Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Youth Development and Agricultural Education

First Advisor

Roger L. Tormoehlen

Committee Chair

Roger L. Tormoehlen

Committee Member 1

Diedonne Barbutsa

Committee Member 2

Neil A. Knobloch


Mobile phone technology can be a useful tool to provide farmers with relevant and reliable agricultural information for critical farming decisions in developing countries such as Malawi. An increasing number of rural farmers have been faced with information asymmetry challenges due to some pitfalls in the extension systems. In addition, knowledge gaps on farmers’ use of mobile phone technology; their awareness and use of MAIS; and their preferred topics to be delivered using mobile platforms were identified. However, little was known on how farmers were using existing MAIS. This study’s aim was to explore the potential of providing mobile agricultural information services to farmers in Malawi’s Lilongwe District. The mixed research mode was used to capture information from 291 participants using a structured questionnaire. Data analysis was done using descriptive statistics in SPSS (Version 16) and thematic analysis. The study’s findings showed that only 14% of farmer participants were aware of MAIS, with only 12% and 6% using IVR and SMS services, respectively. The farmers expressed a strong desire for an integrated MAIS system with additional interactive approaches incorporated into existing extension programs. It was concluded that farmers were quite a bit motivated and optimistic to use MAIS with nearly half indicating willingness to pay for voice call and SMS text services. As per farmer’s perceptions on values of MAIS, it was recommended for service providers to increase awareness and seek farmers’ inputs on various topics.

Included in

Agriculture Commons