|Authors: ||N. Taragola, D. Van Lierde, E. Gelb|
|Keywords: ||ICT adoption, horticulture, EFITA questionnaire, Flanders|
Sustainable agricultural and rural development are currently issues of universal strategic importance.
Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) have the potential to deliver significant economic, social and environmental benefits.
In this context constraints for ICT adoption in agriculture and horticulture are reviewed.
Past surveys of the European Federation for Information Technology in Agriculture (EFITA) indicate that despite potential ICT benefits adoption of ICT in agriculture remains a significant problem.
The EFITA surveys in the form of questionnaires were conducted every two years since 1999 and provide a baseline for two comparative surveys in horticulture, one in 2004 at the symposium on horticultural economics and management, organised in Berlin by the International Society for Horticultural Sciences (ISHS) and another one in 2005 organised by the Institute for Agricultural and Fisheries Research (ILVO) on a sample of 208 horticultural businesses in Flanders.
Comparing their results provides insights which suggest remedial steps to expedite ICT adoption and prioritize the necessary research.
The ISHS survey results identified the following comparable ICT adoption constraints: “end user (ICT) proficiency”, “lack of training”, “ICT benefit awareness”, “time”, “cost of technology”, “system integration” and “software availability”. Participants from developed countries stressed as constraints : “no perceived economic benefits”, “do not understand the value of ICT”, “not enough time to spend on technology” and “how to get a benefit from the use of ICT”. Respondents from developing countries stressed the importance of “cost of technology” and “lack of technological infrastructure”. The results of the ILVO questionnaire are in line with the ISHS survey and the EFITA surveys over time, indicating a shift from ICT technical proficiency as a limiting factor towards the lack of understanding how to get a benefit from the various ICT options.
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