Information and communication technologies (ICTs) are widely acknowledged as effective means of sharing knowledge and information and thus contributing to socio-economic growth, especially in rural areas of developing countries. Agriculture is the leading sector of the economy in most developing countries, and thus it is essential for socio-economic growth because most of the rural poor depend on agriculture for their livelihoods. In Tanzania, agriculture is the base for economic growth as it is a major source of the country’s food security, employs 70% of the work force, accounts for more than 25.7% of gross domestic product (GDP), and provides 30.9% of exports.
ICT interventions can increase quick access to relevant information and knowledge which may lead to agricultural growth in developing countries, especially in the rural areas. Quick access to relevant knowledge and information can enable smallholder farmers to make informed decisions regarding their agricultural production activities, marketing of their agricultural produce for better profits, and benefiting from health and disease prevention advice. Agricultural sector is significant for socio-economic growth because most of the rural poor in developing countries depend on agriculture. For instance, Tanzanian agriculture is dominated by smallholder farmers (approximately 85% of the arable land) who cultivate an average farm size of between 0.2 and 2.0 hectares and keep an average of 50 head of cattle.
However, small-scale farmers are deprived from accessing information on current and local market prices or timely need based information (advisory or time tested) which can enable them to decide in harvesting the crops. The predominant approach of agricultural extension and outreach programs in developing countries, is based on the assumption that knowledge is created by scientists, to be packaged and spread by extension and to be adopted by farmers, and thus it is not tailored to farmers’ needs. Hence, farmers experience low crop yields, increased wastage (unwanted and ill-advised inputs), slowed down market efficiency, and reduced income.