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Agriculture 2016, 6(2), 15; doi:10.3390/agriculture6020015

Social Factors That Influence Use of ICT in Agricultural Extension in Southern Africa

The Department of Agricultural and Consumer Economics (ACE), University of Illinois Urbana Champaign, 326 Mumford Hall, 1301 W. Gregory Drive Urbana, IL 61801, USA
These authors contributed equally to this work.
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Academic Editor: Sanzidur Rahman
Received: 17 December 2015 / Revised: 28 March 2016 / Accepted: 1 April 2016 / Published: 8 April 2016
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Agriculture and Rural Development)
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Abstract

Farmbook is a novel information communication technology (ICT) tool for agricultural extension that is currently being field tested by the Catholic Relief Services (CRS) in Southern and East Africa. Farmbook enables extension agents to assess productivity and profitability of farming enterprises in a faster and more reliable manner, so as to increase farmer incomes and achieve food security. This study looked at the relationship between challenges faced by extension agents testing the Farmbook application and select socio-economic indicators influencing their work. Specific objectives were to identify and categorize the challenges facing extension agents in the field as they used Farmbook, assess gender differences in the use of Farmbook by extension agents, understand the relationship between socio-economic status of extension agents and the challenges faced in using Farmbook. Data were collected through document reviews, administration of a structured questionnaire and focus group meetings with field agents. Descriptive statistics and multivariate techniques were used to analyze data. The results show that personal and wider socio-economic conditions do have an impact on the proficiency of extension agents using Farmbook. The study goes on to recommend measures to improve the training and ICT proficiency of extension agents adopting Farmbook. View Full-Text
Keywords: Farmbook; ICT; Catholic Relief Services; agricultural extension; Zambia; mosaic plots Farmbook; ICT; Catholic Relief Services; agricultural extension; Zambia; mosaic plots
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Tata, J.S.; McNamara, P.E. Social Factors That Influence Use of ICT in Agricultural Extension in Southern Africa. Agriculture 2016, 6, 15.

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