A framework for analyzing the role of ICT on agricultural commercialization and household food security
Okello, Julius J
Okello, Ruth M
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Lack of agricultural information has been attributed to the inability of smallholder farmers to transition from subsistence to commercial agriculture. Recent efforts to improve smallholder access to agricultural information have seen increased application of ICT technologies in developing agriculture. These efforts use ICT-based market information to reduce transaction costs of smallholder participation in markets, promote commercialization, and improve household food security. Emerging studies document the benefits of such ICT-based applications in agriculture, including increased incomes and improved performance of agricultural markets. Unfortunately these studies have been context specific and the link between provision of ICT-based market information, smallholder commercialization and household security remains unclear. This paper develops a framework that can be used to analyze the link between ICT application in smallholder agriculture, household commercialization, and food security. The paper generates testable hypotheses relating ICT application in agriculture and reduction in transactions costs, smallholder farmer commercialization, and household food security. It then provides illustrative cases where ICT application in agriculture has benefited smallholder production and improved market performance. However, more research must be done to test the generated hypotheses. The paper discusses the implications of the framework for practitioners.