Emerging voices youth - ARDYIS (CTA)


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The new booklet published by the Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTA ACP-EU) features 20 young people and three organizations, that have been involved in the CTA youth project called ARDYIS (Agriculture Rural Development and Youth in the Information Society).
In addition to portraying authors and highlighting their perspectives on youth involvement in agriculture using ICTs, the document presents summaries of best essays submitted for the contest «Youth finding solutions to challenges in agriculture and rural development using ICTs!», organised in 2010; it also presents the results of the Youth in Agriculture Blog Competition (YoBloCo Awards) completed in 2012.

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Emerging voices youth - ARDYIS (CTA)

  1. 1. Published by the ACP-EU Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTA)© CTA, 2012About CTAThe Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTA) is a joint international institutionof the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Group of States and the European Union (EU). Its missionis to advance food and nutritional security, increase prosperity and encourage sound natural resourcemanagement in ACP countries. It provides access to information and knowledge, facilitates policydialogue and strengthens the capacity of agricultural and rural development institutions and com-munities. CTA operates under the framework of the Cotonou Agreement and is funded by the EU.For more information on CTA, visit www.cta.int or contact:CTAP.O. Box 3806700 AJ WageningenThe NetherlandsPhone: +31 (0) 317-467100Fax: +31 (0) 317-460067Email: cta@cta.intISBN 978-92-9081-502-0Essay summaries: Clare PedrickEditing: Anne DownesDesign & layout: Flame Design, South AfricaCTA editorial team: Ken Lohento, Giorgio Bellinzas, Jenessi MatturiAll rights reserved. All of the images, including the cover page, are the property of CTA or used withthe owner’s permission.
  2. 2. Shaping the future of ACP rural development using ICTs...
  3. 3. ACKNOWLEDGEMENTSCTA would like to thank the institutional members of the ARDYIS advisory committee for theirinvaluable support. African Network for Agriculture, Agroforestry, & Natural Resources Education African Youth Foundation Caribbean Farmers’ Network Forum for Agricultural Research in AfricaPacific Agriculture and Forestry Policy Network - Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) Yam-Pukri Association
  4. 4. CONTRIBUTORSThis synthesis was written based on essays produced by the following youth:• Sangwani Rebeccah Gondwe, Malawi, Southern Africa• Aristide Z. Adaha, Benin, West Africa• Maureen Agena, Uganda, Eastern Africa• Isaac Chanda, Zambia, Southern Africa• Riten Chand Gosai, Fiji, Pacific• Gabriel Dacko Goudjo, Cameroon, Central Africa• Tyrone Hall, Jamaica, Caribbean• Jason Haynes, St Vincent and Grenadines, Caribbean• Nawsheen Hosenally Bibi, Mauritius, Eastern Africa• Samuel Anthony Itodo, Nigeria, West Africa• Lloyld Johnson Jr., Jamaica, Caribbean• Samantha Kaye-Christie, Jamaica, Caribbean• Babatoundé Rivaldo Alain Kpadonou, Benin, West Africa• Gerald Mangena, Zimbabwe, Southern Africa• Chris Mwangi, Kenya, Eastern Africa• Euphrèm Akaffou N’Depo, Côte d’Ivoire, West Africa• Inoussa Traoré, Burkina Faso, West Africa• Raymond Erick Zvavanyange, Zimbabwe, Southern AfricaThe full versions of essays can be read on the ARDYIS website http://ardyis.cta.int The energy of youth can spark economies … The future belongs to them and they have a clear vision of the world weneed to build together: peace, the preservation of our beautiful planet, the opportunity to make a better life. – United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon|4 Emerging Voices in ICT and agriculture
  5. 5. Shaping the future of ACP rural development using ICTs... 5|
  6. 6. CONTENTSList of contributors 4Contents 6A message from the CTA Director, Michael Hailu 8Introduction 9Part 1 : Challenges experienced in agricultureand how to use ICT to tackle them 10Tracking thieves and market prices 12A united front for farmers 14Pests and prices 16More ICTs, fewer imports 18Part 2: How can ICTs be used to improve access to market foragricultural products from your country or region? 20Close ties, poor links 22Going high tech with sardine cans 24Using ICTs to bridge the agricultural extension gap and improve marketaccess in Nigeria 26Tackling information poverty in Fiji 28How can ICTs be used to improve market access foragricultural products from Benin? 30|6 Emerging Voices in ICT and agriculture
  7. 7. Towards a comprehensive market intelligence unit 32Improving ICTs, extending the market 34Farmers online in Zimbabwe 36ICTs hold the key for market access 38Planning ahead for improved market access 40Part 3: Story of a young producer or a youth living in a rural area, whouses ICT successfully or in an innovative way for his or her work 42Kamau: A farmer and a mobile banker 44Bold plans bear fruit 46Find the young farmer 48Against all odds 50Appendix: Winners of the YoBloCo Awards 52 Shaping the future of ACP rural development using ICTs... 7|
  8. 8. A MESSAGE FROM THE CTA DIRECTORShaping the future of agriculture and rural developmentA griculture in African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries faces many chal­ enges. lDe­ pite their countries’ heavy reliance on this s in ICT, there are therefore, new rationale and opportunities for linking agriculture and youth. Moreover, in rural areas, ICTs can help improvesector for economic growth, food security and youth livelihoods and reduce rural exodus.employment, young people perceive agricultureas an unattractive career option. The ARDYIS (Agriculture, Rural Development and Youth in the Information Society) project is one ofAgriculture accounts for over 50% of GDP in some CTA’s recent initiatives with ACP partners, notablycountries such as the Democratic Republic of Congo. created to improve ICT access for ru­ al youth. Its rThis, coupled with the high level of unemployment, aim is to raise awareness and streng­ hen the capac- tmeans that the need to secure the continued ity of young people, allowing them to contribute tointerest of youth in agriculture is imperative. agriculture and rural development through the use of ICTs. This booklet provides anThe majority of farmers today are overview and the results of theolder. A research study by the essay competition «Youth findingCaribbean Farmers’ Network (CaFAN) solutions to challenges in agricul-found that the average age of farm- ture and rural development usingers in the Caribbean is 45 years, with ICTs!», one of the many ARDYISthe majority being over 60 years of activities. Entries submittedage1. With a lack of youth to replace demonstrated that youth arethem, the future of agriculture is more and more interested in theuncertain. Youth unemployment is agricultural sector and support-a critical problem. In several coun- ing them will definitely have atries the number of young people strong impact in attracting moreout of work exceeds 50%. youth to rural areas.It is therefore evident that a well-supported agri- In addition to the ARDYIS project, CTA has alsocultural sector could present the ideal solution if embarked on other initiatives such as a project withit is transformed in the eyes of the younger gen- the FANRPAN (Food, Agriculture and Naturaleration. It must become attractive, viable and offer Resources Policy Analysis Network) to develop poli-real opportunities for income. cies for youth in southern Africa and initiatives to target young scientists. Through its youth initiatives,ICTs offer a good avenue for achieving this objec- CTA will contribute to the efforts of ACP govern-tive. These technologies are reaching every socio- ments to create employment and income for theeconomic segment, even in remote rural areas. youth in agriculture and related rural economies.They offer efficient tools for transforming theagriculture sector. As it’s recognized that young Michael Hailupeople spearhead the development of innovations CTA Director1 Caribbean Farmers’ Network – Source: www.cafan.org, CaFAN Youth in Agriculture Regional Workshop, 2010|8 Emerging Voices in ICT and agriculture
