Vol. 2, Issue 5 (2017)
The means of access to agricultural information among famers in Samia sub-county, Kenya
Author(s): Pamphily Mulima, Dr. Harrison Bii, Dr. Emily Bosire
Abstract: Small-scale agriculture provides livelihoods for over 70% of the Kenyan population. However, farmers face a number of challenges, including poor access to agricultural information. ICT is yet to be fully utilized in the provision of real time access to information by farmers. The aim of the study was to develop a web-based information system to enhance food security in Samia District. Informed by the study, this paper specific objectives of the study were to: determine ways through which farmers access agricultural information in Samia Sub-County; determine opportunities that ICT-based agricultural information systems present to farmers in Samia Sub-County; identify factors that influence access and utilization of agricultural information by small-scale farmers in Samia Sub-County; and, model and build a prototype web-based agricultural information system that supports access to agricultural information by farmers in Samia Sub-County. This was a case study research whose target population comprised of small scale farmers and technical staff. A sample of 30% of the agricultural officers serving in the study locations was computed. This yielded a sample of 7 agricultural officers who were randomly selected, one from each of the locations in the district. The Agricultural Officer was purposively sampled. The sample size of small scale farmers was computed by the use of the formula indicated by Reid and Boore yielding a proportionate random sample of 399 small scale farmers. The sampling was enhanced by the presence of a list of small scale farmers in the seven locations obtained from the District Agricultural Office. With the help of the agricultural officers serving in the respective locations, these small-scale farmers were identified and interviewed. The questionnaire tool was also administered to the farmers. Data collected were analysed using the cross case data analysis technique. It was established that a majority of the farmers accessed agricultural information through radio (68.3%) followed by traditional sources (47.7%) and mobile phones (34.9%). It was recommended that since majority of rural folks have access to mobile phones, agricultural officers should carry out sensitization seminars and workshops on how farmers can utilize their phones in accessing agricultural information.
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