A Smart Agricultural Knowledge Management Framework to Support Emergent Farmers in Developmental Settings

Albertus A. K. Buitendag, Frederik Gerhardus Hattingh
Interdisciplinary Journal of Information, Knowledge, and Management  •  Volume 19  •  2024  •  pp. 016

This research aims to develop a smart agricultural knowledge management framework to empower emergent farmers and extension officers (advisors to farmers) in developing countries as part of a smart farming lab (SFL). The framework utilizes knowledge objects (KOs) to capture information and knowledge of different forms, including indigenous knowledge. It builds upon a foundation of established agricultural knowledge management (AKM) models and serves as the cornerstone for an envisioned SFL. This framework facilitates optimal decision support by fostering linkages between these KOs and relevant organizations, knowledge holders, and knowledge seekers within the SFL environment.

Emergent farmers and extension officers encounter numerous obstacles in their knowledge operations and decision-making. This includes limited access to agricultural information and difficulties in applying it effectively. Many lack reliable sources of support, and even when information is available, understanding and applying it to specific situations can be challenging. Additionally, extension offices struggle with operational decisions and knowledge management due to agricultural organizations operating isolated in silos, hindering their access to necessary knowledge. This research introduces an SFL with a proposed AKM process model aimed at transforming emergent farmers into smart, innovative entities by addressing these challenges.

This study is presented as a theory-concept paper and utilizes a literature review to evaluate and synthesize three distinct AKM models using several approaches. The results of the analysis are used to design a new AKM process model.

This research culminates in a new AKM process framework that incorporates the strengths of various existing AKM models and supports emergent farmers and extension officers to become smart, innovative entities. One main difference between the three models analyzed, and the one proposed in this research, is the deployment and use of knowledge assets in the form of KOs. The proposed framework also incorporates metadata and annotations to enhance knowledge discoverability and enable AI-powered applications to leverage captured knowledge effectively. In practical terms, it contributes by further motivating the use of KOs to enable the transfer and the capturing of organizational knowledge.

A model for an SFL that incorporates the proposed agricultural knowledge management framework is presented. This model is part of a larger knowledge factory (KF). It includes feedback loops, KOs, and mechanisms to facilitate intelligent decision-making. The significance of fostering interconnected communities is emphasized through the creation of linkages. These communities consist of knowledge seekers and bearers, with information disseminated through social media and other communication integration platforms.

Practitioners and other scholars should consider implementing the proposed AKM process model as part of a larger SFL to support emergent farmers and extension officers in making operational decisions and applying knowledge management strategies.

The AKM process model is only presented in conceptual form. Therefore, researchers can practically test and assess the new framework in an agricultural setting. They can also further explore the potential of social media integration platforms to connect knowledge seekers with knowledge holders.

The proposed AKM process model has the potential to support emergent farmers and extension officers in becoming smart, innovative entities, leading to improved agricultural practices and potentially contributing to food security.

This paper discusses the AKM process model in an agrarian setting, but it can also be applied in other domains, such as education and the healthcare sector. Future research can evaluate the model’s effectiveness and explore and further investigate the semantic web and social media integration.

smart farming lab, emergent farmers, extension officers, agricultural knowledge management, AKM process model, knowledge objects, social media integration
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