  9. 9. INTRODUCTION Fostering youth solutions...T he essay compe­ ition «Youth finding solutions t to challenges in agriculture and rural develop­ment using ICTs!» was an initia­ ive of the ARDYIS t Launched in June 2010, the competition has helped to create a collaborative framework for hundreds of young people and youth organiza-project, a frame­ ork of actions, which aims to w tions who are active or interested in the farmingimprove oppor­ unities for youth in agri­ ulture t c sector, in rural development and in the use ofand rural develop­ ent through the use of ICTs. m ICTs in that context. Different activities have been organized since then, including: trainingYouth, aged from 18 to 25 years old, were re­ uired q and exchange on the use of web 2.0 tools in agri-to submit entries in four categories. The first culture and rural development; a workshop oncategory asked them to present two agricultural agricultural entrepreneurship through ICTs, thechallenges and discuss how ICTs could be used Youth In Agriculture Blog Competition (YoBloCoto address them; the second category offers to Awards; see Appendix); the adoption of an advo-analyze how ICTs could be used for effective cacy document entitled “Call for Strongeradvocacy and lobbying to promote agriculture; Support for Youth Involvement in Agriculturethe third category targeted the use of ICTs to and ICT”; and networking and information dis-improve access to markets and the last category semination on opportunities. Many youth haveallowed them to tell the story of a young person attended conferences to strengthen their knowl-living in a rural area who has used ICT success- edge, and some even have secured employmentfully or in an innovative way (even if the experi- opportunities as a result.ence was not a success) for his/her work. Thesummaries of essays published here are The ARDYIS initiative is still at its early stagesgrouped into three sections, based on the initial and is refining its strategy and actions. We arefour categories. open to collaboration with all organizations inter- ested in these issues. I would like to seize thisWe have decided to share summaries2 of 18 of opportunity to thank the institutional membersthe best essays to highlight the solutions and of the project’s advisory committee, whose con-perspectives of some of the best young entrants. stant support has been crucial to the success ofShowcasing successful youth exposes those to this project. Thanks must also go to my colleaguesnew opportunities, motivates them, ultimately at CTA, in particular, Mrs Oumy Ndiaye (who asboosting their interests and those of their peers. head of department at CTA, played a central roleWe are certain that among these 18 young peo- in the establishment and operation of the initia-ple, whose essays have been highlighted in this tive), Thilda Chevouline, Giorgio Bellinzas, Theresebooklet, we have future leaders of ACP agricul- Burke and Jenessi Matturi. Some encouragingtural and rural development. Some of them are results have been achieved so far and more willalready making a difference in their communities be accomplished in the future.and they will certainly achieve more in thefuture. They are people to watch! Ken Lohento ICT4D Programme Coordinator2 For more information about the contest and to read the full versions of the best essays, please check: http://tinyurl.com/ ardyis-essay-documents Shaping the future of ACP rural development using ICTs... 9|
  10. 10. Tyrone Hall, overall winner of the ARDYIS Essay Competition 2010, receives histrophy from the hands of Dr. Ibrahim Assane Mayaki, CEO of the NEPAD Agency.
  11. 11. PART 1 Challenges experienced in agriculture and how to use ICT to tackle them Agricultural theft, crop pests and unpredictable weather con- ditions… these are just some of the challenges facing today’s ACP producers. Information and communication technologies tailored to their needs and budgets can offer some solutions – and help farmers introduce more sustainable practices, improve record-keeping and plan more efficient farm strategies.Shaping the future of ACP rural development using ICTs...
  12. 12. TRACKING THIEVES AND MARKET PRICES Tyrone Hall, Jamaica, Caribbean My main goal is to pio- neer a consultancy that spe- cializes in using communica- tion to improve development processes with respect to health, the environment and rural development.Im an unassuming but firm emerging re­ ear­ her s c tools and other assets. The evening patrol hasand development consultant from the Caribbean. become an essential ritual ever since agriculturalI grew up on the outskirts of Kingston, Jamaica’s theft – or praedial larceny to use its technicalcapital city. At 23 years old, I graduated with a name – began to spiral out of control. More thanmaster’s in International Development and 1 in 10 Jamaican farmers have been victims ofSocial Change from Clark University, USA. I’m agricultural theft, losing cattle, crops and equip-keen to integrate my training as a journalist with ment to crimes that are increasingly the workmy emerging expertise in development com- of organised gangs.munication and project management. More than one million farmers have sufferedMy favourite quote: “The young do not know indirect losses such as damage to crops byenough to be prudent, and therefore they attempt intruders. Each year, an estimated J$5 billionthe impossible – and achieve it, generation after ( 43 million) worth of crops and livestock isgeneration.” – Paul S. Buck stolen. Responses have ranged from hiring security guards to installing trained guardMy blog: http://www.ictworks.org/news/tyrone-hall dogs and the government has put in place stiffer penalties with a traceability system toEssay summary track the movement of food and animals. But these measures can only be taken once theD usk is approaching in the sleepy Jamaican village of Glengoffee, and farmer Lesliemakes his usual evening rounds to check his theft has happened and many exasperated producers have either been discouraged from investing in their businesses or have given upproperty. He patiently counts his cattle, scans farming altogether.his crops and makes a mental note of all his| 12 Emering Voices in ICT and agriculture | PART 1
  13. 13. Mobile Phone Alerts might want to ask: who has min carrot $? And the answer will quickly come back: farmer LeslieTechnology may offer some solutions. An elec- [978-5687] has the lowest priced carrots @ $10.tronic laser fence security alert system is one Farmers need never be out of touch with marketsuch innovative proposal. It consists of an invis- prices again if they use SMS ID.ible laser fence installed around a property,which triggers SMS messages or voice calls to Based on the original essay:mobile phones when an intruder crosses the line. “Tackling Jamaica’s two main agriculturalInvisible to the naked eye, it is undetectable by plagues with ICT: Praedial larceny and infor-outsiders and uses a medium that is both famil- mation asymmetries/poor marketing” byiar and widely available. Nearly two-thirds of the Tyrone Hall.population now has access to a mobile phone.Mobile phones may also hold the key to solvinganother problem critical to Jamaican farmers– poor market information and inadequate linksbetween producers and buyers. An SMS informa-tion database (SMS ID) would put the two sidesin touch, enabling farmers to post the price oftheir products via SMS or voice calls and retail-ers and middle-men or consumers to request thelowest prices for various products using thesame simple system. For example, farmer Lesliecould text prices for his produce that week: yam$100 or carrot $50. Meanwhile, buyers couldrequest prices by punching in the name of theproduct and a given price range – perhaps carrotminimum $? Or potato average $? Another buyerKey ReferencesClaxixte, G. (2001) Minister of Agriculture Outlines Thompson, S-A. (2008) Attacking PraedialFour-Pronged Strategy to Combat Praedial Larceny–Security costs adding to increasing foodLarceny, Press Release, December 19, 2001. bill, Jamaica Gleaner, June 4, 2008.Online, accessed August 2, 2010: http://www. Online, accessed July 26, 2010:slumaffe.org/Press_Release/Praedial_Larceny/ http://www.jamaica-gleaner.com/praedial_larceny.html gleaner/20080604/lead/lead4.html Shaping the future of ACP rural development using ICTs... 13 |
