Mobile Learning: An Agricultural Revolution Enabler in Africa
There is growing evidence that mobile technologies and their now ubiquitous presence and use in the lives of many Africans are changing the continent in significant ways. Entire sectors have been revolutionized such as commerce and banking and Africa played a lead role in introducing the democratization of access to banking services through mobile banking (e.g. MPESA in Kenya). However, commerce and banking are part of the modern and formal sectors of the economy with strong structures and practices that lend themselves to the development of specific computer applications. Researchers, policymakers and development practitioners are still investigating and wondering how mobile learning can change traditional sectors where high illiteracy is prevalent and therefore both modern and indigenous knowledge and skills are transmitted orally within a web of human networks such as families, clans and communities. Agriculture in Africa is one such sector. It is characterized by the dominance of the traditional and subsistence-oriented smallholder farming with low productivity. Smallholder farmers in Africa are currently confronted with a host of challenges, including the aftermaths of climate change, lack of access to information and key services that prevent them from producing enough to stave off famine and poverty. This situation of increasing food insecurity and poverty due to low income within the farming communities is attributed to the low level of adoption of modern agricultural technologies; which in turn is explained by the low level of literacy among the farmers.