A PhD study based upon a participatory approach considers the role of ICT in delivering extension services to rural women in Eastern Cape, South Africa. It is exploring different mediums to deliver solutions to community-identified agricultural issues through the cost-effective utilization of media products in order to improve livelihoods, nutrition and food security.
The first year is about understanding the situation, doing the systematic mapping of existing ICT. The next step is to visit the farmers in Eastern Cape, this will include the evaluating what the farmers really want, and what are the existing ICT organisations in the area, how do they work, what are their success why is it failing. The second year is focussed on developing material across a range of platforms for smallholder farmers in the Eastern Cape and testing it. This will involve testing the material/technology at a basic agricultural level and as well as at a higher level. The final year will be spent evaluating how successful that material has been and developing ways of measuring success, it may be quality over yield or decrease in inputs, therefore, cost savings. It may be the change in farmer's behaviour regarding traditional sowing practices after a positive experience with the new hybrid seed, value-added crops, crop storage, and processing. The project will then go on to develop a toolkit guide to participatory ICT extension to developed farmers further to own their businesses, work as co-operation to attract the neighbouring areas, local business, local and international markets.
Harper Adams University