Integration of mobile phones offers incredible opportunities to share agricultural information. Being one of the ICT tools currently used in extension science, evaluating its impact on agricultural production remains crucial. This study particularly focused on the medium scale farmers who are employed by the formal sector and mostly stay in urban areas. As a result, these lack direct contact with rural extension officers. The study was conducted in Uasin-Gishu, Nyeri and Embu Counties, where mobile phone application initiatives have been piloted. A sample of 220 farmers was selected through systematic random sampling. Afterwards, a survey was conducted to evaluate access to extension, ownership of mobile phones, communication pathways preferred and implementation of disseminated information among the participants. Primary data were collected using semi-structured questions. Descriptive statistics were used to analyze data. Results showed that all farmers owned mobile phones. Out of these, 97% of the farmers from Uasin-Gishu, 100% from Nyeri and 84% from Embu were able to use their phones to access information. Short Message Services (SMS) was the most preferred means of sharing information. Further, 43% of the respondents implemented information on how to diversify farming, 26.2% of the farmers implemented information on post-harvesting techniques, 42% and 30% of the farmers implemented information on sales timing and consumer trends respectively. Hence, to reach a large audience of farmers, phone based applications such as esoko should be built on free social networks like Facebook and information shared in SMS format.
Date of publication:
RUFORUM Working document series