  14. 14. A UNITED FRONT FOR FARMERS Samantha Kaye-Christie, Jamaica, Caribbean While pursuing a degree in psychology at the University of the West Indies, I realized that the poverty levels in Jamaica have got worse. I think this is due to the lack of interest in the government in the agricultural sector.As a proud 20-year-old Jamaican young lady, I Essay summarytake pride in reminiscing on the achievements inmy life so far. I grew up in the rural community ofSandy Bay, Hanover. While attending secondaryschool [The Montego Bay High School for Girls] F armers need to be more united if agriculture is to thrive in the Jamaican parish of Hanover. That is the verdict of the chairman of the GreenI adopted a spirit that was geared towards vol- Island Cane Farmers’ Association, who claimsunteerism. This continued throughout my tertiary producers lack tools to communicate with eachlevel institution where I aligned myself with the other and with authorities and organizationsJunior Chamber International (JCI) organization that could support them. The once high levels ofto further fulfil service needs. productivity in the parish are now in decline. Farmers in Hanover complain of being neglectedI hope that the government will seek to enhance by the Ministry of Agriculture and say that theythis vital sector (which serves as a means of have no reliable channel through which to negoti-added employment), resulting in a reduction in ate conditions that affect their incomes. A 2009the levels of poverty. study found that more than half of the Jamaican farming community has access to a mobileMy favourite quote: phone. However, this system of communication“Excellence is an art won by training and habitu- has not proved sufficient to answer the needsation. We do not act rightly because we have of local producers.virtue or excellence, but we rather have thosebecause we have acted rightly. We are what we A more effective solution could be a small tel-repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act ecentre in the parish of Hanover, with accessbut a habit.” – Aristotle to an Intranet system to offer a constant, low- cost link between the Ministry and farmers. Skype could be part of the package, opening| 14 Emering Voices in ICT and agriculture | PART 1
  15. 15. the way to video conferences. The Intranet link into information useful to farmers and relayed towould also be a platform for farmers to them via the Internet. For example, data on soilexchange experiences and good practices, in assessment would help them to plan their plant-order to boost output. ing strategies and manage their land in a more efficient manner. For coastal management, GISTraining And Tourism could play a useful role in locating and quanti- fying coral reefs, to improve conservation andOne important consideration is that farming in protect fishery habitats. Naturally, all these initia-Jamaica is not considered to be a profession for tives will require investment and commitment.young people. Farmers are generally not well edu- But as a popular Jamaican saying goes: “If youcated. A 2006 survey found that 50.8% of want good yuh nose haffi run” [If you want good,Hanoverian small-scale farmers were aged 54 or you really have to sacrifice and work for it].more, and that none had continued their educationbeyond primary school. In order for ICTs to beeffectively used, most farmers will require training.One solution is to use touch screens with icons, farsimpler than standard systems. If well presented,the new technology may even attract more youngpeople to the farming sector in Hanover.ICTs also offer hope in addressing other problems,caused by the development of tourism facilitiesin the area. The building of hotels and other infra-structure needed to welcome visitors robs thefarming sector of valuable land and resources.The use of glass-bottomed boats to view coralreefs causes damage to them, depleting fisheriesand other marine resources as a result. Use of aGeographic Information System (GIS) could domuch to mitigate both problems. GIS helps usersto capture, store, analyse and present data for a Based on the original essay:specific location and would offer a means of view- “ICTs - Are they really the solution to challengesing variables that affect crop yield, soil erosion faced by Hanoverian farmers?” by Samanthaand drought risk. This data could be translated Kaye-Christie.Key ReferencesRichardson, D. (2003) ICTs – Transforming Waller, L. (2010) The mobile phone and the pos-Agricultural Extension? in: Report of the 6 th sibilities for Jamaican farmers, The Gleaner, MayConsultative Expert Meeting of CTA’s Observatory 5, 2010.on ICTs. Online, accessed December 16, 2011:Online, accessed December 16, 2011: http://www. http://www.jamaicagleaner.com/anancy.net/documents/file_en/WD8034.pdf gleaner/20100505/cleisure/cleisure3.html Shaping the future of ACP rural development using ICTs... 15 |
  16. 16. PESTS AND PRICES Jason Haynes, St Vincent and Grenadines, Caribbean I appreciate the use of ICT in agriculture and rural devel- opment and will accordingly continue to foster closer ties between my profession and those important areas.I am young, dynamic and versatile Vincentian from realising the full potential of agriculturewho is committed to the cause of advancing my in this fragile region. With 23 island statescountry, and the Caribbean region. I am passion- spread over a wide area, the Caribbean isate about bettering the lives of young people highly fragmented. ICTs offer considerablethrough capacity building and will continue to scope for addressing some of the region’s keychampion the cause of under-privileged youth.  problems, providing uniform solutions to even the most isolated areas.I am pursuing a Bachelors of Laws at the Univer­sity of the West Indies, but I’m scheduled to An agricultural information system (AIS) couldgraduate in a couple of months. In reality how- do much to improve farmers’ access to informa-ever, my passion is I.T. / computer science. In any tion on trends for prices and product demand.event, given that I am already in the profession, This would improve their negotiating position,I promise to do my best to better the lives of make them less vulnerable to over-pricing forthose whom I interact with. seeds, fertiliser and other inputs, and help them become better placed to make strategicMy blog: http://ictandthelaw.blogspot.com/ decisions about which crops to grow and where to sell them. A regional price information sys-My Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/ tem could collect data from main national mar-super.starjason kets and filter it out to local level through small information centres equipped with computersEssay summary and Internet access. In more isolated communi- ties, two-way or rural radio could be used toP est infestations and lack of reliable mar- ket information are two major hurdles forproducers in the Caribbean, preventing them broadcast market prices to a wider target audi- ence. Similar systems have already proved effective in some developing countries.| 16 Emering Voices in ICT and agriculture | PART 1
