RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN SOCIO ECONOMIC FACTORS AND USE OF INFORMATION AND COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGIES IN MARKETING OF FARM PRODUCE BY FARMERS IN MANGA SUB-COUNTY, NYAMIRA COUNTY, KENYA

ABSTRACT
Limited access to accurate and timely market information continues to be a major impediment in the marketing of farm produce by farmers in Manga Sub-County, Nyamira County, Kenya. This limited access to market information has led to high cost of marketing and emergence of middlemen. Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) have the potential to assist in addressing this problem by creating awareness, linking and distributing information on marketing. It is evident that farmers in Kenya have focused their attention in acquisition of ICT resources because of widespread coverage of mobile telephony, low call rates, affordable data bundles, increasing internet connectivity and other forms of ICTs applications for example the M-pesa services and use of ICTs in marketing farm produce. This study aimed to determine the relationship between socio economic factors and the use of ICTs in marketing of farm produce by farmers in Manga Sub-County in Nyamira County, Kenya. The purpose of the study was to examine the relationship between socio economic factors and the use of ICTs in marketing farm produce by farmers in Manga Sub-County. Descriptive research design was adopted in the study. The target population of the study was 11,040 farmers in Manga Sub-County, from whom a sample size of 109 farmers was selected using stratified random sampling technique. A questionnaire administered to farmers in the Sub-County was used to collect data. Validity of the instrument was enhanced by subjecting the instrument to examination by three experts in the Department of Agricultural Education and Extension of Egerton University. Analysis of piloting results using Cronbach‟s coefficient alpha method yielded a reliability index of 0.896, indicating the instrument was reliable. The collected data were analysed using both descriptive and inferential statistics. The descriptive statistics used were the frequency and percentages. Pearson‟s correlation coefficient was used to test the hypotheses. Statistical Package for the Social Sciences was used in data analysis. The hypotheses were tested at a significance level of 0.05. Findings of the study identified that the farmer‟s level of education influences the use of ICTs in marketing farm produce, training of farmers in ICTs increases the use of ICTs in marketing of farm produce, access to ICT resources had a significant influence on the use of ICTs in marketing of farm produce and access to extension services had a significant influence on the use of ICTs in marketing of farm produce by farmers in Manga Sub-County. This study recommends that The County Directorate of Agriculture should organise training programmes on use of ICTs in marketing. It, also, recommends that The county Government should set up tele-centres with information on agricultural marketing.

CHAPTER ONE
INTRODUCTION
Background of the Study
Agriculture plays an important role in the world economy (FAO, 2010). It provides sixty per cent of all employment in Africa, with seventy to eighty per cent of the total population living in rural areas and being dependent mainly on crop and livestock farming for livelihood. In Kenya, agriculture contributes twenty six per cent of the country‟s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) (GoK, 2010a). For decades, agriculture has been associated with the production of essential food crops.

Marketing of farm produce in western countries has broadly evolved from traditional street markets to the modern hypermarket or out-of-town shopping center. Rural assembly markets are located in production areas and primarily serve as places where farmers can meet with traders to sell their products. These may be occasional (perhaps weekly) markets, such as haat bazaars in India and Nepal, or permanent (Tracey & White, 2003). Marketing of farm produce differ worldwide due to the level of development in the particular country, economically and technologically (Kaynak, 1999). Further Kaynak, (1999) noted that understanding and interpreting a particular countries food marketing techniques also requires taking into account the socio-economic, cultural, legal-political and technological environment of that country.

In Africa, marketing of farm produce is personalized in farms or village markets. Such village markets, however, tend to offer low prices and are characterized by significant price variation (Aker, 2008; Fafchamps & Gabre-Madhin, 2006). Linking farmers to markets remains a major challenge in Africa, and is associated with the lack of commercialization in the continent (Barrett, 2008; Poulton, Doward & Kydd, (2006). According to Poulton et al., (2008), farmer‟s sell their produce in local markets usually in small volumes. This has given rise to thriving business for intermediaries. The intermediaries collect and bulk produce from farmers and sell them to urban brokers. The urban broker then sells to urban traders, which could be wholesalers or retailers. This has led to limited access to accurate market information. Marketing of farm produce in many developing countries remains severely constrained by poor access to agricultural/market information (Shephard, 1997; Barrett & Carter, 2013). This limited access to market information limit farmers to subsistence farming and prevent them from adopting profitable production alternatives and keeps them supplying low-paying marketing outlets (Ashraf, Gine & Karlan, 2006). Most small scale farmers are engaged in subsistence and semi-subsistence agriculture with low productivity, low marketable surplus (hence low returns) and low investment, a situation described as low equilibrium poverty trap (Barrett & Swallow, 2006; Barrett, 2008).

