Challenges of using information and communication technologies to disseminate agricultural information to farmers in Sudan
Dissemination of agricultural information is important to ensure farmers have adequate knowledge and skills to address their needs and sustain production. Although research has been done to improve agricultural productivity in Sudan, performance of the agriculture sector continues to decline. Inadequate dissemination of agricultural information is thought to have contributed to the reduction of agricultural productivity, economic performance, food security and loss of bio-diversity in Sudan. The purpose of this study was to determine the challenges of using ICTs to disseminate agricultural information. The study used an ex-post facto research design. The research was conducted in Gezira State which is the most agriculturally productive state in Sudan. The state of Gezira has an estimated population of about 60,952 farmers. Data was obtained from a random sample of 120 farmers attained through proportionate stratified random sampling. Data was analysed using Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) software verson11.5. Frequencies, means and percentages were used for descriptive statistics, while Chi-Square test was used as an inferential statistic at 5% level of significance. The study findings indicated that ICTs used to disseminate agricultural information by researchers in Gezira state are radio, TV, mobile phone, print media, Internet and other types including field days, Farmers School, seminars, training, workshops, meetings, extension convoys and personal contacts. The results also indicated that cost of transmission, poor infrastructure, illiteracy, culture and limited technical skills are the challenges hindering transmission of agricultural information. The study established that socio economic and cultural challenges significantly affected the use of ICTs in dissemination of agricultural information as indicated by significance levels of 0.013 and 0.028 respectively. The findings further indicated that technical constraints affected the use of ICTs for disseminating agricultural information as indicated by a significance level of 0.003 that is less than the alpha level. In conclusion, among the ICTs the most appropriate for dissemination of agricultural information in Gezira state is the radio. However, the dissemination processes faced cultural, technical and socio economic challenges.
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