  17. 17. A case in point is Ghana’s e-Commerce project The sterile insect technique (SIT) is recom-which collects commodity prices in key markets mended environmentally friendly option forand makes the data available to rural farmers farmers. The technique involves sterilising fac-through a network of provincial offices. Add-on tory-reared male Caribbean fruit flies by irradia-components to such a system might include an tion and releasing large quantities into infestedinformation and online purchasing options for areas. When they mate with female fruit flies,farm implements, advice on how to cultivate and no offspring are produced, so populations aremanage certain crops and weather forecasts to gradually reduced and sometimes wiped out.help producers plan for extreme conditions. Over The Caribbean fruit fly causes massive damagethe past 6 years, hurricanes have destroyed to tropical and subtropical fruits across theentire crop plantations in Antigua and Barbuda region. CARDI research has revealed that theand caused US$305 million ( 224 million) worth pest is found in nearly one-hundred fruit species,of damage to agriculture in Belize. including citrus, guava, mangoes, French cherry, rose apple, peach and tropical almond.ICTs for bio-control Based on the original essay:To combat pest damage and crop disease – “Challenges experienced in the Caribbeanwhich have led to what the Caribbean Agri­ region related to agriculture or rural develop-cultu­ al Re­ earch De­ elopment Institute r s v ment and the use of ICTs to address them” by(CARDI) describes as a “frightening situation” Jason Haynes.– Internet-based decision support systems canbe useful tools for farmers. They can provideall the information needed to help producersselect the most appropriate pest control strat-egy, including pest identification, life cycles andpest distribution models linked to weathermonitoring systems. For maximum effect, suchsystems could offer details of bio-control meth-ods, backed up by ‘intelligent’ functions suchas e-learning tools and dynamic simulations ofcrop ecosystems.Key ReferencesClarke-Harris D., Fleischer S.J. (2003) “Sequential Hoy, M.A., Jeyaprakash, A., Clarke-Harris D. sampling and biorational chemistries for manage- Rhodes, L. (2007) “Molecular and field analyses ofment of lepidopteran pests of vegetable ama- the fortuitous establishment of Lipolexis oregmaeranth in the Caribbean”, Journal of Economic (Hymenoptera: Aphidiidae) in Jamaica as a naturalEntomology, Vol. 96, No. 3, pp. 798 – 804. enemy of the brown citrus aphid”, Biocontrol Science and Technology, Vol. 17, pp. 473 – 482 Shaping the future of ACP rural development using ICTs... 17 |
  18. 18. MORE ICTS, FEWER IMPORTS Nawsheen Hosenally Bibi, Mauritius, Eastern Africa The reason I’m studying agriculture is because I’m interested in global issues such as hunger, poverty and climate change, and my field of study enables me to contribute to making a positive impact on society.My name is Nawsheen Hosenally. I’m 21 years old find I am regularly using what I have learnt thereand from Mauritius. I’m a final year student at the in my studies and other professional work. WeUniversity of Mauritius, where I’m studying agri- are being notified about different opportunitiesculture and specializing in agricultural extension. for internship/scholarship/ competition, whichI joined the Agricultural Society of the University is exactly what we need.of Mauritius as secretary for 1 year and after thatI wanted to go further and joined AIESEC. My blog: http://nawsheenh.blogspot.com/Youth expect to have entrepreneurial opportuni- Essay summaryties in agriculture,, where they get the supportof the government/other organizations to starta business and contribute to the economy or geta job in the agricultural sector. Many youngsters I CTs could do much to help Mauritius achieve its goal of increasing agricultural output, while keeping production costs low and using more sus-have studied agriculture and have many ideas, tainable farming methods. The small island statebut due to lack of opportunities and incentives, is highly dependent on imports, producing justthey have simply changed their field of study. 23% of the food it needs. But a national campaign launched in 2008 to lower this level of depen-Participating in the ARDYIS project has been one dence must be flanked by a strategy to use com-of the best decisions I have taken in my life so munication technologies if it is to have any realfar. It started with the submission of the essay, impact. Crucially, the ICTs must be matched to theafter which all participants were registered in a conditions – and the budgets – of farmers.group for discussion forums where participantsshared our opinions/ideas on specific topics. This For smallholder producers, the mobile phone ishas increased my knowledge and interest in ICTs, the ideal tool. Most smallholders have a smallyouth and agriculture. Then, we took part in plot of land and are either illiterate or onlytraining on the use of Web 2.0 tools in Accra, attended primary school. The mobile phoneGhana which has proven to be very useful as I answers their needs perfectly, being simple and| 18 Emering Voices in ICT and agriculture | PART 1
  19. 19. inexpensive to use, with good network coverage ticated ICTs. Farming software can be used toin all rural areas. Yet to date, the only mobile- record and save farm records on computers, help-based agricultural service in use on the island is ing producers to plan their farms and lower theirthe SMS disease alert, provided by the Agri­ production expenses. GPS technology, alreadycultural Research and Extension Unit. It sends adopted by two sugar estates in Mauritius, can beSMS messages to registered planters, warning used to guide tractors in auto-pilot mode, cuttingwhen an outbreak of disease threatens a par- labour costs and making precision agriculture pos-ticular crop. Why stop with plant disease? How sible. The Internet can enable farmers to checkmany more services could be offered to farmers market prices and weather reports download tech-using mobile phones? What about adapting the nical guides and share information. With a blog orsystem to provide information on the price of wiki, farmers can easily interact with each otherinputs, weather updates, good agricultural prac- and find solutions to mutual problems. If the goaltices, animal health and husbandry and help with of making Mauritius more food secure is to bemarketing agricultural products? A good place achieved, all stakeholders involved in agricultureto start would be a database for quality seeds, – the public sector, NGOs, research and extensionso that any farmer wanting a particular seed – must make more use of ICTs. ICTs offer thewould only have to send a simple SMS to ask chance for them to work together with farmersabout availability and price. and find real solutions for Mauritian agriculture.Better book-keepingOther applications could include using the organ-iser of a farmer’s mobile phone to keep recordsof farm details, such as chemicals used and thedate of application. Most small-scale farmers arenotoriously lax about record-keeping. Mobilephones could also increase interaction betweenextension services and farmers on radio shows.Farmers could send questions via SMS, prompt-ing a dialogue with extension experts aboutproblems and ways to solve them. Based on the original essay:Co-operatives, entrepreneurs and sugar planters, “Two challenges experienced in Mauritius relatedwho generally have larger budgets and a better to agriculture or rural development, and the use ofeducation, could take advantage of more sophis- ICTs to address them.” by Nawsheen Hosenally Bibi.Key ReferencesIFAD (2010) Statement by the Honourable S.V. ORACLE - ThinkQuest education foundationFaugoo, Minister of Agro Industry, Food Pro­ (2010) Agriculture: An overview.duction and Security on the occasion of the Online, accessed December 16, 2011: http://thirty-third session of IFAD’s Governing Council. library.thinkquest.org/C0110237/Agriculture_/Online, accessed December 16, 2011: http://www. agriculture_.htmlifad.org/events/gc/33/speech/mauritiu.htm Shaping the future of ACP rural development using ICTs... 19 |
  20. 20. | 20 Emerging Voices in ICT and agriculture
  21. 21. PART 2 How can ICTs be used to improve access to market for agricultural products from your country or region? As many farmers find to their cost, the toughest link to crack in the value chain is often the last one. Finding buyers for their products or services can be a daunting business for many small- scale producers. But ICTs can play a valuable role in linking them to markets.Shaping the future of ACP rural development using ICTs... 21 |
