The intersection between ICT and climate smart agriculture in adapting to the impacts of climate change on food production by uMsinga’s smallholder farmers: implications for climate change education.
Bakare, Olusegun Ojo.
MetadataShow full item record
This study drew on community based participatory action research (CBPAR) and living theory (LT) to explore the intersection between information and communication technology (ICT) and climate smart agriculture (CSA) in enhancing the ability of smallholder farmers (SHFs) to adapt and mitigate the impacts of climate change in uMsinga, an impoverished rural area in KwaZulu-Natal. As action research, it included a preliminary and main phase. At the preliminary phase, the study aimed to identify SHFs’ existing agricultural practices in relation to climate change adaptation, as well as their perceptions regarding the possible integration of ICT and agricultural practices. In the main phase, the study aimed to assess the existing ICT literacy and the required ICT literacy if SHFs are to integrate smartphones with their agricultural practices. It explored the kind of functionalities that SHFs wished to see in a possible weather app. In order to address these research questions, a sequential transformative mixed method approach guided by community based participatory action research (CBPAR) and living theory (LT) approach was employed. In the study, 35 uMsinga SHFs were engaged through community forum meetings. Two frameworks were employed to make sense of the findings in the study, namely: the theory of planned irrigators’ behavior (TPIB) as well as unified theory of acceptance and use of technology (UTAUT). The theories were used to explore the nature of relationship which exist in the intersection between ICT and CSA. The findings, from the preliminary phase, show that the uMsinga SHFs practise seven CSA practices. The findings further revealed eight unintended challenges resulting from the SHFs’ choice of CSA practices. These challenges affirmed that the deployment of ICT alone is insufficient to solve the threats posed by climate change for food production by SHFs. As such, the findings further show that an overwhelming majority of the SHFs has a positive regard for the integration of ICT with CSA practices. However, two unintended problems appeared to be limiting the realisation of their intentions: inadequate ICT literacy skills and the absence of agro-weather application that is appropriate and suitable for this rural indigenous community. The CBPAR intervention thus focused on improving the SHFs ICT literacy skills and their ability to use an existing “Demo” weather app through their smartphones, to enhance their CSA practices. The findings, arising from this main phase of the study, highlight the “importance of context” in helping SHFs to mitigate the threats posed by climate change to food production, an issue that is completely ignored in curriculum policies and policies aimed at integrated national adaptation responses to climate change impact and vulnerability. The contributions to knowledge as well as the implications of findings are discussed within the context of the criticality of interfacing between ICT and SHFs CSA practices.