Exploitation of Current Developments in ICT to Enhance Implementation of “Kilimo Kwanza” in Tanzania — Yuda Julius Chatama
This paper describes how current developments in information and communication technologies (ICTs) can be exploited to enhance a smooth implementation of Kilimo Kwanza (Agriculture First) in Tanzania. It defines Kilimo Kwanza and provides a brief overview of the historical development of ICT in Tanzania. The use of ICT can enhance implementation of Kilimo Kwanza through improved quality of research and training to stakeholders, reduced administrative costs and enhanced effectiveness and efficiency in information access, retrieval, processing, storing and dissemination. The paper highlights constraints limiting effective use of ICT in Tanzania and makes recommendations if the benefits of ICT in implementation of Kilimo Kwanza are to be realized.
The concept of ICT
What is ICT? ICT permeates the business environment: it underpins the success of modern corporations and it provides governments with an efficient infrastructure. At the same time, ICT adds value to the processes of learning, and in the organization and management of learning institutions (UNESCO, 2002).
To define information and communication technology (ICT) two other terms, namely informatics (computing science) and informatics technology, need to be defined. UNESCO defines informatics as the science dealing with the design, realization, evaluation, use, and maintenance of information processing systems, including hardware, software, organizational and human aspects, and the industrial, commercial, governmental and political implications of these. Informatics technology is the technological applications (artifacts) of informatics in society. Therefore, ICT is defined as the combination of informatics technology with other related technologies, specifically communication technology (UNESCO, 2002).
There are various definitions of ICT proposed by different scholars and authorities. Information and communication technology refers to technologies designed to access, process and transmit information (Weigel and Waldburger, 2004). The United Nations Development Programme (2001) defined ICT as the building block of the networked world. Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA) views ICT as the main instrument for information and knowledge transfer both globally and within countries.
For the purpose of this work, ICT is taken to mean various technologies used to collect, store, order, edit, process and pass on information necessary in implementation of Kilimo Kwanza (Agriculture First). This information may occur in different forms such as data, sound and vision. Computers, the Internet, CD–ROM, scanners, mobile phones, and video conferencing may all be considered to be forms of ICT. In the past, the information aspects of these technologies were emphasized (Information Technology–IT). In recent years, on the other hand, the communication aspects became very important; that is why the new ICT concept is used.
There are four characteristics which attempt to define ICTs: these are interactivity, permanent availability, global reach, and reduced costs for many. That is to say, ICTs are effective two–way communication technologies; they are available 24 hours a day; they remove geographical distances; and they shrink the relative costs of communication to a fraction of previous value (Gerster and Zimmermann, 2003). What ICT primarily has done so far is to give us a means of effective storing/sorting of information and also new fast ways of communication as well as creating new types of interactive learning media.
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