  22. 22. CLOSE TIES, POOR LINKS Sangwani Rebeccah Gondwe, Malawi, Southern Africa As youth are most likely to embrace the technologies and use them, then they are the best agents to ensure maxi- mum and efficient use of such and I strongly advocate for their involvement.My name is Sangwani Rebeccah Gondwe. The name Essay summarySangwani is “Tumbuka” and it means “Rejoice” inEnglish. I love this name. I was born 25 years agoto Malawian parents. I come from the Northernpart of Malawi but I spent most of my time in the K aronga district, in Malawi’s northern region, is just 110 km from the neighbouring dis- trict of Chitipa. The journey should take no morecapital city, Lilongwe. I hold a BSc in agribusiness than an hour, but the road is in a poor state andmanagement and I just finalized working on my often the trip takes well over three hours. TheMSc in agricultural and applied economics. daily newspaper regularly arrives a day late.. Mobile phone networks in Chitipa are erraticMy Master’s thesis was in agricultural marketing. and Internet connection is unreliable in bothOne set-back to the enhancement of agricultural districts. Yet both communities have a vital needmarketing in Malawi and most African countries to stay in touch with each other. Maize is theis poor access to information and ICTs. predominant crop in Chitipa, while farmers in Karonga produce mostly rice. Trading betweenMy favourite quote: “Communication is the grease the two districts is essential and farmers needthat makes the wheel of marketing go round”. to be connected so they have real-time informa- tion on markets and product availability.In my article, I referred to a case where a 100 kmstretch of road could take you 3 hours to travel The close ties but poor links between Chitipa andinstead of an hour because it is so poor. Therefore Karonga are echoed in many other parts of ruralmost agricultural products would deteriorate before Malawi. Liberalisation in both the communicationyou could find a prospective buyer for your prod- and agriculture sectors has led to massive scopeucts, if you are to depend on road transport. On for improved market information for smallholderthe other hand, a phone, email or radio message producers. In theory, these developments shouldmay take one minute and they are connected. have enabled small-scale producers to plan which crops to grow and how best to sell them.Email: sangwani2009@gmail.com In practice, poor access to reliable market infor-| 22 Emerging Voices in ICT and agriculture | PART 2
  23. 23. mation, compounded by inefficient markets, But large numbers of farmers in Malawi remaincontinue to make it difficult for producers to cut off from such innovations, especially inplace their products to the best effect. remote areas such as Chitipa and Karonga. Small-scale farmers in Malawi are already facingProgress, but not for all massive challenges, grappling with under-sized plots and low-yielding varieties among other dif-Some recent initiatives have had positive ficulties. Although smallholder farmers accountimpacts on the ability of farmers to access mar- for 25% of the country’s total GDP, an estimatedkets, though these results have been poorly one-third of the country’s population is perpetu-documented. Institutions have been set up to ally unable to produce enough food to feed thelink smallholder farmers to markets through ICT family. Many farmers rely on sales of other agri-interventions using FM radio, mobile phones, the cultural products to buy the food they need.Internet and emails. One such system is the Efficient commodity markets are critical to allInitiative for Development and Equity in African smallholder households in Malawi. And the useAgriculture (IDEAA), which is part of the Malawi of modern ICTs to connect farmers to marketAgriculture Commodity Exchange (MACE) project information has now become an imperative.and disseminates prices for a range of productson a weekly basis. The Agriculture Commodity Based on the original essay:Exchange (ACE) programme, introduced recently “When the use of modern ICT becomes a requi-by the National Association of Smallholder site: The case of Malawi.” by Sangwani RebeccahFarmers in Malawi (NASFAM) publishes updated Gondwe.farm prices on the Internet.Key ReferencesBabu, S. Sanyal P. (2007) “Persistent Food Barrett, C. (2008) “Smallholder market partici-Insecurity from Policy Failures in Malawi (Case pation: Concepts and evidence from Eastern andStudy #7-2)”, in: Pinstrup-Andersen, P. Cheng, Southern Africa”, Food Policy Vol. 34, pp.F. (eds.), Food Policy for Developing Countries: 299–317.Case Studies.Online, accessed December 16, 2011:http://cip.cornell.edu/dns.gfs/1200428182 Shaping the future of ACP rural development using ICTs... 23 |
  24. 24. GOING HIGH TECH WITH SARDINE CANS Gabriel Dacko Goudjo, Cameroon, Central Africa My dream is to continue my studies in a top-class uni- versity, to deepen my knowl- edge in Telecommunications which will enable me contrib- ute more effective solutions to the agricultural sector in my country.Now aged 22, I grew up on my parents’ farm in Essay summarythe west of Cameroon in a predominantly agri-cultural region. After graduating from highschool in 2007, I moved to the capital, Yaoundé,where I passed the competitive entrance exam R eorganization of Cameroon’s telecommunica- tions sector has already led to several inter- esting developments – a number of them favour-to the School of Telecommunications Engineer­ ing the country’s rural communities. An e-gov-ing. The importance, and the instability, of tele- ernment project has been launched to improvecommunications in my country are both key the efficiency of public administration, extendingreasons for my choice of this sector for my virtual services to areas where there are nofuture career. In 2010, after obtaining my degree offices. A network of multipurpose communityin civil engineering, I learned of the ARDYIS proj- telecentres (MCTs), in more than 150 locations,ect organized by CTA via the discussion group has done much to improve communications inof Engineers Without Borders – Cameroon. I isolated areas. With more and more graduatesentered the essay contest and won the prize for considering agriculture for their future, and thecentral Africa. Through my research for the proj- growing trend to form farming co-operatives,ect, I was able to identify the challenges, solu- there is scope for ICTs to bring wide-ranging ben-tions and opportunities within the agricultural efits to this important sector. A four-prongedsector. From this moment on, I decided to focus strategy could do much to address the most seri-my telecommunications studies and my career ous challenges facing farmers, which include lowon agriculture. I am currently working as a vol- productivity, insufficient credit, poor organizationunteer at Engineers Without Borders – Came­ and weak market access.roon, where I am in charge of the programme:“Bridging the digital divide to improve efficiency First would be a weekly radio broadcast, to bein agricultural systems”. called “Agri-Info” and hosted by an extension expert in local languages. It would discuss pricesMy blog: http://afriqueenor.over-blog.com/ on national and local markets, outlets, process-| 24 Emerging Voices in ICT and agriculture | PART 2
  25. 25. ing and storage techniques and management farmers to connect with each other, as well asand sales skills. Specialists could be featured on with local radio and MCTs. Producers could buythe programme, and farmers invited on to air second-hand computers and use freely down-their views about their problems and share solu- loadable software. The system could be poweredtions. A second component would be a deal with by solar panels in areas with no access to elec-a mobile phone operator to secure a low-cost tricity. Support from government and NGOspackage offering unlimited phone calls and SMS would be crucial to ensuring the success of thesemessages between farmers. The service could initiatives, but the opportunity of using ICTs toalso supply audio messages on technical issues provide real benefits to rural producers is oneof interest to producers. Village information cen- that should not be missed.tres, using material made available by the MCTs,could be a useful channel for making knowledge Based on the original essay:on key issues available to rural communities. The “Comment les TIC peuvent-elles être utiliséescentres would cover a wide range of subjects pour améliorer l’accès au marché des produitsand would make use of a variety of media, agricoles au Cameroun?” by Gabriel Dacko Goudjo.including posters and videos.A virtual salonA third initiative would be an Internet platformoffering a geo-referenced database, using GIS,voice, data and video in a virtual communitysalon, staffed by someone well-informed in bothagriculture and ICTs, who would help producersto explore the Internet and all it has to offer them.Once these three initiatives have been up andrunning for 3 years, and producers have becomefamiliar with using ICTs, a community WIFI net-work for rural areas could be launched. This low-cost service, which can be made with local mate-rials such as old sardine cans, would enable Shaping the future of ACP rural development using ICTs... 25 |
