Exploring the Effect of Mobile Phone on Smallholder Farmers’ Livelihood

Isaac Mutwiri Mutunga


This article is based on a sequential exploratory mixed method research which carried in-depth interviews, content analysis, semi-structured participant observation, and administered a survey to 422 smallholder farmers in Machakos County in Kenya. The study was premised on combined concepts of information needs assessment (INAM), Sustainable Livelihood Framework (SLF), and ICT4D value chain analysis models to explore the effect of mobile phones on smallholder farmers’ livelihoods. The study found out that mobile phones are not used by smallholder farmers’ in the same way and therefore its effect on their livelihood is not uniform. On the one hand, mobile phone has negligible effect on subsistence smallholder farmers on-farm activities, and on the other hand, mobile phone usage has huge impact on market-oriented smallholder farming because it improves the relationships and interactions between the farmer and other rural livelihoods stakeholders.


Mobile phone; smallholder farmers; mixed method research; rural livelihood

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.15642/jki.2017.7.2.173-208


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