The aim of this study was to investigate the effect of shared meaning between extension officers and farmers on the adoption of Irish potato farming innovations in Kibirichia Ward, Meru County. It’s objectives were: to determine the effect of channels of communication used between extension officers and farmers on the adoption of Irish potato farming innovations in Meru County; to describe the nature of messages conveyed between the extension officers and farmers on the adoption of Irish potato farming innovations in Meru County; to examine the effect of the context of communication between extension officers and farmers on the adoption of Irish potato farming innovations in Meru County and to determine the effect of noise on shared meaning between extension officers and farmers on the adoption of Irish potato farming innovations in Meru County. The study was guided by the diffusion of innovation and symbolic interaction theories of communication. In this study, qualitative research design was used and qualitative data was collected with the aid of focus group discussions and in-depth interviews amongst Irish potato farmers who were area residents from four sub-locations (Kimbo, Gathuine, Kiamiogo, Mburugiti) and all the extension officers involved in the production of Irish potato crop. A sample size of 39 respondents was drawn. Using qualitative methods in data analysis, focus group and interview data was transcribed, coded and categorized into relevant themes and sub-themes and possible and plausible explanations of the findings drawn. Findings of the study revealed that channels of communication and nature of messages result in shared meaning and high adoption of Irish potato farming in Meru County. However, whereas physical, socio-psychological and temporal contexts of communication positively influenced shared meaning and adoption of Irish potato farming, cultural context did not have an effect on adoption but only influenced shared meaning. Further, noise deterred shared meaning between extension officers and farmers and led to low adoption of Irish potato farming in Meru County. The study recommended that in order to attain increased adoption of Irish potato farming, the government should employ public relations officers and development communication experts, who can develop communication campaigns that will enable effective dissemination of extension information to farmers. Further research should be conducted to determine the role of social media on adoption of Irish potato farming innovations in Meru County. Secondly, since this study focused on Meru County, further studies should be upscaled in other counties in Kenya that cultivate Irish potatoes. The findings are beneficial to farmers, agronomical companies, extension officers, researchers and government policy makers. They boost planning and implementing of focused agricultural programs geared at increasing agricultural production in line with the Kenya government agenda 2018 and the Sustainable Development Goals, 2017.
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