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INFORMATION AND COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGY ROLES IN AGRICULTURAL VALUE CHAIN PROMOTION AMONG PERI-URBAN WOMEN FARMERS IN IMO STATE, NIGERIA
Farmers do not make/maximize profits when they stop at the production level only. To make more profits, they need to add value to their products. This paper examines the roles of ICTs in promoting agricultural value chain among women farmers who reside in the urban fringes of Imo State. The specific objectives were to identify value chain information needs of women farmers; ascertain ICT devices used by the women farmers and determine perceived roles of ICTs in promoting agricultural value chain. A total of 250 women farmers were randomly selected and interviewed using questionnaire complimented with oral discussion. Date collected were analyzed using descriptive tools such as percentages, mean and standard deviation. Results showed that respondents need agricultural value chain information on production and storage as shown by 98% response, marketing/business development (100%), financial services (98.8%), processing/packaging (88%), transportation/trading/distribution (93.6%). The following information devices/sources played vital roles –radio (84%), mobile phones (100%), television (62%), newspaper/magazines (55.4%), extension agents (49.6%) among others. On the roles of information sources/devices in value chain promotion, ICT device/sources provide information on time of planting, availability of seeds/input, reducing time of business transactions, financial services provision and market prices among roles.
Key words – Agriculture, value chain, information, peri-urban, farmers, ICTs