Framework for enhancing effective utilization of agricultural information by rural farmers in kenya
Food security is one of the problems Kenya is facing and its causes are varied and almost impossible to measure with certainty. Although agriculture can be an avenue to bridging the gap between demand and current supply, the sector continues to suffer due to several factors, some of which are beyond control of the rural farmers. For rural communities to develop sustainably there is need to come up with urgent measures to equip farmers with the necessary information that if utilized will significantly boost agricultural production and improve rural livelihoods in Kenya. In view of this, a case study was conducted in Machakos County, with eight (8) administrative areas selected to represent the county. Using several Participatory Rural Appraisal (PRA) tools to elicit information from the communities, the study aimed at determining factors influencing utilization of agricultural information by rural farmers in Kenya, determining the influence of ICT Infrastructure on utilization of agricultural information; establishing the influence of socio-economic status on utilization of agricultural information and establishing the influence of education level on utilization of agricultural information. Equipped with this, the study aimed at proposing a framework for effective utilization of agricultural information. The data was be cleaned, verified and run using both SPSS and STATA to generate descriptive statistics, cross-tabulations and frequency tables. In the qualitative dimension, data was then listed and organized under various thematic areas based on the research objectives. The analyzed results were presented using tabulations. The findings established that rural famers utilize agricultural information in production holding other factors constant. The results further indicated that those with college education highly utilize agricultural information as compared to other levels of education. The utilization of agricultural information by rural communities is dependent on the available ICT infrastructure, and in this case, availability of ICT infrastructure alone contributes significantly to the probability of utilization. Socio economic status is a key determinant of utilization of agriculture information and that the higher the level of socio economic status the higher the level of utilization.