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ROLE OF MASS MEDIA IN AGRICULTURE
Purushothaman C, Kavaskar M, Reddy YA and Kanagasabapathi K
The success of agricultural development programmes in developing countries largely depends on the nature and extent of use of mass media in mobilization of people for development. The planners in developing countries realize that the development of agriculture could be hastened with the effective use of mass media.
Radio, Television have been acclaimed to be the most effective media for diffusing the scientific knowledge to the masses. In a country like India, where literacy level is low, the choice of communication media is of vital importance. In this regard the television and radio are significant, as they transfer modern agricultural technology to literate and illiterate farmers alike even in interior areas, within short time. In India farm and home broadcast with agricultural thrust were introduced in 1966, to enlighten farmers on the use of various technologies to boost agricultural development. At present, there are about 50 such radio units all over the country. With the main stream of Indian population engaged actively in agriculture, television could serve as a suitable medium of dissemination of farm information and latest technical know - how. The farmers can easily understand the operations, technology and instruction through television.
Among the several mass media, newspaper and farm magazine are commonly used. They have a vital role to play in the communication of agricultural information among the literate farmers. Increasing rate of literacy in the country offers new promises and prospects for utilizing print medium as a means of mass communication. The print media widened the scope of communication. It is cheap and people can afford to buy and read them at their convenience. It is a permanent medium in that the message are imprinted permanently with high storage value which makes them suitable for reference and research. Agricultural journalism is of recent origin in India. It came into existence just five decades ago. It is now gaining importance,
particularly after the establishment of agricultural university in India, technical information needs to be provided to the farmers at the right time and in the right way, so that the productivity can be increased. In the view of increase in literacy level to 52.11 percent during 1991, print media has acquired a greater role in dissemination of information on improved agricultural practices to the farming community and also to inform the public in general. India has farm magazines in every state, published mostly in local languages. Agricultural department also encourages the publishing of such farm magazines particularly through farmers association. The coverage of different subject matter by radio, television, newspaper and farm magazine are almost similar with regard to agriculture, horticulture, animal husbandry, agricultural marketing, agricultural engineering and cooperatives. In this paper, an attempt is made to deal about the importance of radio, television, newspaper and farm magazines and their effect in the field of agriculture through sound communication.