Comparative Study of Peri-Urban and Rural Agricultural Knowledge Management

COMPARATIVE STUDY OF PERI-URBAN AND RURAL AGRICULTURAL KNOWLEDGE MANAGEMENT: A CASE STUDY OF SMALLHOLDER HORTICULTURAL PRODUCERS IN DAGORETTI AND MBOONI DISTRICTS, KENYA

 by Dorine Adhiambo Odongo

 

Abstract

Farmers continuously acquire and gather new knowledge to keep with the emerging trends and technologies in the sector to realise increased outputs, and they also store and share this knowledge. This study investigated these processes in the smallholder farmer set up and extent of ICT usage for these processes and compared the peri-urban and rural settings in Kenya. 

A semi-structured questionnaire was administered to a sample of 200 smallholder farmers obtained using the simple random technique in Dagoretti and Mbooni districts. Two focus group discussions were held in each district comprising between 10 to 20 farmers each. 16 extension agents were interviewed in both settings. Data was subjected to analysis using the IBM-SPSS software version20 to obtain descriptive and inferential statistics, statistical significance set at 5%. There are eight main sources of knowledge for the farmers in both settings; there is a significant difference in percentage of farmers using each of these sources, as influenced by the specific information needs. These sources include government extension agents, NGO extension agents, farmer associations, input suppliers, private commercial companies, neighbours, farmer magazines and tacit knowledge. The main approaches used by extension agents for knowledge dissemination include face to face interaction and mobile phones. ICT usage for knowledge management differs significantly in Dagoretti and Mbooni for specific ICT types including radio, mobile phones, television and internet. Radio is the ICT type used by most farmers in both settings to acquire agricultural knowledge, while Television and internet use are more popular in the peri-urban setting than in the rural setting. 

A significant percentage of farmers cite inconsistency and inconvenient timing of programmes as one of the reasons hindering their access to the radio programmes. Use of mobile phones for knowledge acquisition is still low despite the development of mobile based technologies which enable knowledge acquisition, due to lack of information about the technologies. Setting, based on types of crops grown, information needs and infra-structure are important factors which influence use of ICT for knowledge management among the small holder farmers. Despite the increased use of mobile phones across Kenya, the results reveal that farmers in Mbooni and Dagoretti districts mostly use their mobile phones just for sharing purposes as opposed to acquisition of advisory services. There is need to create more awareness and training in ICT use, to enable successful adoption and use of the technologies.

Key words: Knowledge management, Information and communication Technologies, horticultural smallholders