ROLE OF ICT IN THE DISSEMINATION AND ACCESS OF AGRICULTURAL INFORMATION BY SMALLHOLDER FARMERS IN SOUTH EASTERN KENYA
Journal: Acta Informatica Malaysia (AIM)
Author: Daisy Mbucu Ireri, Mzee Awuor, James Ogalo, David Nzuki
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License CC BY 4.0, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited
The agricultural sector has been described as the engine for economic growth and improved livelihoods in Africa. However, the sector has been in decline over many years and poor farmers have largely remained poor with 73 percent of the people living in rural areas subsisting on less than a dollar a day. The efforts to ensure global food security face an ever-expanding list of challenges such as climate change, reduced biodiversity, increasingly frequent natural disasters, food price volatility and inefficient supply chains. The inaccessibility of technological and market information has been cited as the major reason for the low productivity in African agriculture knowledge and information have become the major drivers of social and economic transformation in the world. The objective of the paper was to demonstrate the role of ICT in the dissemination and access of agricultural information by smallholder farmers in South Eastern Kenya. The researcher used mixed research method because it had the ability to explore both quantitative and qualitative research methods hence the researcher had the opportunity to use a wide variety of techniques that aided the research process. This study was carried out in Machakos, Makueni and Kitui Counties of Kenya. The local community were mostly smallholder farmers that relied on rain fed agriculture for crop farming of maize, beans, cow pea, pigeon pea and green grams. The study captured in detail the information needs of the farmers by addressing what they required in the course of normal agricultural activities. It was found out that farmers required information on soil management, pest management, use of fertilizer, weather forecast and financial management tips for mainly improving their productivity. The study concluded that there were positive outcome whenever accurate and timely information was disseminated to the farmer which led to higher quality of production and increased productivity.