Factors Influencing the Use of Mobile Phone-Enabled Services in Accessing Agricultural Information by Smallholder Farmers in Bungoma County, Kenya


  • Mary Lusike Masinde Muliro University of Science and Technology, P.O Box 190-50100, Kakamega, Kenya
  • Jacob Wakhungu Department of Agriculture and Land Use Management, Masinde Muliro University of Science and Technology, P.O Box 190-50100, Kakamega, Kenya https://orcid.org/0000-0003-4381-2618
  • Alice Ndiema Department of Agribusiness and Extension Management, Masinde Muliro University of Science and Technology, P.O Box 190-50100, Kakamega, Kenya https://orcid.org/0000-0003-4153-5637
  • Annette Okoth Department of Mathematics, Masinde Muliro University of Science and Technology, P.O Box 190-50100, Kakamega, Kenya https://orcid.org/0000-0002-7222-5239




Agricultural Information, Mobile Phone-Enabled Services, Smallholder Farmers


The agriculture sector is the backbone of Kenya’s economy, contributing approximately 33 percent of Kenya’s gross domestic product (GDP). The agriculture sector employs more than 40 percent of the total population and 70 percent of the rural population. Kenya’s agriculture is predominantly smallholder farming and is carried out on farms averaging 0.2–3 ha, mostly on a subsistence basis. The objective of this study was to determine factors influencing the use of mobile phone-enabled services in accessing agricultural information by smallholder farmers in Bungoma County, Kenya. The study adopted a cross-sectional and correlational research design. Using simple random sampling, 400 respondents were selected to participate in the study. Data was collected using questionnaires, interview guides, and focus group discussions. Findings revealed that 71.1% of smallholder farmers indicated that it was costly to use mobile phone-enabled services to access agricultural information. Another 57% of the farmers perceived that socio-economic characteristics (age, education, and income) were factors determining the use of mobile phone-enabled services for accessing agricultural information. About 75.8% of the smallholder farmers did not use mobile phones to communicate agricultural information needed for their farming activities for various reasons, including: having no one to communicate with, due to the complexity of mobile phone technology, not being able to pay for the cost of both the purchase and use of mobile phones, and due to network problems. Further evidence showed that the factors affecting the use of mobile phone-enabled services have a significant impact on accessing agricultural information. The fact that socio-demographic factors significantly affect the use of mobile phone-enabled services in accessing agricultural information It is recommended that mobile phone service providers such as Safaricom, Airtel, and Orange need to understand the user’s characteristics, their needs, dynamics, and challenges, as well as potential changes in the future.


Abebe, A., & Mammo Cherinet, Y. (2019). Factors affecting the use of information and communication technologies for cereal marketing in Ethiopia. Journal of Agricultural & Food Information, 20(1), 59-70. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/10496505.2018.1438290


Aker, J.C. (2011). Dial 'A' for Agriculture: Using Information and Communication Technologies for Agricultural Extension in Developing Countries. Washington D.C.: Center for Global Development. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1574-0862.2011.00545.x


Babu, S. C., Glendenning, C., Okyere, K., & Govindarajan, S. (2011). Farmers' information needs and search behaviour: Case Study in Tamil Nadu India. International Food Policy Research Institute, 59.

Balogun, A. L., Adebisi, N., Abubakar, I. R., Dano, U. L., & Tella, A. (2022). Digitalization for transformative urbanization, climate change adaptation, and sustainable farming in Africa: Trend, opportunities, and challenges. Journal of Integrative Environmental Sciences, 19(1), 17-37. https://doi.org/10.1080/1943815X.2022.2033791 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/1943815X.2022.2033791

Barrett, C.B. (2009). Smallholder market participation: Concepts and evidence from eastern and southern Africa. Food Policy, 33(4), 299-317. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.foodpol.2007.10.005


Baumüller, H. (2012). Facilitating agricultural technology adoption among the poor: The role of service delivery through mobile phones. Center for Development Research (ZEF), 93(1) 1-30. https://doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2237987 DOI: https://doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2237987

Bayes, A. (2001). Infrastructure and Rural Development: Insights from a Grameen Bank Village Phone Initiative in Bangladesh. Agricultural Economics, 25, 261-272. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/S0169-5150(01)00083-4


BCIDP. (2013). Bungoma County Integrated Development Plan 2013-2017. Bungoma County Government, Denkev Enterprises & Company Limited, Bungoma.

Bharnani, A., Chin, R. W., Janakiram, S., Silarszky, P. & Bhatia, D. (2008). "The Role of Mobile Phones in Sustainable Rural Poverty Reduction." World Bank Working Paper, Global Information and Communication Department. World Bank: Washington, D.C.

Chukwunonso, F., Abubakar, M., & Obidi, N. (2012). The Adoption of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) In Agriculture in Adamawa State, Nigeria. African Journal of Agricultural Research and Development, 5(3), 79-85.

CIMMYT. (1993). The Adoption of Agricultural Technology: A Guide for Survey Design. Mexico D.F.: International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center.

Feder, G., & Umali, D. L. (1993). The Adoption of Agricultural Innovations: A Review. Technological Forecasting and Social Change, 43, 215-239. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/0040-1625(93)90053-A


Gakuru, M., Winters, K., & Stepman, F. (2009). Innovative Farmer Advisory Services using ICT. W3C Workshop "Africa Perspective on the Role of Mobile Technologies in Fostering Social Development."April 1-2 2009, Maputo, Mozambique.

