Towards a framework for the adoption of information and communication technology by maize farmers
Settim, Violet Chepkemoi
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Agriculture is the backbone of the Kenyan economy and directly contributes to Gross Domestic Product of 25%. Maize is the major staple food and majority of Kenyan‟s cultivate it. The future of food security and welfare of the farming population will depend largely on increasing the production of maize. ICT take-up in agriculture in Kenya remains low and the agricultural communities have yet to fully embrace the potential benefits of ICT. The effective use of ICTs by maize farmers can improve their operation and support them to achieve their objectives, for example, access to information and services, social inclusion, cultural provision, education and training. The adoption of ICT among maize farmers needs to be approached in a holistic and sustainable fashion that will support their operation and enhance their productivity. The study set to establish the role of ICT in agricultural processes, factors that influence ICT use and review of various ICT technology models. The research further reviewed studies using the Technology Acceptance Model (TAM) in order to create a modified model and instrument to study the acceptance of ICT technologies by Maize farmers. In this study, we examined the relationships between the TAM constructs in some of the research that purports to explain the variance in the acceptance of different information technologies. Based upon the empirical research using the technology assessment model, a modified TAM was developed for the adoption of ICT‟s by maize farmers. The original constructs (belief, behaviour, attitude and use) were retained from TAM while the literature suggests subjective norms, government support, ICT vendors‟ support, and perceived socio economic factors to be useful antecedents for predicting perceived usefulness, perceived ease of use and behavioural intent to use. Hypotheses were discussed in this study related to the theoretical relationships between constructs and antecedents. A survey instrument was developed using existing scales from prior TAM instruments and modified them where appropriate. The resultant instrument can be used in future to test how farmers adopt and accept ICT‟s technologies. The study showed also that all the constructs of TAM had a positive correlation on ICT use and the external variables of ICT vendor support, Subjective Norms and perceived socio-economic support. Government support reported a relatively low correlation to ICT use.