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The Efficacy of ICT in Weather Forecast Information Dissemination: Evidence from Farming Communities in Mbale and Rakai Districts, Uganda

  • Doreen Tuheirwe-Mukasa
  • Magne Haveraaen
  • Julianne Sansa-Otim
  • Benjamin Kanagwa
  • Godfrey Rwamahe Mujuni
Chapter
Part of the Climate Change Management book series (CCM)

Abstract

Information and communication technology (ICT) has pervaded all spheres of life from the upscale rich to the rural poor in developing countries. ICT is increasingly being harnessed universally to better the quality of life of communities. This chapter highlights the need to utilize ICT tools to improve livelihoods of farmers in Uganda, in the face of climate change and variations in seasonal weather. We investigated the use of ICT tools and services in enhancing farmers’ access to weather forecast information to improve agricultural productivity in Uganda. The ICT tools in question included mobile phones and computers/laptops, while the services included the use of emails, websites, and social network sites. We used focus group sessions with farmers in Mbale and Rakai districts to (1) capture their perception of the use of ICT tools and (2) establish the mode of ICT-supported dissemination that would be most effective and efficient for relevant weather forecast information dissemination. Extra information was sourced from key informant interviews with agricultural extension workers and personnel from Uganda National Meteorological Authority. We transcribed the information gathered into descriptive narratives, used thematic analysis and coding with spreadsheets for analysis. We found the mobile phone to be the ICT tool that most farmers have access to, and we found them open to solutions designed around the mobile phone. We establish and recommend using ICT tools to complement existing and conventional weather information dissemination strategies such as mass media. ICT tools allow for customized information to be sent to farmers in text, graphic, audio, or visual formats. We also found that ICT tools enhance user control and interaction, allow farmers to query and receive specific responses of weather forecast information they are interested in, provide a mechanism to collect crowdsourced feedback that can be used to improve the weather information services and products provided by UNMA, and promote timely and easy access to weather information. We noted that if fully exploited, ICT tools have the potential to contribute to effective dissemination of tailored weather information, which would help to improve the livelihoods of the farmers in Uganda.

Keywords

ICT efficacy ICT tools Farmer perception Weather information dissemination Mobile phone 

Notes

Acknowledgments

This work was funded by the WIMEA-ICT Project (http://wimea.mak.ac.ug/), and it is part of the PhD research work of the corresponding author. The authors thank UNMA for their collaboration on project activities. We thank all the respondents (farmers) who were willing to be interviewed. We thank the WIMEA-ICT project research team, particularly Andrew Kagwa, Sophie Nabukenya, and Gift Mwesigwa, who engaged in conducting the focus group sessions, interviews, and transcribing the gathered information. We thank Maximus Byamukama for making possible our presentation at the International Conference on Ecosystem Resilience and Agricultural Productivity 2017.

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Doreen Tuheirwe-Mukasa
    • 1
  • Magne Haveraaen
    • 2
  • Julianne Sansa-Otim
    • 1
  • Benjamin Kanagwa
    • 1
  • Godfrey Rwamahe Mujuni
    • 3
  1. 1.College of Computing and Information Sciences, Makerere UniversityKampalaUganda
  2. 2.Department of InformaticsUniversity of BergenBergenNorway
  3. 3.Uganda National Meteorological AuthorityKampalaUganda

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