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Decision enhancement for poultry farmers in East Africa

PhD ceremony:Ms R.P. (Rebecca) Tumwebaze
When:November 03, 2016
Start:12:45
Supervisors:H.G. Sol, J. Lubega
Where:Academy building RUG
Faculty:Economics and Business
Decision enhancement for poultry farmers in East Africa

Increased attention to economic viability towards agriculture has seen commercial poultry farms in East Africa evolve from the previously common small holder/backyard poultry production operations. These poultry farms have however been faced with numerous challenges including high disease prevalence, high mortalities, compromised inputs and lack of relevant information which have largely been attributed to poultry farmers’ inadequate management competence of commercial operations. These challenges define the complex and volatile environment in which poultry farmers in East Africa make decisions. This research was based on the premise that successful management of poultry farms can only be attained with effective and timely decision making by farmers. The key research question in this study therefore was “How can decision making in poultry farms in East Africa be enhanced?

The research began on a note of getting an in-depth understanding of the context of decision making in poultry farm operations. The researcher gained sound theoretical and practical knowledge on decision making among poultry farmers. Against this background, the researcher sought to improve poultry farm management using the notion of decision enhancement which is grounded in the decision support systems theory. The Poultry Decision Enhancement Studio (PDES) was designed specifically to enhance decision making of poultry farmers throughout their operations. PDES is based on the continuous interaction of the five inter-related processes of poultry farmers in East Africa in relation to the three major perspectives of a decision enhancement studio (i.e. people, processes and technology) as pointed out by Keen and Sol (2008). The five processes are Planning, Purchasing, Rearing, Marketing and Collaboration. PDES was instantiated into a virtual facilitative environment for poultry farmers and the stakeholders in the poultry industry.  PDES was evaluated based on the parameters of usefulness and usability among poultry farmers through practical experimentation as well as experts from the domains of poultry farm management and Information systems. On the overall, participants perceived PDES as usable and useful for decision enhancement in poultry farm management.