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Research Articles

Use of information and communication technology (ICT) by extension officers of the tea small holdings development authority of Sri Lanka

Authors:

B.A.D. Samansiri ,

University of Peradeniya, LK
About B.A.D.
Postgraduate Institute of Agriculture
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W.A.D.P. Wanigasundera

University of Peradeniya, LK
About W.A.D.P.
Department of Agriculture Extension, Faculty of Agriculture
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Abstract

The use of advanced technologies for information dissemination in the tea industry is crucial as tea (Cameliasinensis (L.)Kuntze.) is one of the major foreign exchange earning agribusinesses in Sri Lanka. This study contributes to understand the present status of information needs, use of information and communication technology (ICT) and the contributory factors for use of ICT among extension workers serving the tea small holders. A survey was conducted with a randomly selected representative sample of 101 extension officers of the Tea Small Holdings Development Authority of Sri Lanka using a pre-tested interview schedule, where the questions were designed to generate information on socio-demography, ICT usage, information needs, perception on usefulness and ease-of-use of ICT, and the actual use of ICT. Most of the respondents were above 36 years old, while 65.3% were with more than 20 years of work experience. The majority (89.1%) have had diploma level education. Extension workers used to frequently access information on fertilizer and agrochemical availability, tea planting materials and general information on tea cultivation. All respondents owned mobile phones while, 95.0% had the access to fixed telephones. Only 36.6%, 38.6%, 47.5% and 5.0% of the respondents had access to Internet, e-mail, VCD/DVD/IMM-CD and facsimiles facilities, respectively. The majority (78.2%) used mobile phones about 4-7 days per week and they had perceived it as highly useful and easy to use material. Besides the high perceived usefulness of Internet, email and VCD/DVD/IMM-CD, use of these facilities was less among older extension workers. There was significant number of respondents who had never undergone any training on ICT use. Regular in-service training and making ICT more accessible can make extension workers more familiar with ICT to get information necessary for their extension activities.

Tropical Agricultural Research Vol. 25 (4): 460-475 (2014)

How to Cite: Samansiri, B.A.D. & Wanigasundera, W.A.D.P., (2015). Use of information and communication technology (ICT) by extension officers of the tea small holdings development authority of Sri Lanka. Tropical Agricultural Research. 25(4), pp.460–475. DOI: http://doi.org/10.4038/tar.v25i4.8054
Published on 17 Nov 2015.
Peer Reviewed

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