Food security in Africa continues to be a big a challenge and one of the key constraints is lack of information on many facets of agricultural research and development to the key sector stakeholders. However, in recent years a wide range of Information Communication and Technology (ICT) platforms and mechanisms have been used across Africa in enhancement of exchange of agricultural related information for increased productivity and improvement of marketing of crops and livestock products. The purpose of the review paper was therefore to assess the nature, diversity and impacts of ICTs used in African agriculture and also highlight the key challenges hindering more widespread use of the technologies. A Kenyan case study has been used to typify the integrated nature of ICTs use in agriculture. The paper reveals that there is a very wide range of ICTs being used and these include web portals, mass media and different types of mobile telephone based services. Of all the ICTs, the radio service is the most effective in reaching a wide cross-section of agricultural research and development fraternity. It is evident that ICTs are making impact in increasing productivity and marketing of products but there are still several constraints including unconducive policy environment, insufficient communication infrastructure and inadequate farmer level capacities to use available ICTs. Public policy should therefore address these challenges and constraints within the sphere of rural development in general and agricultural productivity in particular. The review concludes that when mobile phones are combined with other ICT platforms such as mass media, the impact on agriculture is likely to be very high.
Key words: Information Communication and Technology (ICTs), African agriculture, agricultural research and development, mass media, mobile telephones.
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