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Fostering technology stewardship approach to promote knowledge sharing among farming communities in Sri Lanka

Authors:

H. A. C. K. Jayathilake ,

Wayamba University of Sri Lanka, LK
About H. A. C. K.
Information Communication Technology Center
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U. K. Jayasinghe-Mudalige,

Wayamba University of Sri Lanka, LK
About U. K.
Department of Agribusiness Management
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L. D. R. D. Perera,

Wayamba University of Sri Lanka, LK
About L. D. R. D.
Department of Computing and Information Systems
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G. A. Gow,

University of Alberta, CA
About G. A.
Faculty of Extension
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N. Waidyanatha

LIRNEasia, LK
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Abstract

Agricultural knowledge plays a pivotal role in the process of transforming the livelihoods of farmers relied on subsistence agriculture. However, development of credible approaches to “share” the indigenous and scientific knowledge in possession of farmers in order to enhance their competitive edge in agriculture has become a challenge at present. This paper explores the applicability of theconcept of ‘Technology Stewardship’ in order to promote sustainable knowledge sharing amongst the agricultural farming communities in Sri Lanka. A community consultative process adopted with the officials (“Sponsors”) and a series of structured questionnaire-based face-to-face interviews and keyinformant surveys carried out with a cross section of smallholder agriculture farmers (n=183) in the Batticaloa and Kurunegala districts facilitated gathering of baseline data/information, and in turn, to select and train six Technology Stewards (TEs). A number of field experiments (“Campaigns”) were conducted then with smallholder farmers (n=260) “with” and “without” the assistance of those TEs during April 2014 to July 2015. The ‘FrontlineSMS’ (a low-cost, user-friendly, free and open source text messaging software) and Freedom Fone (low cost Interactive Voice Responses software) were applied to evaluate the effectiveness of knowledge sharing through the TEs work with these communities. It was found that the use of “Texting” and “Voice” facilities in day-to-day agricultural communication has been increased by 22% and 8%, respectively, when the process has been assisted by the TEs. This implies that TEs can effectively be utilized, with capacity development through intensive training modules, to reduce the transaction costs associated with sharing of information with farmers, starting from the lowest socio-economic category in such communities.
How to Cite: Jayathilake, H.A.C.K., Jayasinghe-Mudalige, U.K., Perera, L.D.R.D., Gow, G.A. and Waidyanatha, N., 2017. Fostering technology stewardship approach to promote knowledge sharing among farming communities in Sri Lanka. Tropical Agricultural Research, 28(3), pp.238–246. DOI: http://doi.org/10.4038/tar.v28i3.8228
Published on 26 Jun 2017.
Peer Reviewed

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