The e-agriculture research landscape in South Africa : a systematic literature review
The objective of this study was to determine the current status of e-agriculture research in the South African context. A systematic literature review was used to gather and analyse data in alignment with the objective of the study. The researcher used keywords and combined search keywords on web search engines and digital databases to obtain pertinent research papers. The scope of the study was limited to the period 2000-2016. The books, theses, conference papers and journal articles identified as pertinent to conduct the study, amounted to 114 in number. The analysis of the study described the focus of research papers, research methods, research approaches, theoretical lenses, units of analysis and observation, levels of analysis, historical development, and major concepts and disciplines used by authors in their studies. The study also sought to discover the year of publication and assessment of searchability of the papers. The results indicate that 13 papers (11.4%) were published in the first five years (2000- 2004) and 51 papers (44.7%) in the last five years (2012-2016) of the delimited period for the study. The results of the study further indicate that the application of geographic information systems (GISs) towards improving agriculture was the most prominent eagriculture research area in South Africa (27 papers, 23.6%), followed by the use of satellite enhancing agriculture (26 papers, 22.8%). E-government direct services, mobile in agriculture, and agricultural information systems were the least prominent e-agriculture research areas in South Africa with a contribution of two papers (1.8%) each. The results of this study show that information mapping was the most used research method by researchers in their studies (57 papers, 50%), followed by the case study method with 31 papers (27.1%). The results further denote that the least used research method was industry reports with no mention of it in any of the pertinent papers, followed by grounded theory with two papers (1.7%). Interpretivism was the most used research approach by researchers (six papers, 5.2%) during the period 2000-2016. The findings of this study clearly show that researchers still need to address certain issues or problems regarding e-agriculture in South Africa in order to improve the agricultural sector. The contribution of the study is to understand the importance of enhancing research capability and socio-economic transformation of farmworkers and farmers through enhanced communication of agriculture research knowledge in the area of agricultural informatics. A foundation for further studies was created for continuous e-agriculture research in South Africa.
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