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South African Journal of Agricultural Extension

On-line version ISSN 2413-3221
Print version ISSN 0301-603X

Abstract

SIMELANE, P. T.; LALL, M.  and  KOGEDA, O. P.. A mobile phone application for agricultural extension in marginalised rural areas of Pongola region, Zululand district, South Africa. S Afr. Jnl. Agric. Ext. [online]. 2019, vol.47, n.1, pp.137-150. ISSN 2413-3221.  http://dx.doi.org/10.17159/2413-3221/2019/v47n1a495.

Subsistence farming plays a pivotal role in the socio-economic development and food security of rural populations. Strategic application of information and communication technology (ICT) to agriculture industry offers great opportunities for economic growth and poverty alleviation. The aim of this work is to implement a mobile solution that provides a platform to enable both extension officers to communicate information on agricultural extension and collaborate on farming and irrigation techniques. In addition, the mobile phone application would assist in sharing market related information for buying, selling of their produce, weather, andfinance related services, as well as training and employment opportunities. Being better informed, the local farming community would be able to make decisions that would ultimately lead to an improvement in their socio-economic conditions. Thus, a survey was conducted with 93 farmers selected by random sampling in the Pongola region of Zululand district to establish the penetration of mobile phones. It was found that 94.6% of the farmers owned mobile phones varying in capabilities from simple to smart phones. Based on the findings of the survey, mobile phone application using Java platform was developed and deployed to the cloud. The users expressed satisfaction with the features and the functionalities of the developed system.

Keywords : Mobile phone application; mobile phones; information sharing; subsistence farming; extension officers.

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