  26. 26. USING ICTS TO BRIDGE THE AGRICULTURAL EXTENSION GAP AND IMPROVE MARKET ACCESS IN NIGERIA Samuel Anthony Itodo, Nigeria, West Africa Youth can play a huge role in the development of their c o m m u n i t i e s . We h a v e a n imminent food security chal- lenge when young people shy away from agriculture, leaving this sensitive field to an ageing population.I grew up in Makurdi, the capital of Benue State Favourite website: I would choose www.google.of Nigeria. My family was involved in agriculture. com, because for me it is the gateway to otherFrom the age of 10, I had learned how to till the sites, besides its versatility in terms of Googlesoil and sow staple crops such as maize, ground- maps, docs, reader, etc.nuts and rice. At one stage I owned my own smallsoybean farm. My blog: http://poeticfarmer.wordpress.comWhen I was 14, I maintained a small poultry farm, Contact: rutherford2forlife@yahoo.comrearing birds such as broilers and turkeys. Iintend to invest in agriculture. My love for the Essay summarysciences informed my decision to do engineeringin school. I graduated with a degree in petroleumengineering from the University of Port Har­court, Nigeria in 2009. In high school I dreamt A practical approach to linking farmers with new information technologies has the potential to improve the small-scale agricultureof winning a Nobel Prize in Chemistry. I still hope sector in Nigeria. Using ICTs to map landto win one in literature as I pursue my love in resources and markets could help solve some ofpoetry and story writing. country’s most pressing agricultural problems, which include low productivity and scant oppor-ARDYIS brought intelligent young people to­ ether g tunities for farmers to sell their produce atand the network I have created with these bril- decent prices. Geo-mapping, used to identify theliant young minds has been very beneficial in my potential of land for farming and its suitabilityday-to-day endeavours. for specific crop and livestock production, can| 26 Emerging Voices in ICT and agriculture | PART 2
  27. 27. be a powerful tool for increasing agricultural In order to set these kinds of services in place,output. Mapping markets for various products changes will have to be made at policy level.could help farmers decide where best to place Local government will need to do more totheir products. The same service could supply en­ ure the provision of basic ICT facilities for sinformation on re­ uire­ ents for accessing par- q m communities. One idea is to form partnershipsticular markets, especially for export. with private organizations to set up ICT centres in rural areas. With 65% of Nigerians under theIneffective extension services pose major dif- age of 25, youth will be a powerful force inficulties for Nigerian farmers, and here too, ICTs developing the country’s agriculture sector.can help. Distance learning can offer valuable Youth interest in the sector could be stimulatedinformation to producers. Farmers living any- by forming young farmers’ clubs in secondarywhere in the country can go to ICT centres to schools, while the National Youth Service Corpsign up for online courses that will give them (NYSC) – a mandatory one-year scheme forthe technical knowledge they need to adopt graduates in Nigeria – could be an effective toolsound agricultural practices, as well as business for fostering ICT development in rural communi-management skills such as book-keeping. Manuals, ties. Who better to pass on ICT skills and trainingcontaining practical information about produc- than young educated members of NYSC? Andtion and marketing methods, can be offered what would be a better gift for the new genera-online or as CDs. Video podcasts offer farmers tion of farmers?an easy way of learning about crop and live-stock production. Instead of the top-down sys-tem, why not use a two-way extension servicemethod? The ask-the-expert approach, success-fully used in a number of countries and knownby various names, enables producers to askspecific questions and receive answers via afeedback platform, generally a website. Farmerscan use Internet blogs to share their experi-ences with other farmers, swapping problemsand solutions with each other.Leveraging the national youthservice corpAn online database, containing names, phonenumbers, websites, email and contact addressesfor all agricultural extension centres, would bea useful service, especially if supplemented bydetails of community focus groups, NGOs, credit Based on the original essay:suppliers and development partners. Com­ “Using ICTs to bridge the agricultural extensionmunication between these groups would open Gap and improving market access for rural farm-the door to more opportunities for introducing ers in Nigeria: A practical approach” by Itodohigh-yielding and innovative practices and linking Samuel Anthony.farmers to markets. Shaping the future of ACP rural development using ICTs... 27 |
  28. 28. TACKLING INFORMATION POVERTY IN FIJI Riten Chand Gosai, Fiji, Pacific It is a common fact that people prefer the so- called luxurious life and are slowly moving to urban cen- tres, leaving behind a declining rural population where majority farming takes place. Hence the onus is on the youth to avoid succumbing to the age-old stereotype that agriculture is hard labour and not a reputable profession and a white collar job is a preferred career choice.I graduated in December 2010 as University of the Favourite website:South Pacific’s gold medallist and best graduate http://www.facebook.com/agrifiji – my initiative2010 in the Bachelor of Agriculture programme. and commitment to spread the gospel andUntil recently, my life has been mostly centred on attract youth to agriculture.the sugarcane farms of rural Nadi, located inWestern Fiji. Along the way, I have spent 13 aca- Essay summarydemic years at Mulomulo primary and secondaryschools. Of all the careers I could have pursuedas a science student; fate linked me to my roots. A griculture continues to be the bedrock of the Fijian economy, accounting for 14% of the coun- try’s GDP and two-thirds of its almost 320,000 strongPerhaps the vitality of agriculture to the Pacific workforce. However, with a drastic decline in sugarregion and the world really convinced me to cultivation and production, the agricultural focus hasendorse this field as a top priority; where my now shifted towards diversifying into high-value cashutmost interest and dedication lies. Currently I crops for the domestic market, as well as tourismam working for the Biosecurity Authority of Fiji and exports. Information poverty continues to beand advocating for youth to adopt agriculture one of the main obstacles to more modern, market-via CTA’s ARDYIS project. It has been the first oriented farming practices in Fiji, whose 330 islandsever project (of its kind) that I have been are scattered over 1.3 million square kilometres.involved with... Farmers are isolated, from each other, and from information and markets that could help them earnMy favorite quote: “Man despite his historic pre- better incomes. As a result, they are reluctant totensions, his sophistication and art, owes the commercialise production. Most of Fiji’s 86,680 ruralfact of his existence to a 6-inch layer of topsoil households – 54% of the population – are engagedand the fact that it rains”… Anonymous in subsistence agricultural or fishing activities.| 28 Emerging Voices in ICT and agriculture | PART 2
