General implications ofthe findings for different income levels in poorareas ofChina

With the above in mind, four main conclusions on technological information services, including agrometeorological services, can be drawn, ttese are followed by some suggestions springing from the results obtained on the four income groups that we have differentiated (Tan Ying et al. in prep.).

1) Very poor farmers can't use the existing technological information services and therefore have limited demands for such services.

Because this category of farmers is the last destination target group, government at all levels should give them sufficient support. Local government could set up poverty-alleviation groups in the village committees and villager groups in order to strengthen their relations that are important in organizing communication and information for such farmers. In most rural areas this group is bound to disappear in the next development phase, so a structural solution is most often not needed but ad hoc assistance should be organized to relieve their plights.

2) ^e awareness of low-income farmers of technological information services is too small.

ttis category of farmers accounts for a relatively large target group in underdeveloped areas. Facing such farmer groups the chief tasks are to popularize knowledge, to derive suitable services based on knowledge and to increase an awareness of available technological information services. For example, an information station in Sanyuanzhen, Wuhu, Anhui province plays fully the government's services function. It sponsors information dissemination meetings regularly, in order to urge farmers listening to/watching technological programs and paying attention to technological information services. Meanwhile, they make use of lottery attached contests on the agriculture channel, as well as other programs, to stimulate and improve farmers' initiatives and awareness to information.

3) Middle-income farmers can't utilize information services very efficiently.

tte leading role of able villagers and village leaders should be fully played. Generally speaking, able villagers are pioneers among progressive farmers and have relatively strong ability to obtain and use information services. Let them assist the others. Still, government's information services departments should adopt various training types to bring them services derived from applied scientific and technological knowledge, ttey should enhance their education so that they themselves can accumulate, analyze and utilize information services more efficiently.

4) Rich farmers have greatest ability of utilizing effective information services.

Relatively rich farmer families contain often able villagers and villager leaders. According to classical work by Rogers (1983), able villagers are often the first level destination, namely information pioneers; mid-income farmer families are the second level destination, namely early information receivers; while low-income farmer families are the third level destination, namely late information receivers. Case studies demonstrate that farmer initiatives are processes of "enlightenment", not only inspired by ideas, but more importantly, by engaging and learning from social interaction and everyday experience (Ye 2002).

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