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Factors Influencing Awareness and Use of Electronic – Based Market Information Services for Farming Business in Malawi

Author(s): Julius J. Okello | Samson P. Katengeza | Edouard R. Mensah

Journal: International Journal of Economics and Research
ISSN 2229-6158

Volume: 02;
Issue: 04;
Start page: 43;
Date: 2011;
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Keywords: Awareness | use | ICT-based market information services | farmers | Malawi.

The government of Malawi has over the years initiated a number of agricultural market interventions including the recent electronic-based market information services in order to expose smallholder farmers to the exigency of market forces. The performance of agricultural markets is of significant importance in Malawi where agriculture remains the engine of growth. The study uses biprobit regression to examine drivers of awareness and adoption of electronic-based market information service interventions for farming business in Malawi. Using capability approach, it poses the hypothesis that farmers’ awareness of ICT-based market information services determines use. Results indicate that household’s awareness is positively influenced by owning a mobile phone, leasing some land and being a member of farmer group while being males, distant to agricultural field office and distance to the nearest electricity center are associated with lower likelihood of being aware. The paper also confirms that awareness raises use of ICT-based market interventions. In fact, drivers of ICT usage include income, membership in farmer group and awareness which interacts with distance to the nearest electricity center, distance to agricultural field office and land size. The study concludes that policy-makers will be valuable to work on formation of farmer organizations, access to power grid and land policy to create an enabling environment for awareness of electronic-based market interventions and ICT usage by farmers in Malawi.
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