Three SITC Faculty Study Impact of Mobile Phone Use on Rural Farming in Nigeria

Three SITC Faculty Study Impact of Mobile Phone Use on Rural Farming in Nigeria

Inspired by the realization that many farmers in developing countries still depend on traditional farming practices, which are characterized by a lack of access to timely and relevant agricultural information, three researchers from AUN's School of Information Technology & Computing (SITC) have undertaken a study to assess the influence of mobile phone use on farming, and its effect on the livelihood of poor rural farmers.

The study published in the African Journal of Science, Technology, Innovation and Development (January 2021) adopted the Sustainable Livelihoods Approach as a theoretical lens. Authors Professors Mathias Fomkam, Chioma Anadozie and Jean-Paul Cleron derived their primary data from the Mbamba rural community in Yola South LG of Adamawa.

Their findings revealed that the use of mobile phones leads to increased opportunities for farmers, as rural farmers were empowered to improve their livelihoods while also ensuring food security in the long run. They also confirmed that mobile phone use strengthens communal living and builds social capital, while better access to information provided by mobile phones boosts farmers' knowledge and skills needed to succeed in twenty-first-century agriculture.

The study, however, identified what it termed "some human capital deficiencies and contextual factors bordering on language barrier" and made a case for mobile agricultural applications in indigenous languages.

SITC's longest-serving dean, Professor Fonkam, joined AUN in Spring 2006 after almost a decade of teaching experience at three universities in the US and Brazil and several years of industry experience in the Silicon Valley in California. As dean, Dr. Fonkam is credited with creating and personally bankrolling an online monthly programming challenge and the SITC on-the-spot programming competition, platforms designed to encourage students to solve challenging problems, thereby nurturing their problem-solving and programming skills. In addition, he collaborated with the National Universities Commission (NUC) to update curricula for teaching computer science in Nigerian universities.

Professor Cleron, a former World Bank expert, specializes in System Dynamics, while Ms. Anadozie has previously published "Using the Internet to Gain Competitive Advantage" and "Management Information Systems for Nigerian Primary School, a Windows Based Software Application for Schools.”

Reported by Esther Ofeli