Why Agricultural Information decision support is relevant for rural farmers

Rural farmers are more likely to farm productively using a combination of local content information with best and modern practices in Agriculture. The use of modern, scientific and organic practices in agriculture is crucial for farmers to make informed decision and be able to transform their farming and agricultural practices. Management of decisions in today’s farming require up to date local information example regarding weather forecast, pests and diseases, soil types, crop varieties, new technologies, marketing and value additions information and hence form a critical part of the women’s productive capacity, and ability to increase yields per unit area, ensure crop quality and be competitive enough to tap the market as well as meet market requirements. (Allan Leck Jensen, Agriculture Information and Decision Support by SMS, 2003) Mobile phones is the most effective device to support informed decisions compared to computers as it can easily be carried everywhere including fields/farms thus enabling web access, exchange of relevant agricultural data and execution of programs for young farmers via wireless connections

The inability of most farmers to use ICTs especially mobile phones for agricultural production further constrain their ability to receive support in form of timely and relevant information which can support their plant growth and livestock activities.

According to the New Vision, the Government Newspaper in Uganda of 28th January 2014, the Paper warns farmers against planting crops in the month of February. Farmers who are currently planting crops risk losing their seeds because February is projected to become dryer than January. This is according to the commissioner meteorology in the water and environment ministry, Michael Nkalubo. This kind of information on a National Newspaper is not very relevant because majority of farmers do not read in English and besides, it’s not affordable for rural communities. This kind of decision support for farmers require traditional ICT mediums such as radios, rural information centers and empowered Agricultural extension workers to help farmers make informed decisions. This is very critical in Agricultural and rural development.

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