In Kenya, marketing chains for different farm produce are long, not transparent and consist of many players making them inefficient and unresponsive to farmer‟s needs (GoK, 2010a). Information search increases the transaction costs, making the cost of doing marketing unaffordable to majority of farmers (Shiferaw, Obare & Muricho, 2007). Farmers respond to the high cost of marketing by selling their farm produce at the farm gates, rather than travelling to the market where they could get better prices (Fafchamps & Hill, 2005). Most buyers physically inspect the produce when buying because there are no well-defined quality grades and standards in such markets. In the absence of market information, opportunistic behaviour by traders and other market actors tends to develop. Such behaviour encompasses cheating on quality and quantity which in turn results into the failure of traders to establish long-term business relations with farmers (Fafchamps & Gabre-Madhin, 2006). The right of access to markets or factories presents complexities in marketing of farm produce. One approach to improve marketing of farm produce and to curb information poverty is use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) in marketing of farm produce, (Shepherd, 2007).

Modern communications technologies open up the possibility for market information services to improve information delivery through short message service (SMS) on cell phones and the rapid growth of FM radio stations in many developing countries offers the possibility of more localised information services, (Andrew & Shepherd, 1997). In the longer run, the internet may become an effective way of delivering information to farmers. According to DeMaagd and Moore 2006; Shivakumar, (2007) noted that E-Choupal and its rural Internet kiosks, between 2000 and 2007, the agribusiness division of Innovative Technology Centres (ITC) Limited set up 6,400 Internet kiosks called e-Choupals in nine Indian states, reaching about 38,000 villages and 4 million farmers. ITC establishes an Internet facility in a village and appoints and trains an operator (sanchalak) from among the farmers in the village. The sanchalak operates the computer to enable farmers to get free information on local and global market prices, weather, and farming practices. It also improves price transparency.

According to Kofi, (2007) Trade Net, a Ghana-based trading platform, allows users to sign up for SMS alerts for commodities and markets of their choice and receive instant alerts for offers to buy or sell as soon as anyone else on the network has submitted an offer on their mobile phone. Users can also request and receive real-time prices for more than 80 commodities from 400 markets across West Africa. Farmers can advertise their farm produce and offers on free Web sites with their own Internet addresses.

According to Payne (2011), a private for-profit company called, (Manobi, Inc), has developed a range of mobile and web-based applications focused on improving weaknesses in agricultural value chains in Senegal, Mali, Ivory Coast and Niger. Time to Market (T2M) application enables farmers to check market prices on their mobile phones via Short Messaging Service (SMS), Wireless Application Protocol (WAP), Multimedia Messaging Service (MMS) or mobile internet. International Telecommunication Union (2010) mid-term review reported that Manobi provides access to price data on various crops collected from different markets across the country. Manobi personnel use mobile phones to send the price data to the Manobi database using (WAP). In Zambia, widespread adoption of ICTs has been particularly slow in development (Nchimunya, 2012). Mwenechanya (2007) argued that lack of adoption and usage of ICTs can make the economy less competitive and lose out on the potential profit margins and recommended the need for country‟s promotion of use of ICTs.

In Kenya, ICTs like e-mails, World Wide Web (WWW) and cellular telephony have been used by rural farmers alongside radios and Televisions (Farrell, 2007). Use of ICTs encompasses innovative ways of capturing, processing, storing, and displaying information and is capable of increasing productivity and marketing through information provision (Mangesi, 2010). ICTs can improve market access by facilitating communication with customers, competitive positioning, enable information acquisition and production of quality products, generation of market information, reduction in logistic costs, facilitating access to global markets, facilitating market research, networking, market transactions and market identification (Kiveu & Ofafa, 2013). Among the ICTs used by farmers the mobile phones emerge as the preferred ICT tool due to affordability, ease of use, and a reliable network. According to the quarterly sector statistics report by the Communication Authority of Kenya (CAK), at the end of the first quarter of the year 2016, mobile penetration stood at 88.1% with 37.8 million subscribers up from 36.1 million in the previous quarter (Communication Authority of Kenya, 2016).

Farming is the main occupation in Manga Sub-County and is the major source of income. The major enterprises in the Sub-County include tea, coffee, maize, dairy, horticulture and poultry. Most farm produce are sold in the local market or to the middle men who sell the produce to markets outside the Sub-County (Agribusiness Annual Report, 2014). The area is characterized by limited factories for farm produce. In Manga Sub-County, available ICTs already in use to improve marketing of farm produce include the use of popular social sites such as face-book, twitter and WhatsApp. Some farmers are already using mobile phones, FM radio stations, internet among other ICTs to access market information and advertise their produce. Use of such ICTs can address the constraint of market spaces, high marketing costs, and use of intermediaries to reach more potential customers as they have done in other parts of the country.

