Capacity Building, ICTs and Gender Issues in Ag. Value Chains

Relation between Farming, Research, Extension, Gender & ICTs (Photo Credit: Ben Addom)  In this post, I bring together two arguments as the basis for addressing the challenge of capacity building in agriculture through the emerging value chain approach, and the role Information Communications Technologies (ICTs) can play to increase food security in some of these…

From ICT4Ed to ICT4Ag: The Potential of EasySMS Mobile App!

Photo Credit: EasySMS EasySMS mobile app intends to enable illiterate people to “read” SMS on Windows Phone 7; understand the meaning of each word of the SMS; and write SMS using icons with sound support and SMS recomposition from previous SMSs. It is a Windows phone application which empowers illiterate people to read, compose, send…

AGRONET: Connecting small producers to information in Colombia

Photo Credit: Agronet-Colombia AGRONET, a National Agricultural Information and Communication Network was developed with the goal to connect small producers in Colombia and reduce the digital divide through public private partnerships and growing broadband penetration in rural municipalities. A Government of Colombia’s initiative under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development in collaboration with the United…

Another App for Smallholder Farmers: M-Farm

Photo Credit: M-Farm M-Farm is an award winning mobile solution for agribusinesses and farmers currently being piloted in Kenya. It is an SMS and web-based application focused on improving weaknesses in the value chain. It is a transparency tool for Kenyan farmers to get information pertaining to the retail price of their products, buy their…

Africa Monitoring System (AMS) for Sustainable Food Security

Photo Credit: TV Pro Gear An initiative being co-led by Conservation International (CI), the Council for Scientific & Industrial Research (CSIR), South Africa and the Earth Institute (EI), Columbia University, has been launched with a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The Africa Monitoring System (AMS) tool will track, monitor and diagnose agricultural…

8Villages: A new social network app for smallholder farmers

Photo Credit: 8Villages.com One of the new ICT solutions that I have discovered and love to share with agricultural commodity value chain implementers is 8Villages, a mobile platform that links farmers to their communities of peers, input suppliers, and their external business partners. Below is a short discussion that I had with the Founder and…

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…