Smallholder farmers' use of mobile phone services in central Kenya

N. T. Krell, S. A. Giroux, Z. Guido, C. Hannah, S. E. Lopus, K. K. Caylor, T. P. Evans

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

82 Scopus citations


Information and services delivered through mobile phones, ‘m-services', have transformative potential to provide rural African farmers with important agro-meteorological information. However, a greater understanding is needed regarding the types of m-services available to farmers, how farmers access that information, and possible factors affecting m-service use. With a study of smallholder farming communities in central Kenya, we examine factors affecting the likelihood of Kenyan farmers’ adoption of m-services specifically related to agriculture and livestock information, buying and selling products, and alerts about agricultural or livestock activities. According to a survey of 577 farming households, 98% of respondents own a mobile phone. Approximately 25% use it to access information about agriculture and livestock, 23% access information about buying and selling products, and 18% receive alerts. Personal smartphone ownership increases the likelihood of m-services use (p <.001), as does membership in farmer organizations (p <.001). We find that age and income are not significantly related to m-service use, and we discuss this result in terms of intersections between smartphone ownership, gender, and education. Consistent with prior qualitative research, our quantitative results further support the need for m-services providers to design for basic or feature phone users for improved dissemination of agro-meteorological information.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)215-227
Number of pages13
JournalClimate and Development
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2021


  • ICT
  • Kenya
  • Mobile technologies
  • apps for agriculture
  • mobile services

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Global and Planetary Change
  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Development


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