Rathgeber and Adera (2000) and Bartholomew, Wainwright & Green, (2009) noted that although ICTs have enhanced information exchange amongst farmers and improved farmers‟ ability to make decisions, develop ideas and consequently improve their livelihoods through better marketing, its use in agricultural marketing still poses serious challenges and low adoption. The use of ICTs in marketing farm produce could be influenced by various socio- economic factors, cultural, technological factors and access to extension services. Socio economic factors being; level of education of farmers, training farmers in ICTs and access to ICT resources. Little is known about the influence of socio-economic factors and access to extension services on use of ICTs in marketing farm produce. The present study aimed to fill this gap by examining the relationship between socio-economic factors and use of ICTs in marketing farm produce by farmers in Manga Sub County.

Statement of the Problem
Farmers in Manga Sub-County have experienced problems in marketing their farm produce due to limited access to accurate and timely market information. One strategy of improving farmers‟ access to market information is integration of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) in marketing of farm produce. Use of ICTs in marketing of farm produce could be influenced by many factors such as socio-economic, cultural, technological factors and access to extension services. The study singled out the level of education of farmers, training farmers in ICTs, access to ICT resources and access to extension services. There is limited information on the relationship between socio-economic factors and the use of ICTs in marketing farm produce in the study area. This study sought to fill this gap by investigating on the relationship between socio-economic factors and use of ICTs in marketing of farm produce by farmers in Manga Sub-County.

Purpose of the Study
The purpose of the study was to examine the relationship between socio economic factors and access to extension services on the use of ICTs in marketing farm produce by farmers in Manga Sub-County.

Objectives of the Study
The following were the objectives of study:

i. To document the socio-economic characteristics of farmers in Manga Sub-County.

ii. To determine the relationship between level of education of farmers and use of ICTs in marketing farm produce by farmers in Manga Sub-County.

iii. To establish the relationship between training of farmers in ICTs and use of ICTs in marketing farm produce by farmers in Manga Sub-County.

iv. To establish the relationship between access to ICT resources and use of ICTs in marketing farm produce by farmers in Manga Sub-County.

v. To determine the relationship between access to extension services and use of ICTs in marketing farm produce by farmers in Manga Sub-County.

Hypotheses of the study
The following null hypotheses were tested in the study:

H01: There is no statistically significant relationship between level of education of farmers and use of ICTs in marketing farm produce by farmers in Manga Sub-County.

H02: There is no statistically significant relationship between training of farmers in ICTs and use of ICTs in marketing farm produce by farmers in Manga Sub-County.

H03: There is no statistically significant relationship between access to ICT resources and use of ICTs in marketing farm produce by farmers in Manga Sub-County.

H04: There is no statistically significant relationship between access to extension services and use of ICTs in marketing farm produce by farmers in Manga Sub-County.

Significance of the Study
The findings of this study may be of interest to stakeholders in the incorporation of ICTs in marketing. The research results emanating from this study leads to better understanding and awareness that education is an important determinant of intensity of adoption of ICTs in marketing of farm produces as they have the ability to search for new markets locally and globally. The study also being based in a rural community, generated research information on the potential of ICTs in marketing for wider sharing of the knowledge with similar communities in the country and sub-Saharan Africa. The findings of this study is useful in influencing policy decisions in providing insight and identifying key areas of strategic intervention. The study yielded information that help extension officers to train farmers to fully adopt ICTs as a marketing strategy for farm produce. The findings of this research contributes to future knowledge as a reference material. The findings of the study is useful to other researchers in that recommendations for further research was made on the basis of the findings.

Scope of the Study
The study was confined to socio-economic factors and the use of ICTs in marketing of farm produce by farmers in Manga Sub-county, namely: the level of education of farmers, training of farmers in ICTs, access to ICT resources and access to extension services. There were other factors that could influence the use of ICTs in marketing of farm produce by farmers, these were: age, gender and cultural factors.

Limitations of the Study
The following limitations were made during the study:

i) Time consuming when collecting data from illiterate farmers. The researcher was forced to interpret and guide the farmer to fill the questionnaire.

ii) Absence of some farmers when collecting data. Call backs were made and the researcher revisited the farmer to collect data when they were available.

Assumptions of the Study
The following assumptions guided the study:

i) The study assumed that farmers in Manga Sub-County had access to ICT resources for marketing farm produce.

ii) The farmers‟ responses reflected their true understanding of the questions posed to them and that they were representative of the wider community.

For more Agricultural Education Projects Click here
===================================================================
Item Type: Kenyan Material  |  Attribute: 63 pages  |  Chapters: 1-5
Format: MS Word  |  Price: KSh900  |  Delivery: Within 30Mins.
===================================================================

Share:

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.

Search for your topic here

See full list of Project Topics under your Department Here!

Featured Post

HOW TO WRITE A RESEARCH HYPOTHESIS

A hypothesis is a description of a pattern in nature or an explanation about some real-world phenomenon that can be tested through observ...

Popular Posts