Impact of Information and Communication Technology-based Extension Services on Dairy Production and Household Welfare: the Case of Icow Service in Kenya
Mwita, Erick, M
MetadataShow full item record
Agricultural extension services play an important role for growth and transformation of the agricultural sector in Sub Saharan Africa. Benefits such as high productivity, quality of produce, reduction of diseases and pest, and increased income among smallholder farmers are attributed to access to quality extension service. Despite of these contributions of extension services, smallholder farmers have the challenge of accessing timely, credible and reliable agricultural information and consequently limiting them in realising maximum farm output. Use of ICT as an agricultural extension tool by smallholder farmers has the potential to reverse the scenario and improve farmers’ access to timely and credible agricultural information and consequently lead to improved outputs and incomes leading to increased welfare. This study examined whether the introduction of iCow platform as an e-extension tool among smallholder dairy farmers could deliver timely, reliable, relevant, and actionable agricultural information and advice to farmers and consequently improving their welfare. Therefore, the main objective of the study was to determine the impact of iCow on milk production, milk and household income and food security. The study used a random sample of 457 small-householder dairy farmers of which 209 farmers regularly used the iCow services while 248 farmers were non-users. Descriptive analysis showed that there were differences in the means between regular users of iCow and non-users. Specifically, there were significant differences between the users of iCow and non-users with respect to milk production per cow. iCow users in Uasin Gishu and Bomet realised higher average annual milk production per cow of 2550 litres and 2456 litres respectively as compared to non-users whose production was 1833 litres and 2020 litres respectively. However, there was no significant differences in milk production in Nyandarua county. With respect to milk income, on average, users of iCow in Nyandarua, Uasin Gishu and Bomet earned Ksh.122833, Ksh.169820 and Ksh.155449 respectively compared to non-users who earned Ksh.90036, 89389 and 111816 respectively. In relation to household income, there was a significant and positive difference of Ksh. 153353 between the iCow users and non-users in Bomet and insignificant differences in Nyandarua and Uasin Gishu. Additionally, on food consumption scores (FCS), which measure the food security status, the analysis indicated significant differences between the iCow users and non-users only in Bomet. On average users of iCow in Bomet had significantly higher (72) (i.e. better food security) scores than the non-users (67). Further, the study used PSM model to analyze impact of iCow on dairy production and household welfare. Impact was estimated as average treatment on the treated (ATT) on milk production, milk income, household income and food security. The finding indicated that use of iCow services among dairy farmers had a positive and significant impact on milk production and milk income in Nyandarua and Uasin Gishu counties and the impact was insignificant in Bomet. Specifically, the figures revealed that users of iCow services increased their milk production per cow by about 466 litres and 797 litres in Nyandarua and Uasin Gishu counties. In relation to milk income, iCow users in Nyandarua and Uasin Gishu earned about Ksh. 28115 and Ksh.76850 respectively more than non-users. However, results showed insignificant impact on household income and food security in all the counties. This positive impact shows the potential role of ICT-based extension in rural poverty reduction through increased household incomes. The positive correlation of use of phones in getting timely information among farmers suggest that policies should focus on improving infrastructure in the rural areas for the ICT usage. This include, expansion of electrification programs for access of power for charging the ICT devises. Besides, there is also a need for expansion of mobile network coverage in the rural areas where the network is poor to facilitate exchange of information. Additionally, these findings highlight the need to expand the iCow services in terms of coverage and even to other livestock and crop enterprises other than dairy industry in rural areas, due to its proven capacity of enhancing smallholder farmers` access to simple, timely information and digital solution. Finally, partnerships between network providers and research institutes should be encouraged as part of bridging the extension gap occasioned by reduced public expenditure on extension services. It is through this that that research institutes will refine the content of the e-extension approaches to meet the needs of farmers.
University of Nairobi
SubjectImpact of Information and Communication Technology-based Extension Services on Dairy Production and Household Welfare: the Case of Icow Service in Kenya
RightsAttribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 United States
The following license files are associated with this item: