Potential of Bluetooth Wireless Technology as a Tool for Agricultural Extension

  •  Dieudonne Baributsa    


Information and Communication Technology (ICT) provides opportunities to improve farmers’ livelihoods. Bluetooth wireless technology (BWT) is a simple cellphone-based innovation that can significantly reduce the cost of disseminating information to farmers. A two-stage survey was conducted in Ghana in 2011 and 2012 to: (i) appraise cellphone ownership, cost, and the existence of BWT, and (ii) assess the potential of using BWT to disseminate information to farmers on grain storage technology. The survey was conducted in four districts in the Northern and Ashanti regions of Ghana. Results of the appraisal study show that there were 27 cellphones for about 1,000 people, with 20% owned by women. The majority (78%) of phones were purchased new for $20 or less. About half (48%) of the cellphones had BWT. The follow-up study showed that most respondents learned (91.7%) and received (88.3%) the videos on grain storage (Purdue Improved Crop Storage-PICS) technology via BWT from extension agents. Three-fourths of the respondents watched the PICS videos on their cellphones six times or more. Among those who received the PICS videos, each viewed and shared it with nine and seven more people, respectively. The overall results support the effective use of BWT embedded in basic phones as a tool for conveying agricultural extension messages to farmers. Development partners and extension services should take advantage of BTW embedded in basic phones to improve access to agricultural and health information.

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