Farmers Perceptions and Adoption of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) in Peach (Prunus persica L.) Production and Marketing
Fazli Rabbi1*, Muhammad Idrees2, Shahid Ali1, Muhammad Zamin3 and Hazrat Bilal4
There has been an increasing trend among farmers from apple growing to peach (P. persica L.) production in the Swat valley of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa during the last couple of years. However, these peach growers face various contraints in peach marketing. The farmers are reverting to the use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) to overcome marketing hurdles. This research investigates the farmers’ awareness and use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) vis-à-vis the association between ICTs use and farmers’ socioeconomic and farm level variables. A sample of 70 peach (P. persica L.) growers was taken. Face to face interviews were held using a well-structured questionnaire. Descriptive statistics and χ2 tests were used for data analysis. The results showed a greater awareness level among the peach (P. persica L.) growers about ICTs. Moreover, the analysis indicated that more than 75 % of farmers are in use of a single or multiple type of ICTs. Among the sampled farmers, 70% of the farmers perceived ICTs as useful for farming activities. The analysis also revealed that 58.5% of the farmers are of the view that ICTs have facilitated their access to markets and information. While others 78.6 % opinioned that ICTs have reduced the influence of the middle man in peach (P. persica L.) marketing. The findings further show a positive association between ICTs use and farmers’ socioeconomic and farm-level characteristics. More educated farmers and those who receive foreign remittances are more likely to use ICTs. Farmers’ awareness level is a significant determinant of the adoption of the ICTs for farming and peach (P. persica L.) marketing. Farmers who perceive ICTs to be more useful, they are more likely to adopt ICTs for peach (P. persica L.) farming and marketing. It is concluded that ICTs have influenced the farmers’ farming practices and their access to information and market accessibility. It is recommended that the government shall devise strategies for provision of ICTs. It is further recommended that peach farmers shall be trained using the governments’ digital initiative program to build farmers capacity about the use of the ICTs in agriculture practices and marketing.