  29. 29. ICTs can provide the essential link in bridging information can dra-this information gap, but to date the agriculture matically improvesector has failed to take advantage of these new farmers’ negotiatingtechnologies. The potential is certainly there, position, and simpleand other developing countries have already websites that matchpaved the way, showing how ICTs can bring tan- supply and demandgible benefits to farmers. Widespread use of can be a start to moremobile phones offers massive scope for spread- sophisticated tradeing agricultural information. Software has systems.already been developed to do just this. Take theexample of Uganda, where a suite of mobile ICTs can help withapplications is being used to give farming advice. sto c k a n d q u a l i tyRural telecentres, equipped with computers and control, essential forInternet and using solar power for energy, can some domestic andbe valuable channels for transmitting informa- most export markets,tion, as seen in a number of African countries. and important whenUseful agricultural information on the Internet it comes to applyingcan be accessed via mobile phones that support for credit. Global positioning system (GPS) tech-Internet connections. Video conferencing with nology, still relatively new to Fiji, can provide valu-farmers via satellite or over the Internet is able support to marketing and distribution. Inanother innovative use of ICTs, which can be Ethiopia, it has been used to map rural roads,especially helpful in remote areas. helping NGOs, extension services and farm­ rs to e plan their trans­ orta­ ion needs. Tradi­ ional elec­ p t tWeather and pest alerts tronic media, such as radio and tele­ ision, which v have more than 80% coverage in Fiji, should notWith many Pacific islands threatened by climate be forgotten. But more could be done to broad­change, it is important that farmers are kept cast qua­ity pro­ rammes and provide a plat­ orm l g finformed of new techniques. In Burkina Faso, for feed­ ack from farmers. bfarmers’ organizations have used digital photosand video to teach new growing techniques, lead- Based on the original essay:ing to a nine-fold rise in output. ICTs can also be “The use of information and communicationused to increase the efficiency and sustainability technology to address information poverty andof small-scale farms, making information available reluctance of farmers to commercialize in theon crucial issues such as pest and disease control Fiji Islands.” by Riten Chand Gosai.and early warning systems. Up-to-date marketKey referencesHeeks, R. Duncombe, R. (2001) “Information Ministry of Primary Industries of Fiji (2009) Agri­Tech­ ology and Small Enterprises - A Handbook n culture Strategic Development Plan 2010 – 2012,for Enter­ rise Support Agencies in Developing p Department of Agriculture, Suva, Fiji.Countries”, IDPM, University of Manchester, UK. Shaping the future of ACP rural development using ICTs... 29 |
  30. 30. HOW CAN ICTS BE USED TO IMPROVE MARKET ACCESS FOR AGRICULTURAL PRODUCTS FROM BENIN? Babatoundé Rivaldo Alain Kpadonou, Benin, West Africa The humiliating and thankless place of agriculture in ACP coun- tries today discourages interest from the younger generations. Their dream is to have a modern macro- economic and institutional environ- ment in which to develop their ideas and build an up-to-date agri- cultural sector that is capable of facing current challenges. It is only the youth that will be able to develop a fresh, modern image of agriculture in ACP countries.I am from Benin, born in 1987 in a small village My blog: http://www.toundeblog.blogspot.comin Adjarra, where I also attended primaryschool. After graduating from high school in Essay summaryPorto-Novo in 2004, I passed the competitiveentrance exam to the Faculty of Agronomy atthe University of Parakou, where I graduatedas an agro-economist. I am currently in gradu- D espite its relatively recent rise, it is clear that the contribution of ICT to agricultural development and poverty reduction is becomingate school following a double Master’s pro- increasingly significant. In particular, mobilegramme, in integrated water resources manage- telecommunications are of special interestment, and social development. because of their capacity to empower rural African communities. Although mobile phonesMy own dream is to become a leader on the inter- were once considered luxury goods for well-to-national scene to defend African interests and do urban populations, they have come to bethose of the most marginalized communities. My increasingly used as the standard means ofgoal is to bring together the qualities and com- accessing information and of communicationpetences necessary to nurture my ambition. among rural populations.| 30 Emerging Voices in ICT and agriculture | PART 2
  31. 31. However, many mobile telephone applications An additional potentially limiting factor in upscal-remain underused in the rural sector, thereby ing its use is linguistic competence. Speciallimiting the potential of this tool to boost to pri- attention should therefore be paid to schoolingmary development. Short text messaging (SMS), for children and literacy among rural populationsfor example, is little known or used among rural in their local languages. ICT localization, in par-populations, despite being a relatively cheap and ticular, the development of mobile telecommu-effective means of communication. Furthermore, nications in local languages, constitutes a majorthe multiple SMS function and synchronization strategic opportunity to improve market accessvia PC allow the user to reach a wider target for farmers through the widespread use of SMSs.group, and can, for example, improve accessto markets and provide producers with moreaccurate price information.Unfortunately, at present only a small numberof umbrella organizations are using multipleSMSs to communicate with the leaders of farm-ers’ organizations. Yet, given the current rate ofmobile phone penetration in the rural sector, andthe increasing need for improved market accessfor small-scale producers, as well as meteorologi-cal information, the time is ripe for an expansionof this service to a wider public, in particular, tothose at the beginning of the value chain.For this expansion to succeed, however, it will beimportant to lift the institutional and socio-lin- Based on the original essay:guistic barriers that currently limit SMS use in “Comment les TIC peuvent-elles être utiliséesthe rural agricultural sector. Expanding the use pour améliorer l’accès au marché des produitsof multiple SMSs via PC, for example, requires agricoles du Bénin?” by Babatoundé Rivaldosimplified instructions and the creation of sup- Alain Kpadonou.port structures drawn from the local population.Key referencesStienen, J., Bruinsma, W and Neuman, F. (2007) liveli­ oods”, International Institute for Communi­ h“How ICT can make a difference in agri­ ultural c cation and Development (IICD). Shaping the future of ACP rural development using ICTs... 31 |
  32. 32. TOWARDS A COMPREHENSIVE MARKET INTELLIGENCE UNIT Inoussa Traoré, Burkina Faso, West Africa I believe that the real wealth of our nations is our youth. We are the future!I am from Burkina Faso, aged 25. I grew up in a economic theory, information plays a vital role invillage in the Boucle du Mouhoun Region in all market mechanisms.Burkina Faso, where I attended primary schooland part of my secondary school education. I In the last few years, I have also carried out acompleted my secondary school studies at Lycée lot of research on the role of ICT. This is why IOuézzin Coulibaly in Bobo Dioulasso, the eco- entered my essay for the ARDYIS contest andnomic capital of Burkina Faso. ended up finalist for West Africa.After graduating from high school with a spe- My favourite quote: My favourite quote comescialization in mathematics, I decided to continue from my father, who always writes it at the endmy studies in economics and management at of his letters to me: “Where there’s a will, there’sthe University of Ouagadougou. I have already a way (A cœur vaillant, rien d’impossible)”.completed the first stage of graduate school,specializing in applied macroeconomics, and am My blog: http://traoreinoussa.blogspot.comcurrently working on my doctorate at theLaboratory for Economic Policy and Analysis at Essay summarythe University of Ouagadougou II.The decision to analyse the issue of market accessfor agricultural products from the perspective of A griculture dominates daily life in much of Burkina Faso, where 80% of people live in rural areas. But lack of market access is oneaccess to information is linked to my training as of the major hurdles facing producers, trappingan economist, and to a number of studies I carried the majority of them in subsistence farming andout using databases. Furthermore, according to preventing them from taking that crucial step| 32 Emerging Voices in ICT and agriculture | PART 2
