Developing and piloting a multi-channel ICT-Enabled Model to enhance University engagement with smallholder farming communities in Uganda

Current outreach models for universities have been shown to be weak globally. This paper looks at an alternative, less expensive approach which can reach farmers in real time. It describes the development and piloting of a Multi-Channel ICT-based Model of enhancing University engagement with smallholder farming communities in Uganda, codenamed “SUFACE”. The acronym, SUFACE was derived from the project Strengthening University Farming Communication Engagement which funded the work. Four main stages were followed in developing the model: (i) establishing requirements for developing an appropriate model and designing the model, (ii) developing the ICT platform to anchor the model, (iii) establishing knowledge and information centers (KICs), and (iv) training managers of KIC, extension workers and farmers. The model provides services in capturing farmer information needs, storage and indexing, data visualization, data search, information sharing, security and privacy. Preliminary indications are that the model has increased access to information and has fostered closer working relations between the university and farmers. Where the ICT infrastructure exists, this appears to be a financially viable approach for better linking universities with small farmers either directly or through local knowledge centres, NGOs or extension agencies. Key emerging issues include the need to develop local capacity for farmer query translation and exploring opportunities for automatic query translation and response.

Ekwamu, Adipala
Nampala, Paul
Issue Date:
Jun 30 2016
Publication Type:
Journal Article
Record Identifier:
Published in:
African Journal of Rural Development (AFJRD), Volume 1, Issue 1
Page range:

 Record created 2017-09-26, last modified 2018-01-23

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