David Wakhata added:
Basing on the current situation of extension in Uganda, farmer are many in that they do not equally benefit from a few expansionists(case of Mbale) despite the current effort by the government of Uganda to improve extension service. The technology have come up and some people,organizations and projects are using such technologies specifically electronic media including mobile phones to ensure that farmers access extension services.But most of the farmers are in rural areas where access to the media and or the use of the phone is cumbersome. to areas where it is accessible, farmers are to busy with farm work (women mostly, who in turn do most of the farm work). field experiences shows;Cultural prejudice continue to be used by men to control women,Insecurity of some men when their wives’ voices are frequently aired on the radio (either as star or radio farmers), Lack of capacity by the actors to identify and integrate gender in media work, African women seem to fear their husbands rather than respecting them so it is not easy to conduct interviews in presences of their husbands, Sometimes, male presenters on the radio get excited (sometimes use ‘inappropriate’ words) when females call in and this seems to annoy and discourage their husbands from allowing their wives to call in. in addition,Targeting women alone has failed in the past – A case of a project which targeted women for maize and beans and trained them to plant beans and maize in lines. When the women had just planted the maize alone and were about to plant the beans in lines too, the men came by and complained that the women were wasting the land and they broadcasted the beans in the maize,Some social groups like Muslims may not allow women to freely interact with men,and Women are over whelmed with domestic work.
The first issue is, who provides this information in the media? what is their expertise level on topic presented? Do they offer this information free? I have listened to a presenter offering extension advice on maize production in my country and a listener asked how to identify seed maize from grain maize. The presenter advised the listener to buy seed from a shop and not open market. The question is, how different are the traders in shops from those selling in open market? This is confusing the vulnerable farmers and exposing them to exploitation by unscrupulous dealers . Electronic media is very good for extension services but has to be provided by experts and should offer space for question and answers, which must be addressed by experts. Otherwise, the vulnerable farmer will remain exploited and poor.
the effectiveness of the technology used in Agriculture extension mainly depend on accessibility of technology and then other factors in context to effective communication process. Country in which having higher technological literacy for use technological devices like mobile phones, Radio. Computers would get benefits over who do not have it. Evidence in my country on access to information via mobile once they need dialing to Agricultural extension service center has been shown effective mechanism. nevertheless, technological advantages is not much close to those developing country where Agriculture being dominating in poor rural areas and even less access to technology.
Recommendations for better integration of gender
Elizabeth Asiimwe posted: 'With the wide ratio of extension workers to farmers( which is about 1:2500) in my country, technology ICT really comes in handy. For example there is a program called the grameen foundation which offers a mobile telephone service platform where farmers call in and ask questions. It has community knowledge workers who are given phones with an app(not internet based) that bears information ranging from crops, livestock to inputs etc. Of late it has partnered with a seed company( Victoria seeds limited) to improve service delivery. In my opinion, such an innovative approach can help close the gap brought about by the wide ratio of ext workers to farmers. The challenge however is: are farmers willing to meet the cost of aritime to call in or trek the long distance to the ckw's residence?'
In South Africa the government (Dept of Agriculture) has joined hands with the Private Sector (Manstrat) in developing a decision support system (called Extension Suite Online or ESO) as an information and capacity building system for government extension officers (3 600 extensionists has access to the system). It is internet based and accessible via computers, laptops, tablets or smart phones and provides Extension Officers / Advisors with information and expertise when and where needed most – namely on the farms during consultation with their farmers. ESO has been implemented with great success for past 6 years. It provides extensive range of continuously updated information – e.g. technical / production information (more than 100 crops; full range of small and large livestock types and breeds); economic information; daily updated market data; geo-referenced environmental information, etc. It is a good example of how ICT is used to improve extension service delivery and how the private sector and government work together towards improved extension.
My name is Steve Asiema and I am the CEO of AfroCloud Technologies, a local technology company based in Kenya. AfroCloud specializes in online platforms that serve as a resopurce that bring multiple stakeholders together to either share knowledge, have forums, conduct e-commerce or training modules.
Our platform can be accessed through smartphones or simple tablets. We also create content that can be accessed online where there may not be internet connectivity. We work with stakeholders to transorm content into digital format so it can be easily shared across different partners for example extension workers. If this sounds like something that can assist in achieve the goals you described, I would be happy to discuss your particular case and tailor a program that suits your needs. Feel free to reach out to me on the contacts below if you have any other queries. Thank you.
Mobile +1-845-430-7848 / +254-707-645-768