Determinants for adoption of ICT-based market information services by smallholder farmers and traders in Mayuge District, Uganda
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Market access is increasingly relying on ICTs like telephony, internet and radios that are only adopted at a slow pace and haphazardly. Despite the need for ICTs in Market Information Services (MIS), ICT adoption and usage in Africa is very low. Little is known about available ICTs for use in MIS including; technology, its potential users, and characteristics of both entities. Closing such knowledge gaps is justified. The study assessed adoption of ICT-based MIS by smallholder farmers and traders in Mayuge, specifically determining; ICT components used, factors influencing; adoption of ICT- based MIS and choice of ICT component used. Stratified random sampling was used to collect data with structured questionnaires administered to 150 farmers and 50 traders and analysed using SPSS and STATA. Majority of adopters were males. Fifty four percent of respondents had knowledge of existence of ICT groups but only 22% had membership despite 80% agreeing that ICTs benefit agriculture. Average experience in using ICTs was 3.16 years and 55% of respondents were of primary education. The radio was the most used old ICT whereas the mobile phone was most used new ICT and mostly for calls. Expensive handsets, poverty, poor power supply, lack of expertise and poor network coverage limited ICT use. Logit model results showed that farmers with knowledge of existence of ICT groups and those who thought that ICTs benefited agriculture were more likely adopters. Family size and land farmed previous season significantly influenced farmers‟ adoption, whereas age, trading experience, family size and monthly expenses on ICTs influenced traders‟ adoption. Family size significantly and positively influenced adoption for both small-scale farmers and traders. Households that majorly used ICTs for making profit were more likely to use the mobile phone, whereas those who stayed further from towns were less likely to use it. If government dedicates her support to public education, rural ICT-based initiatives like BROSDI, rural electrification and rural income generating initiatives, households could adopt ICTs for MIS more. Further research need to be done to determine the impact of ICTs on agricultural productivity, and welfare of smallholders in Uganda.