Agriculture constitutes a key livelihood source for over 75% of the rural households in Zambia. A total of 1,305, 783 households in Zambia are totally dependent on agriculture for their livelihood and are classified as agricultural households (CSO, 2000). Most (81.8%) of the population in agricultural households is based in rural areas of the country. Of the 1,305,783 agricultural households, 99.2% is engaged in crop production as a major agricultural activity. At national level, the sector’s contribution to the gross domestic product (GDP) averaged over 18% in the past decade. The real growth rate in the sector has fluctuated significantly mainly due to heavy dependence on seasonal rain-fed crops, poor communication network and low farmer access to improved technologies that are resilient to some of the natural shocks such as drought, pests and diseases. Despite the evidence of the important contribution the sector makes to household food and nutrition security and the national economy, the sector faces a number of challenges to increased productivity. Other than the natural calamities and socio-economic factors such as access to agricultural inputs, credit facilities and markets, poor access to agricultural information remains a decisive challenge to increased agricultural productivity at household level. The prevailing low crop and livestock productivity among small-scale farmers could greatly be attributed to low farmer access to and utilization of agricultural technologies that are meant to enhance productivity. Utilization of such technologies has been poor among the illiterate farming community because such information is not available to such target groups in the right formats as some of the publications are either presented in a highly technical format which makes them too difficult to be understood by illiterate farmers. This situation is further worsened by the poor, inadequate and weak communication links between research, extension and farmers.
Key words: Information and communication technology service (ICT), agriculture, Zambia.
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