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Agricultural intermediaries in the agricultural sector play an important role of providing linkages between relevant value chain players and thereby introduce dynamism in the agricultural system. The intermediaries include extension agents, input and output dealers, microfinance institutions, equipment suppliers, and seed companies. While some may confine themselves to one role, others play multiple roles. Information and Communication technologies are increasingly being used by intermediaries in Kenya in their diverse roles but no empirical data is available to quantify the extent of this usage. This study therefore sought to assess the extent of ICT use among input dealers, output dealers and extension agents in Kenya. Data were collected from three intermediary categories in three counties with contrasting farming scales; Uasin Gishu (large scale), Tharaka Nithi (small scale) and Nairobi and Kiambu (intensive small scale) with the last two being combined into one due to their similar farming characteristics.

In conclusion, the study revealed that, there was variable use of ICTs by the three intermediaries in Kenya both in terms of tools owned and how they are used. Reasons cited for increased ICT included improved network and reduced costs of some of the tools. Use of ICTs during the Covid-19 pandemic made service delivery easier especially for extension agents who conducted trainings. This is important especially for the public extension service where budgets and personnel resources have decreased and use of ICT to reach the value chain stakeholders would provide a solution. For increased use of ICTs to be realized, there is need for incentives such as reduction in costs of data transmission, tax reduction on price of ICT gadgets, improved country wide network connectivity and establishment of ICT hubs in the rural areas. These and other area specific measures will help to increase usage of ICT tools by intermediaries with resultant positive effect on the agricultural sector.

This study was published as FARA Research Report 6 (07): Pp 47.