Use of Information Communication Technologies in Conservation Agriculture Knowledge Pathways Among Smallholder Farmers in Machakos and Laikipia Counties, Kenya

The low integration of emerging Information Communication Technologies (ICTs) in Agricultural knowledge systems is a challenge to the timely provision of extension services to farmers. The main objective of this study was to analyse the use of ICTs for Conservation Agriculture knowledge among smallholder farmers in Machakos and Laikipia counties, Kenya. While a number of studies have investigated agriculture knowledge sharing systems, limited literature exists on conservation agriculture knowledge sharing systems. This study applied three theoretical frameworks, the knowledge systems framework, the social network theory and diffusion of innovation theory to understand how conservation agriculture knowledge is shared. The overall objective of this study was to examine how ICTs are used to enhance conservation agriculture knowledge sharing among smallholder farmers. Specifically, the study (i) determined the knowledge sources and pathways used for conservation agriculture knowledge sharing (ii) established how Actor positioning affects conservation agriculture knowledge sharing; and (iii) described the use of different ICTs for conservation agriculture knowledge sharing. The study used a mixed methods research design using a cross-sectional household survey, key informant interviews and focus group discussions for data collection. Data were collected from 300 survey respondents, 28 key informants and five focus group discussions. Results indicated that, knowledge pathways were not mutually exclusive, but integrated for optimal conservation agriculture knowledge sharing. The use of ICTs was low and limited to the basic ones. An analysis of the knowledge network indicated that although the network size was 1892, there were only 226 active ties, with a low density of 12%. Measures of centrality indicated that positions of influence were occupied by three actors, the farmer, Laikipia and Machakos counties out of a total of 44 Actors signifying a fragmented network. ICT Actors occupied periphery positions, indicating their minor role in the network. Land under CA, accessibility to communication networks, education and costs associated with the use of ICTs were significant predictors for the use of ICTs for conservation agriculture knowledge. A key output from this study is the Conservation Agriculture ICT knowledge sharing framework, recommended for the integration of emerging ICTs implemented at two levels, in terms of use of ICT tools at the institutional level and integration of ICT capacities of the different institutions involved in the promotion of the conservation agriculture practice
Date of publication: 
Region Focus: 
East Africa
RUFORUM Theses and Dissertations
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Dr. Haroon Sseguya; Florence Birungi Kayzee
Web resource
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