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Diffusion of information and communication technologies in communication of Agricultural information among agricultural researchers and extension workers in Kenya

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dc.contributor.advisor Ocholla, D.N.
dc.contributor.advisor Adigun, M.
dc.contributor.author Kiplang'at, Joseph
dc.date.accessioned 2011-09-28T06:42:20Z
dc.date.available 2011-09-28T06:42:20Z
dc.date.issued 2004
dc.identifier.other 269256
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/10530/905
dc.description Thesis submitted in fulfilment of the requirements for the award of the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy in the Department of Library and Information Science, in the Faculty of Arts at the University of Zululand, South Africa, 2004. en_US
dc.description.abstract The purpose of this study was to investigate the ditTusion of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) in the communication of agricultural information among agricultural researchers and extension workers in Kenya. In particular. the study focused on the public agricultural sector and covered the Kenya Agricultural Research Institute (KARI) and the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MoARD). A survey research method. comprising a self-completed questionnaire and a structured interview schedule was utilized to gather data from the respondents. This was supplemented by observation and document review. The questionnaire was used to solicit information from agricultural researchers and extension workers. while the face to lilCe interview was used to obtain information from the key informants of the study. The agricultural researchers were drawn from the 21 KARI research centres distributed in all the eight provinces of Kenya and strategically spread to cater for different agroecological zones and socio-economic systems. The extension workers, on the other hand. were drawn from the Uasin Gishu and Baringo Districts, while the Key informants of the study were drawn from all the institutions surveyed. A total of 356 respondents compnsmg 159 agricultural researchers, 138 extension workers and 59 key informants participated in this study. The completed questionnaires were reviewed to determine their usability. Two questionnaires were discarded because they were incomplete. A total 01'295 questionnaires (159 agricultural researchers and 136 extension workers) and 59 recorded interviews were usable. This brought the lotal number ofrespondents to 354. It was observed that KARI and MoARD had adopted a wide variety of ICT tools and services in an effort to facilitate information sharing and exchange among agricultural researchers. extension workers, farmers and other actors involved in research and extension. These ranged from modern ICT based on digital information that included computers, the Internet and emaiL electronic sources. scanners. digital cameras among others. Traditional ICTs based largely on analogue information wa\'Cs included radio VI cassettes, tape recorders, television. video cameras, VCR. telephone. fax (analogue and digital) among others. lt was further established that the Agricultural Information Centre (AIC) had a modern radio studio equipped with professional sound recording equipment and editing suites amongst a variety of other video production facilities. The wide range of leT models adopted addressed the ditTerent kinds of intormation needs and commtmication problems encountered by agricultural researchers. extension workers and fanners. The agricultural researchers and extension workers had a critical need for information that was specific to the nature of their work. In addition. they needed information on agricultural policies and meteorology. The intormation needs of the two categories of respondents were met through the use of print and electronic sources. Agricultural researchers obtained useful infornlation from the Internet and CD-ROM databases with TEEAL database having the most useful information, while the Kenya Agricultural Research Database (KARD) provided useful information on local content. In contrast. the extension workers were disadvantaged as the majority lacked skills and physical access to ICTs. Their information needs were, therefore, met through the use of printed sources of information, and by attendance of meetings, workshops and seminars, Most of the respondents used ICTs to communicate among themselves and also with actors involved in research and extension. The Internet and email was used for consultation purposes, for communicating agricultural information, for research purposes and for collaborative projects with other colleagues. Radio, television and video were used in disseminating agricultural information to the farming community. Mobile phones were found to be a convenient means of communicating short messages. It was observed that use ofICTs had increased the respondents' work productivity and creativity. Information literacy programmes were taking place in the institutions surveyed although at different levels of intensity and continuity. Through the programme most of the respondents had improved their skills on the use of computers. Internet, emaiI and VII electronic sources. The programmes were better coordinated and managed at KARI than the Ministry of agriculture. Although ICTs had facilitated communication of agricultural information among actors involved in research and extension. it was yet to improve the linkage between agricultural researchers and extension workers. For ICTs to be levera~ed in the agricultural sector. it ~ ~ was observed tbat the agricultural researchers and extension workers should work more closely as tbeir activities are interrelated. Each group should play their roles in the multifaceted process of transmitting new knowledge of farm technology to farmers and getting their leedback. An attempt had been made to formulate institutional ICT policies to guide the dilTusion of ICTs at KARl and the Ministry of Agriculture. Implementation of these policies had been hampered by the lack of adequate funds. poor infrastructure and lack of commitment by some of the policy makers. The policies had also failed to address the over-reliance of donor funded projects, capacity building and skill development and to bring institutional changes. It was observed that the Kenya Government had formulated policies to guide liberalization. privatization and tariff reform. These policies had been implemented to a greater extent and had paved the way for the involvement of the private sector in the development of the various sectors of economy in the country. The government was also in the process of formUlating a comprehensive national ICT policy to provide guidelines in the ICT sector. Despite the efforts to expand and modernize lCTs in the agricultural sector, its gro\\1h had been hampered by a number of constraints and challenges. Among them includc inadequate funding; poor infrastructure: inadequate skill development; lack of comprehensive national and institutional ICT policies: lack of monitoring and evaluation system; inadequate provision of ICTs tools and services; poor maintenance, and overreliance of donor funded projects leading to a low level of sustainability. To address these problems requires the intervention and interaction of all the stakeholders in the agricultura~ and ICT sector and also involvement of the government. The study viii recommends the following: improvement of telecommunication inti'astructure and rural electritication: tormulation of comprehensive institutional and national lCT policies: alternative sources of tinance: employment of more IT personnel: comprehensive strategies on lCT skills development: reduction of taxes on lCT tools and services: development of responsive content: development of monitoring and evaluation mechanisms tor lCT projects: improvement of communication between agricultural researchers and extension workers: and adoption of FAO Virtual Extension. Research and Communication Network (VERCON) system to improve the linkage among and between actors involved in research and extension. It is concluded that despite the constraints and challenges encountered in the application and use of lCTs in the agricultural sector. a wide variety of ICTs had been adopted to tacilitate information sharing and exchange among agricultural researchers and extension workers. The application and use of these lCTs have a greater role to play in the context of the changing paradigms in agricultural research and extension. where linear information flows are being replaced by pluralistic information flows. en_US
dc.language.iso en en_US
dc.subject Agricultural information en_US
dc.subject Information communication technologies and agriculture en_US
dc.subject Agricultural information resources, systems and services en_US
dc.title Diffusion of information and communication technologies in communication of Agricultural information among agricultural researchers and extension workers in Kenya en_US
dc.type Thesis en_US

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