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Abstract

Background: Poultry farmers need different information in order to improve their farming and contribute to the national economy. Information on poultry management is usually obtained from family members, friends, and neighbors with previous experience, extension officers, researchers, Television, radio, web and mobile based agriculture information systems. Promoting utilisation of vetted sources of information is envisaged to support poultry farmers in making informed decisions about management practices. This in turn will result into increased poultry productivity.

Objective: Many researches have been done to evaluate various information sources but few have been done to evaluate the mobile based extension, advisory and learning system here referred to “UshauriKilimo”. This study particularly assessed poultry farmers’ information needs and extension advices given through the agro-advisory system among farmers in Kilosa district of Tanzania. The objective was to determine poultry farmers’ information needs submitted through “UshauriKilimo” and resulting advisory responses.

Method: ICT based agro-advisory system 'UshauriKilimo' was deployed and used by poutry famrers for more than two years. The data from it were used to assess poultry farmers information needs. Only questions and advisory responses addressing poultry farming were analysed. These data were imported into the Qualitative Data Analysis Software, MAXQDA Plus 12 (Release 12.2.0) where they were coded, counted and analysed. Frequencies of variables were performed during content analysis.

Results: More than 340 farmers used “UshauriKilimo” for the period of two years. There were more than 1500 questions and answers which contained 320 questions related to poultry farming. Most of the poultry farmers who used “UshauriKilimo” sought information on health management aspects (diseases transmission, diagnosis, treatment and control); egg production; chicken feeds and feeding; chicken breeds and housing aspects. Information on markets was the least used.

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