Perceived Effects of Use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) on Rural Farmers' Knowledge in Orlu Agricultural Zone, Imo State.

Author:Tijjani, Abu Rimi


Knowledge management can play a pivotal role in enhancing agricultural productivity and addressing the problem of food insecurity. If properly managed, it enables appropriate knowledge and information to reach knowledge intermediaries and smallholder farmers in a timely manner. Such delivery of knowledge and information undoubtedly minimizes the risk and uncertainty smallholder farmers face from production to marketing of their produce (UNDP, 2012). But to effectively engage in agricultural knowledge management, adequate mechanisms are needed for generating, capturing, and disseminating knowledge and information through the use of effective processes and institutional arrangements.

Sources of agricultural knowledge include scientific research and indigenous knowledge. After the creation, sourcing or accumulation of knowledge, the knowledge has to be disseminated to users to support the innovation process. Information and communication technology (ICT) can play a critical role in facilitating rapid, efficient, and cost effective knowledge management. This means that communication plays an important role in the agricultural sector. According to (Plantwise in UNDP, 2012), technological innovation is becoming increasingly important in agricultural development and productivity. Mobile ICTs (information and communication technologies) are one such innovation and provide a more efficient and cost-effective method for sharing and exchanging knowledge more widely. ICTs provide farmers with access to important information, such as pest and disease reports, weather conditions, and market prices, and can also improve communication between farmers and extensions workers who are unable to visit farmers as often as both parties would like. Enhancing communication between farmers, extension workers, researchers, and policy makers is essential to the improvement of agricultural efficiency.

Knowledge management can be defined as the fact or condition of knowing something with a considerable degree of familiarity acquired through experience, association or contact. Knowledge consists of the attitudes, cumulative experiences, and developed skills that enable a person to consistently, systematically and effectively perform a function (UNDP, 2012). It is an integration of explicit and tacit knowledge. Explicit knowledge refers to all aspects of formal, systematic, recorded, communicated and shared knowledge that is made accessible through a variety of information delivery systems. Tacit knowledge on the other hand is highly personal, created by doing, trial, error, reflection and revision.

Knowledge management encompasses processes and practices concerned with the creation, acquisition, sharing and use of knowledge, skills and expertise and follow a circular flow and a nonstop process that continuously updates itself. Knowledge management deals with the process of capturing, sharing and using of knowledge and techniques .For the circular flow of knowledge management to take place both knowledge, that is sufficiently better than the existing knowledge, and means for transmitting it must be both available. In addition, the consumers of knowledge must be willing and able to use the better knowledge that is now available.

Knowledge is considered as the fourth production factor after labor, land and capital (AFAAS, 2011) and is particularly critical in the agricultural sector. Making relevant knowledge accessible to the farming community helps improve production, productivity and brings higher returns. If the agricultural practice of smallholders is not backed up by modern agricultural knowledge and information, agricultural households are likely to remain trapped in low productivity, food insecurity. This is because agriculture is the mainstay of the Nigerian economy and underpins its development process. It is a sector with great potential for stimulating growth and employment and eradicating poverty. Because of its importance to national food security and poverty reduction, the government has, within the Growth and Transformation Plan Agenda (GTP), articulated a clear vision for the sector, placing it at the center aim to stimulate investment and productivity

Information and communication technologies (ICTs) play...

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