Information and Communication Technologies and agricultural knowledge
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The purpose of this study was to investigate the use of ICTs among smallholder farmers and extension agent for knowledge management, and compare the situation in peri-urban and rural settings. The study was carried out in two districts of Kenya, one representing the rural setting and the other representing the peri-urban setting. Data were collected using semi-structured questionnaires and key informant interviews in both districts. A total of 200 questionnaires were administered to smallholder farmers in both districts; the government extension agents from the Ministry of Agriculture were interviewed in both districts, as well as the non-government extension agents who included NGOs, and private companies. An independent samples t-test analysis was conducted to compare the use of ICT for farmers in peri-urban and rural settings. There was no significant difference in use of ICTs among smallholder farmers in periurban and rural settings. It emerged that most of the famers use mobile phones for communication and sharing but not for acquiring information and knowledge, despite the development of recent technologies enabling the access of agricultural knowledge through mobile phones. There was a significant difference in access to internet and television programmes between the two settings, and it was also established that although radio programmes are the widely used form of ICT, they are still a challenge when it comes to ease of access due to inconsistency and poor timing of the programmes. The widely used form of knowledge dissemination by the extension agents is face to face, and group meetings. There is very limited use of ICTs to disseminate in extension information. There is therefore need to create more awareness about the new ICT based technologies developed for the famers, as well as capacity building and training on how to use these technologies.
- Faculty of Agriculture