The use of information and communication technologies in the modernization of Caribbean agriculture: Focus on agricultural extension

The history of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) use in Agricultural Extension in the region has been fairly good. The use of radio and television in early days as well as increased use of computer-based presentation software for farmer education in recent times show attempts to keep up with emerging technologies. Unfortunately, these tools can be considered as “old ICTs”, and a whole new range of “hardware, software, networks and media for the collection, storage, processing, transmission and presentation of information” (World Bank, 2009) known as new ICTs, is now available. These present opportunities for extension organizations and staff in the region to communicate much more effectively and efficiently with clients and each other. The need to hasten the use of modern ICTs is urgent because the client base of extension has now expanded beyond farmers to include agribusiness entrepreneurs, agri-processors and marketers. Extension is now expected to provide technical support beyond farm production practices in such areas as value addition, business development and marketing and to a category of clients more technology oriented than traditional farmers. This paper outlines the benefits of ICT use in the region and provides examples of modern ICT tools and techniques that are available for use in the region: internet kiosks; community based telecentres; SMS texting; internet radio and video; mobile learning units, the creation of virtual extension officers and virtual information centres for specialized clients. Some of the challenges to overcome are identified and the paper concludes with suggestions for the way forward using ICTs in extension: revisit extension’s role and functions; improve client sensitization, build staff technical capacity, and improve access to information.

Badrie, Neela
Issue Date:
Publication Type:
Conference Paper/ Presentation
DOI and Other Identifiers:
978-976-634-010-0 (Other)
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JEL Codes:
Bridgetown, Barbados 6th – 10th July, 2009
Series Statement:
Proceedings of the West Indies Agricultural Economics Conference

 Record created 2017-04-01, last modified 2020-10-28

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