Design and implement a crop management system for farmers in Chongwe district of Zambia.

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Chikanwa, Gregory Kakoma
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The University of Zambia.
This article highlights the important role of agricultural extension services for Zambian farmers, despite challenges in reaching remote areas. The government of the republic of Zambia has been using ICT to provide rural and remote farmers with e-Extension services through the Ministry of Agriculture website to help in agricultural planning. This application supplements traditional methods, offering a comprehensive solution to enhance crop production in Chongwe District. The growth of Zambia's agriculture sector relies on timely detection and treatment of crop diseases, with the support of agriculture extension officers but the services were hindered by impact COVID-19's. Zambia's government is countering this by adopting electronic extension services, supported by provision of e-Extension services. Insufficient extension officers and reduced funding lead to inadequate support for farmers in Chongwe District. Additionally, the existing e-extension portal currently being used lacks user-friendliness and comprehensive data, which affects crop management. The purpose of this study was to develop and implement a crop management system that will support agriculture production in Chongwe District, providing expert information on crop production and management. The study examined how extension officers in Chongwe district deliver services to remote farmers, assessing current e-extension services' effectiveness and seeking ways to improve user experience. The literature review provided a historical overview of farming practices and explored web-based extension services' emergence, comparing various mobile applications being used by farmers. However, limitations in existing systems, such as lack of comprehensive information and focus on specific crops, were identified. The efforts to enhance extension services in Zambia using technology, that addresses issues like crop management and disease were identified. Studies identified the integration of video tutorials into e-extension services was for agricultural education and training. Videos offer visual demonstration, efficient learning, and standardization of information, improving adoption of best practices among farmers. Embracing digital solutions like mobile applications and video tutorials enhances agricultural extension services, increasing crop production and supporting farmers' livelihoods. Recent developments in Precision Agriculture (PA) sparked academic interest in Farming Management Information Systems (FMIS), aiming to boost efficiency. Research focuses on Decision Support Systems (DSS), computational models, and systems which are user friendly. Usability is key for adoption, however designing user interfaces faces challenges due to dispersed end-users with limited IT expertise. Microservice architecture suggests use of agile methodology to develop FMIS. Agile ethodologies enable swift adaptation to dynamic conditions, fostering communication and collaboration among stakeholders. Developers use Agile methodology to create applications in short bursts, focusing on developing, coding, and testing features to deliver a usable product at the end of each sprint. In the System Development Process, requirements analysis involves meetings with agricultural experts to understand existing systems and define scope. In this study the researcher held meetings with the agriculture extension experts from the ministry of to develop a new system for the farmers in Chongwe with features user-friendly interfaces, multimedia integration, mobile accessibility, and tailored content for local farmers, bridging the gap between tradition farming and the use of ICT to enhance productivity and farmers livelihoods.
Thesis of Master of Engineering in ICT .