Potential of Information and Communication Technologies in Promoting Access to Livestock Information: Perceptions of Urban Livestock Keepers in Tanzania

Potential of Information and Communication Technologies in Promoting Access to Livestock Information: Perceptions of Urban Livestock Keepers in Tanzania

Consolata Angello
DOI: 10.4018/IJICTHD.2015040102
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A study was conducted to investigate the extent of use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) by urban livestock keepers. This paper discusses the perceptions of small scale livestock keepers towards the use of different types of ICTs in accessing livestock information. Mixed method approach was used whereby quantitative and qualitative data was gathered. The findings of this study revealed that most of the respondents had a positive opinion towards the use of ICTs and it was concluded that urban livestock keepers perceived ICTs as important tools for accessing livestock information. The study recommended for improvement of telecommunications services through relevant bodies in order to facilitate more access to information through use of ICTs. Information networking among urban livestock keepers and the introduction of livestock information centers were also recommended for enhanced access to livestock information.
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The management of information in recent years has been made easier due to several advances in Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs). There has been an enormous amount of information that is being generated and this information need to be organized, stored and disseminated in such a way that the information is secure, and easy to retrieve. The various types of information that are being generated also need to be accessed by all targeted individuals so that these individuals can benefit from the information. This process of information handling and dissemination has been made possible through various ICTs. Information and Communication Technology (ICT) can generally be defined as the application of modern technology in creation, management and use of information (Teraro and Braun, 2009). Greenberg (2005) also defines ICT as any electronic means of capturing, processing, storing and disseminating information. According to May et al (2007), ICT can be thought of as an integrated system that incorporates the technology and infrastructure required to store, manipulate, deliver and transmit information, the legal and economic institutions required to regulate ICT access and usage, and the social and inter-personal structures which allow information to be shared, facilitate access to the ICT infrastructure, and through which innovation takes place.

Globally, ICTs have been used in various sectors including banking, education, healthcare, governance and agriculture. CTA (2009) reports that in Africa, ICTs have a very great potential in enhancing access to agricultural information hence improving the agricultural sector. According to Munyua (2008), ICTs can be effective means of disseminating to communities huge amounts of relevant information on markets, technology, prices, successful experiences, credit facilities, government services and policies, weather, crop, livestock and natural resource protection. Modern ICTs could play a major role in communicating knowledge and information to agricultural communities, delivering education modules, accessing inputs, markets and market prices, credit, conducting business, facilitating networking and strengthening partnerships, scaling up inter-linkages of development interventions and increasing agricultural productivity. Media such as the Internet, web-based means, mobile telephony and computer-mediated networks among others are being used in a number of initiatives in Africa to provide development solutions.Various studies have indicated that ICTs have been used for accessing agricultural information in some East African countries including Kenya and Uganda (Ferris, 2004; Kiplagat, 2009; Gantt and Cantor, 2010; (Karamagi and Nalumansi, 2009). But to what extent are these ICTs used by urban and peri-urban livestock keepers in Tanzania and what are their perceptions on the usefulness of these ICTs? This is the major point of discussion in this paper.

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