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South African Journal of Agricultural Extension

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The use of mobile technologies amongst South African commercial farmers

AP Simpson, AP Calitz

Abstract


Organisations offering extension services provide services to farmers which include the provision of relevant and current information pertaining to agriculture. The increased use of mobile technologies is changing the way farmers access information, specifically by using the Internet. This paper focuses on South African (SA) commercial farmers who currently use the Internet to establish their Internet access profile, the devices they utilise for Internet access and the purpose for which they use mobile technologies.
An Internet and Mobile Device Usage Survey was conducted in the SA agricultural community. Farmers were found to have embraced mobile technology and in excess of 70% of the farmers who participated in the study indicated that they use their mobile devices to access the Internet. No brand of mobile phone or tablet computer was found to dominate the agricultural community. Importantly, close to 50% of respondents indicated that they owned and used a tablet. The primary reason for which mobile devices are used by farmers is for business purposes, including access to information about agriculture. Agricultural organisations offering extension services could benefit from embracing the technology and exploring new ways to provide information services to their farmer base.



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