1145   Individual paper

No trust, no interest: Mexican farmers' perceptions of Covid-19 and Scientists' role in society

Author: Lourdes Mateos Espejel
Universidad Popular Autónoma del Estado de Puebla, Mexico

The state of agriculture had already been in crisis before COVID-19 due to food security and nutrition. However, the outbreak of the pandemic added challenge on primary agriculture specially in developing countries because businesses increased their capacity to manage larger inventories, moving to on-line platforms and hiring temporary staff. In the case of Mexico, the country is in eleventh place in food worldwide production. Therefore, Mexico’s biggest challenging tasks come from the measures need to contain COVID-19 in agricultural labor-force. The main objective of this article is to highlight the perceptions of Mexican farmers about Covid-19 and their views on scientists’ role in society. Based on a qualitative approach, five focus groups were conducted with 30 farmers in total. We identified Mexican farmers have been exposed to the virus without enough scientific information and critical understanding of the serious threat they are facing. Main perceived barriers to access to scientific information were lack of interest and credibility in daily TV press conferences conducted by scientists and public workers. Besides, extensive labor hours and limited access to internet were obstacles that inhibit voluntary searches of scientific information. The realization of the present work contributes to generate hypothesis about perceptions of science in the agricultural labor force and provides a starting point to generate science communication strategies to prevent COVID-19 in the agricultural sector.

Co-author: José Luis Estrada Rodrí­guez
Benemérita Universidad Autónoma de Puebla, Mexico

Co-author: Haydeé Margarita Hernández Ruí­z
Universidad Popular Autónoma del Estado de Puebla, Mexico

Co-author: Helga Ochoa Caceres
Tecnológico de Monterrey Campus Puebla, Mexico

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