Digital technologies and support mechanisms to improve service delivery in Farmers’ Organizations: an exploratory study

  • R. Mooij

Student thesis: Master's Thesis

Abstract

The growth in datafication as basis for the data-information-knowledge cycle is leading to a transformation in the nature of organisations highlighting the importance of knowledge. One sector where knowledge is becoming more entwined than ever is agriculture, where data is converted into actionable knowledge enhancing on-farm decision-making. A wide technology diffusion in rural areas of upcoming economies may not only provide timely and cheaper information services but also support the coordination of agricultural agents. It is however unclear how digital technologies can be put to use to support the service delivery of consultants in a close-knit community of practice. The research therefore revolves around the major research question: “How can digital technologies be harnessed to improve service delivery of consultants in a community of practice?” A case study approach was used in this research to examine the influence of digital technologies whereby extension officers mediate extension service delivery in farmers’ organisations. Following an interpretive qualitative research paradigm, interviews were held with 6 extension officers from different farmers’ organisations in Kenya, a project manager in Kenya and an observational field day in The Netherlands.
Findings indicate that the use of digital technologies can reduce the necessity of physical contact between extension officers and the farmers and in the same time digital technologies providing extension officers with more tools to customize and deliver services based on each farmer’s unique needs. Findings further indicate the need for physical interaction between extension officers and farmers is essential in order to provide more personal and accurate customer-centric extension services and that farmer feedback can indeed improve the extension services provided.
This research shows that there is a need to further investigate to what extent digital technologies can replace physical contact between extension officers and farmers and which elements can be embedded in digital technologies allowing a more customer-centered approach.
Date of Award14 Feb 2022
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorRachelle Bosua (Examiner) & Vanessa Dirksen (Co-assessor)

Keywords

  • consultants
  • digitalisation
  • extension services
  • farmers’ organizations
  • information dissemination
  • service delivery

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