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South African Journal of Agricultural Extension

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

Abstract

DLAMINI, M. M.  and  WORTH, S.. Readiness of the Swaziland sugar industry towards the use of information and communication technology: perceptions of smallholder sugarcane farmers and extension officers. S Afr. Jnl. Agric. Ext. [online]. 2019, vol.47, n.3, pp.92-107. ISSN 2413-3221.  http://dx.doi.org/10.17159/2413-3221/2019/v47n3a518.

The study investigated smallholder sugarcane farmers and extension officers' perceptions of readiness towards the use of Information and Communication Technology (ICT), especially cell phones, as a source of technology for accessing information within the Swaziland sugar industry. The study was a census involving all active smallholder sugarcane farmers in Swaziland (N=172) and their extension officers (N=17). Quantitative data were collected through face-to-face interviews using a valid and reliable structured questionnaire. Descriptive statistics and one way analysis of variance (ANOVA) were applied to analyse the data. The results revealed that sugarcane farmers and extension officers perceive the Swaziland sugar industry to be ready for the introduction and subsequent use of ICTs to access sugarcane production information. The sugar industry infrastructure and other facilities that are necessary for the use of cell phones were perceived to be ready. All respondents possessed cell phones which they personally owned. The entire sugar industry had access to cellular network and electricity. It was also shown that some demographic variables of respondents did have an influence on their perceptions regarding the industry's readiness towards the use of cell phones to access information. The results of this study can provide guidance to the government and the sugar industry of Swaziland when considering implementing improved information dissemination based programmes.

Keywords : Cell phone; Extension; ICT; Sugarcane; Swaziland.

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