07 Oct

Publication: “ICT Integration for Agricultural Extension in Kenya”(Kamande A W, Ruffeis D, 2018)


Abstract: The large number of farmers served by a small and shrinking national extension service necessitates more innovative methods of service delivery for effective coverage. This led to the introduction of the national e-extension service. For the same reason, the number of private and non-governmental organizations providing ICT based solutions for agricultural information delivery are ever increasing. Agriculture focused websites from which extension workers can get information demanded by farmers are also on the increase. Mobile applications and social media platforms are envisaged to be among the platforms that can be used for information dissemination. These are expected to give timely and useful information on best practise, input supply, markets/prices among others to enable farmers to reap maximally from their enterprise. Although an initial 654 extension workers were trained and equipped with necessary gadgets in the hope that county governments would add more workers to these, this has not been the case. Conversely, numbers of extension workers continue to decline while the sector contends with reduced budgetary allocation in counties. Morale is low among extension workers and ICT infrastructure inadequate. Frequent blackouts, low ICT literacy among farmers and lack of requisite gadgets also stifles the integration of ICTs into national extension systems. A holistic approach to all these challenges is needed to tap the immense potential of e-extension in Kenya and Africa as a whole.