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The Role of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) in Agricultural Development in the Philippines
The study investigates the nature of adoption and diffusion of information and communications
technology (ICTs) in rural areas of the Philippines , and how these technologies contribute to agricultural and economic development of farming communities. ICTs include computers, the internet, mobile phone, websites, videoconferencing, and interactive DVDs. With the increasing complexity of agricultural innovations, ICTs are looked upon as a potent tool in improving the flows of information from knowledge centres to the rural areas. In 2003, the Philippines set up several community eCentres to improve delivery of government services, one of which is in the agricultural sector. This study will look into how farmers and extension workers are able to learn and use ICTs for their farming operation, what user and place based barriers affect the use and adoption of ICTs, and what factors contribute to the long term sustainability of these shared community ICT centres.
There have been several attempts in the past to introduce ICTs in the rural areas of many developing nations, but much of these efforts failed, following the models of the more technologically advanced countries. The successful introduction of new “telecentre models” in India, South America, and Africa, using shared ICT facilities managed by the community, has renewed interest in the use of ICTs for rural development, especially in the poorer Southeast Asian countries such as the Philippines. There is, however, limited empirical study on the nature of ICT adoption and diffusion, and its influence in agriculture and rural development in the Philippines. The study will provide insights into the theoretical interpretation of adoption of complex innovations. This study will generate empirical data and practical lessons to guide policy formulation in the long term deployment, design and sustainability of these systems, due to the complexity and high costs of this innovation.