Who wins: Rural Agriculture or Mobile Sector?

Is rural agriculture a big business opportunity for the mobile industry or the mobile industry is a big business opportunity for rural agriculture? This is the question that I continue to grapple with as I browse through presentations at the mAgri event during the just ended GSMA Mobile World Congress 2012 in Barcelona, Spain, and…

ICTs for “M&E” Component of the Ag. Value Chain

Access to timely and accurate data on farmers, their households and farm activities is key for policy, decision-making and quality control for development organizations, national governments, funding agencies, project implementers, field workers, researchers and farmers themselves. Demographic data (past and present) on farm households such as land sizes, assets owned, types of soil, weather conditions,…

How can we empower rural women with bamboo tablet PC designed for “Men”?

The theme for this years’ International Women’s Day celebration is “Empower Rural Women – End Hunger and Poverty.” This is in recognition of the critical role and contribution women, especially rural women are playing globally to enhance agricultural and rural development, improve food security and help reduce poverty levels in their communities. Unfortunately, there are others…

ICTs for “Productivity” Component of the Ag. Value Chain

Smallholder farmers face agricultural productivity challenges in the areas of under-investment in R&D; the actual processes of agricultural research and communication; access and utilization of agricultural inputs such as seeds, fertilizer, agrochemicals, etc. by farmers; and accurate information on field production practices. On the other hand, success stories of the use of information and communication…

Mapping ICT Solutions along the Ag. Value Chain

The agriculture and food security value chain system is known for its complexity with varied actors at various levels interacting among themselves and with their external environment to provide sustainable food security situation across the world. In this complex system, the key for success depends on how well the value chain actors collaborate and coordinate…

ICTs for “Marketing” Component of the Ag Value Chain

Markets for agricultural products is another critical component of the value chain – i.e from the time the produce is ready for harvest till it reaches the final consumer. A number of activities take place within this period from storage, processing, transportation, retail, and wholesale that add value to the produce. These value adding processes…

AMIS-Cameroon for UN’s MDGs 1, 3, 7, and 8

AMIS-Cameroon is bridging information gap in the African country of Cameroon by connecting farmers with vital information through SMS thereby boosting sustainable agricultural activities that promote the UN’s Millennium Development Goals 1 (Eradicate Extreme Poverty and Hunger), 3 (Promote Gender Equality and Empower Women), 7 (Ensure environmental Sustainability), and 8 (Develop a Global Partnership for…

Can ICTs help reduce side-selling? Challenges with financing the Ag Value Chain

I was part of a recent USAID After Hours Seminar Series (even though this particular one was a breakfast event) sponsored by the Microenterprise Development office on the topic “Viewing Value Chain and Household Finance From a Demand Perspective.” The discussion was led by Geoffrey Chalmers, a senior technical advisor at ACDI/VOCA and Jason Agar,…

Social Media @ IFAD’s 2012 GC Meeting

The 35th Session of International Fund for Agriculture and Development (IFAD’s) Governing Council (GC) is currently underway with innovative use of social media for more inclusive, interactive and impact-oriented forum. The 2-day event with the theme “Sustainable smallholder agriculture: feeding the world, protecting the planet” takes off officially on Wednesday at IFAD’s headquarters in Rome…

Nigeria to join Zambia for e-voucher: who’s next?

A new plan using information and communication technologies (ICTs) to facilitate smooth delivery of inputs to farmers will soon be implemented in Nigeria. “With this system, we can trace if somebody is supplying bad fertilizer, supplying sand instead of fertilizer; we know where it comes from as opposed to the old system,” said the Nigerian…