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ICTs’ Appropriate Model for e-Farmers Group Development in Thailand

Published by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, St. Joseph, Michigan

Citation:  Computers in Agriculture and Natural Resources, 4th World Congress Conference, Proceedings of the 24-26 July 2006 (Orlando, Florida USA) Publication Date 24 July 2006  701P0606.(doi:10.13031/2013.21862)
Authors:   Sanun Karnka
Keywords:   ICTs, e-farmers

Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) especially the internet has currently played a vital role in development of the country in all aspects. In agricultural sector, the ICTs has been also widely used to support agricultural productions, marketing, research and extension system in various agencies, and it becomes an important tool for daily work of their staffs in the offices. However, the majority of farmers who involved largely in agricultural production of the country still not access or event well prepared to deal with the ICTs yet. This study, therefore, aimed to find out the suitable ICTs model for farmers group development and their perception of the ICTs used in agricultural extension. A group of non-chemical vegetable farmers at Ban-Tonyang, Mue 8, Muang district of Lampang province, Thailand was chosen to be a case study in forming an e-farmer group during April 2004 to March 2005. The ICTs center was set up nearby vegetable field of the group members and further the ICTs learning activities were organized by group. At the beginning of the project, a group committee and ICTs volunteers were trained to built up their ICTs skill and later on assigned to be the ICTs trainer and facilitator of the ICTs group learning activities, and all members were invited to joint the ICTs center activities voluntarily. The result of this study found that this type of learning model could bring up the knowledge, skill and attitude towards the use of ICTs to support group activities of the members. Regarding the ICTs using behavior, mostly the members learnt to deal with the ICTs through member teaching member at their convenient times and flexible lessons method. However, female members preferred to use the internet at the ICTs center during 9.30-11.30 am. after finished their house works while male members came to surf the internet after their afternoon field works during 6.30- 9.30 pm. The majority of the members able to surf the internet to fulfill their needs of the information such as daily news, new agricultural practices, marketing and agricultural news. About one-third of the members could post their message over the e-mail, and mostly were female members. All members also believed that the academic data and information retrieved from the internet was useful, trustable and high credibility. The study also found that the factors contributing the successful of the use of ICTs for e-farmers group development were the flexible of ICTs lesson/curriculum, the ICTs suitable access point, the information relevance to the members needs, the appropriate ICTs training/teaching method, the ICTs competency of the related local development staffs, and the appropriate hardware/network of the ICTs.

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