The Role of ICTS in Poverty Reduction Among Peasant Female Farmers in Selected Rural Areas of Kabwe and Kapiri Mposhi Districts, Central Province, Zambia
The study sought to establish the role of Information and Communication Technology (ICTs) in poverty reduction among rural women who are engaged in peasant farming activities. The study was conducted in selected rural areas of Kabwe (Mpima farmimg block) and Kapiri-Mposhi (Mondake and Mukochi farming blocks) Districts, central province, Zambia. A survey research design was employed in the study. The target population was women involved in peasant farming business in rural areas of Kabwe and Kapiri-Mposhi districts. A total of 50 women were drawn as a sample population in this study. Questionnaires and scheduled interviews were used to collect quantitative and qualitative data respectively from respondents. Quantitative data was analyzed using excel and Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) in order to generate frequencies and graphs for easy interpretation and analysis of data. On the other hand, thematic analysis was used to analyze qualitative data that emerged from research objectives, themes and subthemes. The findings of the study revealed that ICTs play a critical role in helping rural women reduce poverty levels through their agricultural activities. Despite such a positive effect ICTs have on poverty reduction, most women in rural Kabwe and Kapiri-Mposhi lacked ICT facilities that could have being of help for them to access agricultural information and market their produce. The findings further indicated that the commonest ICT gadget which rural women relied on for communication was a phone. The availability of the phones did not help much because they did not have internet facilities and it was expensive to maintain. Additionally the agricultural policies that government had put in place to encourage rural women access ICTs were too technical to be understood by an ordinary and illiterate female farmer. Based on the findings of the study, the following among many other recommendations emerged: 1. ZICTA should strengthen ICTs in local primary and secondary schools in order to eradicate the problem of technical support as it can be seen in the local community that most women are illiterate in the area of information technology. 2. Government through Ministry of Agriculture should provide telecenters that are tailored to support community development in rural areas so that even women without computer devises can access technical support whenever they need. 3. The private sector should be encouraged to invest in the design of ICTs appropriate for use in rural areas.
Key Words- Peasant female farmers, ICTs and Poverty Reduction