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ERIC Number: EJ1018305
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2013-Jul
Pages: 10
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 4
ISBN: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-1939-5256
Using OER as a Tool for Agribusiness Management Training for Hard-to-Reach Rural Farmer Populations
Muniafu, Maina; Wambalaba, Francis; Wanyama, Walter; Nduati, Gidraph; Ndirangu, Dalton
Journal of Asynchronous Learning Networks, v17 n2 p21-30 Jul 2013
Agriculture is the mainstay of Kenya's economy and contributes significantly to the gross domestic product. A great majority of this contribution comes from smallholder farmers who paradoxically face numerous obstacles ranging from a lack of support structures to poor policies and inadequate resources. A major challenge is assisting these farmers with making improvements in their production ventures, with the recently devolved form of government in Kenya enabling any assistance to be concentrated at a much lower and specific level within established counties. The United States International University (USIU) has been involved in the development of training materials for farmers and farmer organizations, specifically a course module based on several interdisciplinary field case studies. This farmers' agribusiness training course was developed on an open educational resource (OER) platform to help both farmers, who had limited training in commercialization of agriculture, and farmer organizations. The intention of the course was to provide access to additional skills and knowledge, allowing farmers to move from a farm to a "firm." Five farmers were identified from various parts of the country and participated in partnership with USIU faculty to develop the modules for the course over a one-year period. In order to complete these modules with the farmers, project staff frequently followed up with the farmers via field trips. The farmers provided positive feedback on the OER materials despite some challenges, such as the need for participants to be computer literate in order to utilize the materials directly. However, mobile learning presents an opportunity to address this shortcoming. Kenya has witnessed tremendous growth in the use of mobile phones in the rural population whose main occupation is agriculture. Although a few farmers were found to already be using a mobile SMS service to seek recommendations from the Ministry of Agriculture on the best agriculture practices and produce marketing, there is a need to establish whether mobile technologies can enhance farmers' training and support in the rural communities.
Sloan Consortium. P.O. Box 1238, Newburyport, MA 01950. e-mail: publisher@sloanconsortium.org; Web site: http://sloanconsortium.org/publications/jaln_main
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Kenya; United States