Farmers’ Perceptions of Organic Agriculture in Southern Saudi Arabia
Farmers' Perceptions of Organic Agriculture
AbstractThe purpose of this study was to assess farmers' perceptions of organic agriculture and to determine the farmers’ level of knowledge regarding organic farming practices. The study also analyzed whether differences in farmers' characteristics influenced their perceptions of organic agriculture. Because little is known about farmers' perceptions of organic agriculture in Jazan Region, a survey was conducted in the Abu Arish governorate in central Jazan. The survey was comprised of a random sample of farmers from the governorate. The farmers’ perceptions regarding organic agriculture were slightly positive, although they had a low level of knowledge about organic farming practices. More than half of the farmers had insufficient knowledge about practicing organic farming. The study’s results showed that farmers who practice organic farming and have networks with other farmers, sources of information, and training in organic agriculture were significantly more likely to have a greater perception of the importance of organic agriculture. Similarly, farmers educated beyond high school and farmers younger than age 40 were significantly more positive about organic farming than other farmers. Understanding farmers’ perceptions of the subject will prepare extension agents to develop better programs in organic agriculture practices. This study concluded that extension agents and policymakers should concentrate on these factors when they develop training programs intended to dispose farmers more favorably toward organic agriculture.
Key words: organic agriculture, farmers' perceptions, extension, Saudi Arabia
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