Factors Influencing the Use of Mobile Phones in Communicating Agricultural Information: A Case of Kilolo District, Iringa, Tanzania
|Author(s)||Siwel Yohakim Nyamba, Malongo R.S. Mlozi|
|Issue Date||July, 2012|
|Publishing Date||July, 2012|
|Keywords||Mobile phones, Agricultural information rural-Tanzania|
This study sought to investigate factors influencing the use of mobile phones in communicating agricultural information in Rural Tanzania. Generally, it aimed at addressing the following questions: (1) in what ways do farmers make use of mobile phone technologies to meet their agricultural information needs? (2) How the uses of the mobile phones enable farmers to confront the challenges they face in their farming business? (3) What are the farmersí attitudes toward the use of mobile phone technology? Specifically, the study had three objectives: (1) to determine the extent of ownership of mobile phones by farmers in the study area. (2) to assess the type of agricultural information that farmers send and or receive using mobile phones and (3) to identify socio-economic factors influencing the use of mobile phones in the communication of agricultural information in the study area. A cross-sectional research design and simple random sampling technique were adopted, 384 respondents and 16 key informants were contacted for interview and Focus Group Discussion, respectively. Data collected were summarize, coded before being analyzed using a Statistical Package for Social Science (SPSS). The study found that, asymmetry information generates uncertainties in farming business which eventually limit the economic potential of farmers as market participants. Basically, the study results, can be interpreted that, mobile phone technology acceptance to rural Tanzania was high enough for one to accompany it with a predictable positive economic impact. In terms of access to agricultural information through mobile phones, it was evident that, people in the study area capture the advantages of increased number of mobile phone to access information related to their farming business. Most of respondents valued mobile phones as easy, fast and convenient way of communicating agricultural information. Factors that influenced mobile phone use in communicating agricultural information included mole phone ownership, type of agricultural information to be communicated, farming system practiced, network coverage, and respondentsí socio-economic characteristics. On the other hand, lack of electricity, poverty and lack of knowledge limited respondentsí mobile phone ownership and use.