local government offices in Bantaeng, Bulukumba, Konawe and Kolaka. We offer special thanks to Dr. Carol J. Pierce Colfer, Dr. Daniel Callo-Concha, Dr. Manfred Denich, and two unknown reviewers for their constructive inputs to the paper, which played a significant role in enhancing the quality of this paper. Also to Mr. Irfan Kortschak for the English editing of the paper.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Endri Martini
    • 1
  • James M. Roshetko
    • 1
  • Enggar Paramita
    • 2
  1. 1.World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF)Jl. CIFORBogorIndonesia
  2. 2.School of Communication and Arts, Faculty Humanities and Social SciencesThe University of QueenslandBrisbane St LuciaAustralia

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