Impact of ICT on agricultural extension services delivery: evidence from the Catholic Relief Services SMART skills and Farmbook project in Kenya*

Joyous S. Tata, Paul E. McNamara

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Purpose: The study was carried out to assess the impact of the Catholic Relief Services (CRS) Skills for Marketing and Rural Transformation (SMART) skills and Farmbook information communication technology (ICT) on agricultural extension service delivery by front-line extension officers in two counties in Kenya. The second objective was to assess the effect of socioeconomic factors on the use of this technology and its impact on extension service delivery as well as to assess the challenges faced by extension officers adopting this technology in Kenya. Design/methodology/approach: Randomized survey data were collected through structured questionnaires in May 2013, March 2015, and November 2015 from 60 participants. STATA was used for descriptive and multivariate analysis. Findings: Extension officers using the CRS SMART skills and Farmbook technology worked with significantly higher numbers of farmer groups than officers in the control group. Socioeconomic factors like gender, age, and education had an impact on the use of the technology and on extension service delivery. Absent farm records, low farmer literacy, software malfunction, and insufficient technical support were listed as some challenges faced in using the technology. Practical implications: There is a need for government investment to improve extension service delivery with supplementary ICTs. Theoretical implications: This study sheds more light on the important role of ICTs in agricultural extension service delivery, particularly extension officers’ experiences with ICTs. Originality/Value: Farmbook is a novel ICT tool for agricultural extension developed by CRS and was field tested in East Africa in collaboration with University of Illinois’ Modernizing Extension and Advisory Services (MEAS) program. This technology has great potential in improving extension delivery.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)89-110
Number of pages22
JournalJournal of Agricultural Education and Extension
Volume24
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2018

Keywords

  • CRS
  • Farmbook
  • Kenya
  • extension officers
  • field presence
  • information and communication technologies
  • professional development

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Education
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)

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