Analysis of factors affecting adoption of ICT solutions in dairy farming cooperative societies in Meru County
Ngongo, Castro Odhiambo
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Information and Communication Technology (ICT) is viewed as a driver for both developed and developing countries. The benefits of ICT adoption by organizations range from opportunity and market access to operational efficiencies and making enterprises more competitive and successful. In assessing the usefulness of ICT in agriculture, significant strides in efficiency can be achieved through the use of modern technology in upstream and downstream processes within cooperative societies. However, in reality there is low uptake of technological products in the agricultural sector and particularly by the cooperative societies in Kenya. This low uptake is attributed to the fact that not all cooperative societies and in particular the dairy cooperatives are convinced of the usefulness of ICT in enhancing their productivity. The study specifically sought: to identify and assess the factors that influence uptake of ICT in dairy cooperative societies in Meru County, Kenya; and to examine the contribution of ICT on productivity in dairy cooperative societies in Meru County, Kenya. Meru County was been selected as study area due to the number of dairy cooperatives and less research has been done on them unlike other zones in the country. A census survey was used to collect data from general managers and IT managers of dairy cooperatives in Meru County. Data was collected using a structured questionnaire from 40 respondents drawn from the 20 dairy cooperatives in Meru County. Data was analyzed using SPSS version 24.0 for descriptive and inferential statistics. The findings were expected to benefit the management of the dairy cooperatives in Kenya and the regulators and the policy makers such as the Kenya Dairy Boards (KDB) as they are able to use the findings as the base upon which to review challenges in ICT adoption in the dairy cooperatives. The study findings reveal that majority of the respondents agreed that their dairy cooperative society have adequately adopted ICT solutions and to a very great extent ICT contributes to the productivity of dairy cooperative societies in Meru County, Kenya. The study findings reveal that majority of the respondents agreed that cost of ICT adoption, perceived usefulness, staff competency/skill, and top management support to a very great extent influences adoption of ICT solutions in dairy cooperative societies. The study findings revealed that ICT contribution, cost of adoption of ICT, perceived usefulness, staff competency, and top management support have a statistically significant influence on the adoption of ICT solutions in dairy farming cooperative societies. Perceived Usefulness was found to be the most significant among the four variables followed by top management support, cost of adoption, staff competency. The study therefore concludes that cost of ICT adoption, perceived usefulness, staff competency, and top management are factors that influence on the adoption of ICT solutions in dairy farming cooperative societies. The study recommends the need for adequate financing, need for the management of dairy cooperatives to communicate the usefulness of ICT adoption and ease of use to its staff and members, need to recruit and train employees in a bid to motivate them to embrace and use modern ICT technologies, and need for top management support in regard to ICT opportunity development.