Analysis of the Use of Information and Communication Technologies among Farmers in Tole District, South West Shewa Zone, Oromia Regional State, Ethiopia

Analysis of the Use of Information and Communication Technologies among Farmers in Tole District, South West Shewa Zone, Oromia Regional State, Ethiopia

Dereje Derso (Madawalabu University, Bale-Robe, Ethiopia), Yared Mammo (Haramaya University, Haramaya, Ethiopia) and Jema Haji (Haramaya University, Haramaya, Ethiopia)
DOI: 10.4018/jictrda.2012070101
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Abstract

Currently agricultural sector is the main sector of the economy in Ethiopia. Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) have been changing the way that actors like researchers, development agents, policy makers, and farmers share agricultural information and knowledge. Particularly, farmers have started to use ICT to get agricultural information and knowledge, despite a number of challenges. Therefore, this study attempted to assess and analyze factors influencing the use of Information and Communication Technologies by farmers in Tole District of South West Shewa Zone, Ethiopia. Data were collected (n=144) from 144 randomly selected respondents from Tole District, of which 69 were ICT user farmers and 75 of them were non users of ICT. The study deployed mixed methods research. Descriptive statistics were used to analyze data. Qualitative data were analyzed through interpretation, narration, and finally complement the descriptive analysis. The key finding of this study revealed that the social, economic and institutional factors were identified in study as factors in using ICT by farmers in the study area. The survey results revealed that age, sex, education status and distance from nearby market have influence on use of ICT in agricultural extension by farmers. The findings also revealed that Radio, Television, mobile phone, fixed phone, and written materials were easily accessed by majority of both users and non users of ICT. The study recommends concerned stakeholders and partners found at different levels should attempt to address those factors influencing the use of ICT among farmers. This study recommends that policymakers at different levels should recognize that farmers are using ICT in addition to traditional ICT like Radio and TV. Hence, this fact should be taken as an input for policy formation of ICT in agriculture and rural development in particular and for its usability among farmers.
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3. Conceptual Framework Of The Study

A number of related literatures were reviewed to reveal factors influencing the use of ICTs in agricultural extension. Literature review on concept of ICTs use in agricultural extension indicated that use of ICTs by farmers are influenced by overall institutional issues, social issues and economic issues in rural areas. Based on literature reviews and the researcher’s observation in the study area, potential determinants which were assumed important in influencing use of ICTs among farmers in agricultural extension were identified as: social factors, institutional factors and economic factors. Therefore, the researchers try to identify and analyze relationships among factors influencing use of ICTs by farmers and also try to find out the accessible ICTs tools by farmers in the study districts. It is portrayed in Figure 1.

Figure 1.

Conceptual framework of the study

4. Research Methodology

4.1. Data Types and Data Sources

This study deployed mixed methods research, hence used both quantitative and qualitative methods. For this study quantitative data were collected from households using interview schedule (questionnaire). Qualitative data were collected using focus group discussions, personal observation, formal and informal discussions with key informants and semi-structured interview of sample respondents.

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