The Use of e-voucher as an input distribution system by small scale farmers in Chongwe district, Zambia: An adult education perspective
This study sought to explore the use of e-voucher as an input distribution system by small scale farmers in Chongwe district. The objectives of the study were to: establish the extent to which small scale farmers used e-voucher as an input distribution system, identify adult education methods used in the dissemination of information on e-voucher, establish challenges faced by small scale farmers and providers of e-voucher and suggest strategies aimed at addressing challenges faced in the use of e-voucher. The study was guided by the diffusion of innovation theory. Using a descriptive survey research design to generate answers to the research questions, a sample of 30 participants was purposively selected. This comprised 26 small scale farmers, 2 programme officers from the Zambia National Farmers’ Union and 2 from the Zambia National Commercial Bank. Data were collected through interview guides and focus group discussions, and analysis was through thematic content analysis. The study revealed that most small scale farmers were accessing farming inputs of their choice through the use of e-voucher. It also revealed that adult education methods used in the dissemination of information among small scale farmers on e-voucher included radio programmes, door-to-door visits by extension workers and farmer meetings. The study further showed that challenges faced by small scale farmers and providers of e-voucher included inadequate and delayed funding, slow loading and activation of e-cards and late delivery of farming inputs. Other challenges included late replacement of lost pin numbers and language barrier. Proposed strategies aimed at addressing challenges faced in the use of e-voucher were that areas should be serviced by specific focal persons; timely loading and activated of e-cards and delivery of farming inputs. The study recommended that the government should adequately fund banks; designated officers should handle e-voucher; farmer awareness campaigns should be done at farmer cooperatives level to enhance farmer participation and dissemination of information on e-voucher should be done in local languages.