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University of Fort Hare (2020)

The use of information and communication technologies in agricultural development in rural areas : Case of smallholder farmers in Umzimvubu Local Municipality

Makaula, Zimasa

Titre : The use of information and communication technologies in agricultural development in rural areas : Case of smallholder farmers in Umzimvubu Local Municipality

Auteur : Makaula, Zimasa

Université de soutenance : University of Fort Hare

Grade : M Agric (Agric Extension) 2020

Résumé
Proper and timeous communication amongst different social development participants is one of the main driving factors for successful human progress. Different platforms have been used by different industries across the globe to ensure that useful information is shared with relevant structures at appropriate times. The global increase on use and availability of Information Communication Technologies (ICT’s) has prompted a thorough analysis and study of their relevance on different industries. Much of the increase has been observed mainly on highly urbanized areas, where the majority of the population is literate and who are above the poverty line. Some researchers have argued that the language used in some of the ICT’s is limited to the elite few, while others highlight cost implications in the use of these ICTs. The agricultural industry is not immune to the debates that relate to the development of ICTs, it is in most cases at the center, due to its diverse nature (in terms of participation) and close linkage to human development. There seems to be a correlation between ICT usage and the economies of scale in agricultural development, where smallholder farmers tend to use less of highly modernized ICTs, while commercial large scale farmers use more of the modernized ICTs. This disparity amongst farmers is exacerbated in many areas by the differing support systems employed by the public extension services. This study was initiated in order to study the usage and relevance of the ICTs by the smallholder farmers of the Umzimvubu Local Municipality of the Eastern Cape Province in South Africa. The research address the following research questions : 1. Which ICTs are owned by smallholder farmers of Umzimvubu local municipality ? 2. Do smallholder farmers use ICTs to communicate agricultural information ? 3. What are the types of ICT devices and services used by smallholder farmers for vi agricultural development ? 4. What are the challenges faced by smallholder farmers when using ICTs to communicate agricultural information ? A survey questionnaire was then developed to collect the relevant data from randomly selected six villages of Umzimvubu Local Municipality. The questionnaires structure employed both closed and open-ended questions that were administered using a face to face interview, conducted on the sample population in each village.

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