ZEF Colloquium/Public Lecture by Edward Mutandwa (University of Zimbabwe)

September 9, 2021 | 13:30 h - 14:30 h

ZEF Colloquium/Public Lecture

Speaker: Edward Mutandwa (University of Zimbabwe)

Title: Social Media: Perspectives from Poor Rural Farmers in Zimbabwe


In the last decade, the use of social media tools such as Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp have increased substantially in developed countries. While a similar pattern has been witnessed in urban areas of Africa, it is not clear as to the extent to which the rural populace has embraced this form of communication. This research assesses the role and relevance of social media tools in the dissemination and use of agricultural innovations at the farm level in the Zimbabwean context. The study was anchored on a field survey of 219 farming households domiciled in Domboshawa communal area of Zimbabwe. Both descriptive and inferential statistics are used to analyze data generated from the field survey. Preliminary findings of the study suggest that farmers were mainly aware of WhatsApp (68%) and SMS (20.5%) and Facebook as social media tools. Out of these platforms, WhatsApp emerged as the most commonly used tool to share and access agricultural information. Mostly rural farmers obtained production and management related information from existing WhatsApp groups. Based on exploratory factor analysis, results also identified 8 key factors that farmers considered when choosing among the varied tools as a means of sourcing information. Findings from this research are useful in the design of appropriate platforms that can be used to increase access to agricultural information against the background of the COVID19 pandemic.

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Note that this meeting replaces the previous colloquium with Prof. Mutandwa which was cancelled due to technical problems.