Enhancing Crop Production in Zimbabwe Through the use of Information and Communication Technology

Nleya S.M, Nyathi.T.V. and Kokera.N. Computer Science Department, National University of Science &Technology, Box AC 939, Ascot, Bulawayo, Zimbabwe Tel: 263(9)282842, Fax: 263(9)682803 {Snleya1957, tvnyathi} @nust.ac.zw&nkokera@gmail.com *1Nleya S.M for Correspondence

Key words: Agriculture, crop, production information system, competency

Abstract

Agriculture forms the backbone of Zimbabwe’s economy and accounts for 17% of the GDP. Agricultural production is ideally considered to be the gate-pass to food security .The National Information and Communications policy encourages the adoption and use of Information and communications Technologies as a way of contributing directly to food security at national and household levels. In this paper we demonstrate how crop production can be enhanced through the use of Information and communication using a prototype web based crop information system which implores internet web technologies to deliver information and services to users. The web based information system empowers the resource poor farmers with up to date knowledge and information on crops and their varieties to be produced in each of the five farming regions by farmers. The system also provides information about agricultural technologies for crop improvement, pest control, soil and climatic requirements, best practices, markets, sources of finance and related inputs. The system thus improves the competency of the farmer by speeding up the circulation of agricultural information, affording easy access to systems of technology by the farmer, production efficiency resulting in a quality crop as well as access to national and international markets. The system is easily affordable to both the large and small scale farmer.