Africa still lagging behind in harnessing ICT potential in agriculture
Professor Abayomi Oloruntoba, Professor of Agricultural Extension and Rural Development, has said Africa has lagged behind in harnessing the Information Communication Technology (ICT) potential for extension services and rural development.
He said the use of ICT in agricultural extension services has become necessary because of low ratio of extension officers to farmers.
Professor Oloruntoba made these observations at the inaugural lecture of the University of Development Studies on the theme “Unleashing the Power of Capacity Building as an elixir for Agricultural and Rural Development” in Tamale.
He said the rapid spread of ICT in developing countries over the past decade offered a unique opportunity to transfer knowledge through private and public information systems.
He said poor training of agricultural extension staff has been identified as one of the problems contributing to the relative ineffectiveness of extension on the field.
He said more funding was required for agricultural extension to build facilities, employ staff, train and re-training in order to upgrade and update the technical and managerial competencies of staff.
Prof Oloruntoba, said women access to and control of resources were key to enhancing agriculture and rural development.
“Government should therefore encourage gender equality in the provision of factors of production in agriculture such as land, labour, capital and entrepreneurship,” he added.
He urged farmers to effectively participate in the research process and in the promotion of environmentally sustainable agriculture.