GoK. (2011). Economic survey 2011. Kenya National Bureau of Statistics, Nairobi, Kenya.

GSMA (2013). Women and Mobile: A Global Opportunity, A study on the mobile phone gender gap in low and middle-income countries. Retrieved from http://www.gsma.com/mobilefordevelopment/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/GSMA_Women_and_Mobile-A_Global_Opportunity.pdf

IFAD. (2011) Enabling rural people to overcome poverty in Kenya. Rome International Fund for Agricultural development.

Ilahiane, H. (2007). "Impacts of information and communication technologies in agriculture: Farmers and mobile phones in Morocco." Paper Presented at the Annual Meetings of the American Anthropological Association. December 1, Washington DC.

Kiiza, B., & Pederson, G., 2012. ICT-based market information and adoption of agricultural seed technologies: Insights from Uganda. Telecommunications Policy, 36(4), 253-259. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.telpol.2012.01.001


Kirui, O.K., Okello, Julius J., & Nyikal, R.A. (2010). "Awareness and use of m-banking services in agriculture: The case of smallholder farmers in Kenya." 2010 AAAE Third Conference/AEASA 48th Conference. African Association of Agricultural Economists, Cape Town, South Africa, September 19-23.

Lehr, D. (2007). Going Wireless: Dialing for Development (working paper). Retrieved http://mobileactive.org/dialing-development new-report-mobile-phone-use-base-pyramid,

Lwoga, E. T., Stilwel, C., & Ngulube, P. (2011). Access to and use of Information and knowledge for agricultural development. Enhancing democracy and good governance through effective information and knowledge services. Proceedings of the 19th Standing Conference of Eastern, Central Southern Africa Library and Information Associations. Botswana. pp. 117 - 132.

Mascarenhas, O. (2010). Broadening the agenda for ICTs for poverty reduction: PICTURE-Africa. Information Technologies & International Development, 6(SE), 37.

Masuka, B., Matenda, T., Chipomho, J., Mapope, N., Mupeti, S., Tatsvarei, S., & Ngezimana, W. (2016). Mobile phone use by small-scale farmers: A potential to transform production and marketing in Zimbabwe. South African Journal of Agricultural Extension, 44(2), 121-135. DOI: https://doi.org/10.17159/2413-3221/2016/v44n2a406


Mittal, S., Gandhi, S., & Tripathi, G. (2012). "Socioeconomic Impact of Mobile Phones on Indian Agriculture." Working Paper No. 246, 53, 24 February.

Obong, R., Mugonola, B., & Phillips, D. P. (2018). Determinants of mobile phones usage in sweet potato vine business in Gulu district northern Uganda. African Journal of Agricultural Research, 13(21), 1071-1079. DOI: https://doi.org/10.5897/AJAR2017.12213


Ogidi, A.E. (2014). Modern Channels of Information used for Agriculture in Rural Farm Communities in Nigeria. SCSR Journal of Development (SCSRJD), 1(4), 78 - 89.

Okello, J., Kirui, O. K., Njirani, G. W., & Gitonga, Z. M. (2012). Drivers of Use of Information and Communication Technologies by Farm Households: The Case of Smallholder Farmers in Kenya. The Journal of Agricultural Science, 4 (2), 111-124. DOI: https://doi.org/10.5539/jas.v4n2p111


Rahman, N. A., Masuwai, A., Tajudin, N. A. M., Tek, O. E., & Adnan, M. (2015). Validation of "Teaching and Learning Guiding Principles Instrument" for Malaysian Higher Learning Institutions. Malaysian Journal of Learning and Instruction, 13(2), 125-146. DOI: https://doi.org/10.32890/mjli2016.13.2.5


Santosham, S., & Lindsey, D. (2015). Connected women 2015-bridging the gender gap: mobile access and usage in low- and middle-income countries. GSMA association, Australia.

Santosham, S., & Lindsey, D. (2015). Bridging the gender gap: Mobile access and usage in low-and middle-income countries (Tech. Rep.). GSMA.

Tadesse, G., & Bahiigwa, G. (2015). Mobile phones and farmers' marketing decisions I Ethiopia. World Development, 68, 296-307. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.worlddev.2014.12.010


Tarhini, A., El-Masri, M., Ali, M., & Serrano, A. (2016). Extending the UTAUT model to understand the customers' acceptance and use of internet banking in Lebanon: A structural equation modeling approach. Information Technology & People, 29(4), 830-849. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1108/ITP-02-2014-0034


World Bank. (2011). ICT in Agriculture: Connecting Smallholders to Knowledge, Networks, and Institutions, e-Sourcebook No. 64605. World Bank, Washington D.C.

Xiaolan, F., & Shaheen, A. (2012). "Impact of mobile telephone on the quality and speed of agricultural extension services delivery: Evidence from the rural e-service project in India." Paper presented at the International Association of Agricultural Economists Trieenial Conference. Foz do Iguacu, Brazil.




How to Cite

Lusike, M., Wakhungu, J., Ndiema, A., & Okoth, A. (2023). Factors Influencing the Use of Mobile Phone-Enabled Services in Accessing Agricultural Information by Smallholder Farmers in Bungoma County, Kenya. African Journal of Empirical Research, 4(2), 1105–1118. https://doi.org/10.51867/ajernet.4.2.112