International Journal of Agricultural Extension and Rural Development

International Journal of Agricultural Extension and Rural Development ISSN 3254-5428 Vol. 4 (1), pp. 274-281, January, 2017. © International Scholars Journals

Full Length Research Paper

Agricultural knowledge centers: opportunities and challenges for ICT-enabled knowledge management in Ethiopia

Mamusha Lemma* and Beamlak Tesfaye

International Livestock Research Institute, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

E-mail: mamusha.lemma@gmail.com

Received 15 May, 2016; Revised 16 June, 2016; Accepted 23 June, 2016 and Published 25 January, 2017

Abstract

Based on empirical data collected through semi-structured questionnaires and focus group discussions, the paper presents the experience of the Livestock and Irrigation Value Chains for Ethiopian Smallholders (LIVES) project in working with agricultural development offices (ADOs)to establish and manage agricultural knowledge centers (AKCs) at zonal and district levels in four regions. The AKCs are basic knowledge infrastructure established to enable ADOs to effectively manage their organizational knowledge and improve access to and use of new knowledge and information. The paper finds that ownership and leadership by ADOs is critical to create demand for and to ensure proper management and utilization of the knowledge centers. The findings showed that knowledge management is constrained by organizational and social barriers. While there was a high demand from extension staff to use the knowledge centers, limited awareness and ownership by ADOs created narrow space for the staff to use the knowledge centers. Finally, the paper concludes that enhancing the use of knowledge centers requires a behavioral change in the broader institutional context of the extension service, which needs to recognize its role as a knowledge broker and provider.

Keywords: Knowledge management, agricultural knowledge centers, extension services, Ethiopia