  33. 33. on the path to becoming small-scale entrepre- The Internet has made it possible to sell – andneurs. ICTs are becoming more widely available buy – at the click of a mouse, opening up newin rural areas of this West African country, markets for producers. A number of producers’despite problems posed by poor infrastructure organizations have been swift to seize thisand illiteracy. And the slow but steady march of opportunity, setting up websites to promote theirnew technologies is bringing important changes products. Some women’s groups are successfullyto the agriculture sector on which most people using this strategy to sell the shea butter thatdepend for their livelihoods. they produce.In the early stages, in Burkina Faso, ICTs were When there is no Internet, the mobile phone canmainly used to help farmers improve crop farm- be used to distribute market information anding practices and obtain forecasts about the make deals with buyers. The Burkina Fasoweather. Then, gradually, the scope began to Chamber of Commerce has launched a projectwiden and new communication tools were intro- called Mobile Business which uses SMS messagesduced to open up market access. These days, to provide producers and traders with the latestagricultural information is available through a details on local and international market prices.host of channels, including the Internet, televi-sion and radio, as well as on DVDs and CD ROMs. Much progress has been made in using ICTs toSome initiatives have become household names. spur the agriculture sector. But there is scopeTV Koodo runs a popular service broadcasting for a great deal more, although parallel improve-commodity prices on television and the Internet. ments must be made in raising literacy and edu-A system launched by NGO APROSSA - Afrique cation levels if the strategy is to achieve the bestVerte also sends out regular bulletins on the effect. A market intelligence unit would be ansituation in agricultural markets. A market infor- invaluable tool for farmers and traders alike.mation system managed by SONAGESS publishes Powered by software that ensures regularlycereal prices on a website. updated market information from a range of dif- ferent sources, such a system would be a signifi-Traceability with ICTs cant help in decision-making. More information means more business, and that is good news forGPS offers scope for tracking products in the everyone in Burkina Faso’s agriculture sector.value chain, a prerequisite for some markets andan important stepping stone on the path to cer- Based on the original essay:tification. Several women’s producer organiza- “Comment les TIC peuvent-elles être utiliséestions have succeeded in obtaining certification pour améliorer l’accès au marché des produitsusing this technology. agricoles du Burkina Faso?” by Inoussa Traoré.Key referencesMinistère de l’Economie et de Finance du Burkina Ouédraogo, S. (2009) Nouvelles technologies etFaso (2003) Cadre stratégique de lutte contre la organisations paysannes, l’état des lieux aupauvreté, Programme d’Actions Prioritaires de Burkina Faso, Burkina-ntic, Special Forum TIC mise en œuvre du Cadre Stratégique de Lutte Agriculture, Novembre 2009.contre la Pauvreté 2004–2006. Shaping the future of ACP rural development using ICTs... 33 |
  34. 34. IMPROVING ICTS, EXTENDING THE MARKET Gerald Mangena, Zimbabwe, Southern Africa I am more determined to see my vision/dream, the Afro D r e a m , b e c o m e a r e a l i t y, whereby any inhabitable place in Africa provides its inhabit- ants with any product or ser- vice that is locally developed/ produced and can be found anywhere in the world.I grew up in a small town called Marondera, 75 sector, so that they feel proud to be professionalskm east of Harare. I always wondered why we involved in achieving something meaningful.had to travel to the capital for basic services,and why people perceived travelling to the capi- My blog: http://theafrodream.blogspot.comtal a preserve of the rich. If Harare had beendeveloped, why could they not develop Maron­ Essay summarydera too? As I celebrate my 25th birth­ ay in June dthis year [2011], I am more convinced than everthat any place inhabited by humans should befully developed economically, technologically, I t is 7 am, and a 28-year-old woman farmer is getting ready for the busy day ahead. This sea- son, she expects to harvest 500 tonnes of highand socially. quality potatoes. Today, she is still wondering where she will sell them, but she takes out herThanks to ARDYIS, I received a wealth of infor- mobile phone, sends an SMS and soon smiles asmation including training in Web 2.0. I gained a she receives confirmation of an order to supplyfuller understanding of the significance of rural a weekly tonne of potatoes for the next twelvedevelopment and how ICTs play their part. It weeks. The transaction has been made possiblehelped me get a clearer picture of my personal by a service introduced by a local software com-dream for Africa. I had the opportunity to pres- pany, in partnership with mobile phone serviceent my ideas and to be heard by an international provider. Meanwhile, in Zimbabwe’s communaljury. That was quite an honour and I travelled to lands, a 16-year-old boy walks into a telecentre,countries I have never been to before. leaving his ox-drawn cart full of vegetables out- side. After searching through the database, heThe agriculture and rural development sector sends an email to a potential buyer. The answermust be managed professionally just like any other comes back almost immediately, with details ofsector such as the financial sector or the tourism when the client will come to collect the produce.| 34 Emerging Voices in ICT and agriculture | PART 2
  35. 35. These two scenarios are projections rather than on all ICT goods have been scrapped. To attractreal examples. But they could soon become a buyer interest, farmers could use mobile phonesreality if ICTs are used to improve access to mar- or computers to upload details of produce andkets for farmers in Zimbabwe. It is important to expected yields. This information could bematch the right technologies to the right produc- relayed, via the Internet or SMS, to screensers and markets. Producers in Zimbabwe range located in public market places, or directly tofrom newly resettled farmers, with average com- mailboxes of agents, agriprocessing companiesputer literacy, to communal farmers – mostly and importers of Zimbabwean produce.very young – and the elderly, who depend onagriculture for their livelihoods, but whose lit- We need better Internet support infrastructureeracy levels are very low. Then there are com- and affordable services. Broadband over powermercial farmers, mostly young or middle-aged, line (BPL) technology, already available in Southwhose literacy levels are high. Africa, could make a significant contribution to developing this area in Zimbabwe. It relies onCost-effective solutions the existing electricity power lines and has band- width speeds of up to 200 Mbps. Telecentres canZimbabwe now has an affordable mobile phone be valuable in rural areas, offering a variety ofservice and good network coverage, making this services (e.g. fax, Internet, typing, printing, scan-tool the obvious choice since mobile phones are ning and information, including details fromwidely available and easy-to-use. With locally online agricultural databases). Even computerdeveloped software, mobile phones can be used illiterate farmers can walk in here and get helpto match farmers’ offers to buyers’ needs and in securing buyers for their produce.notify farmers about the latest market prices.With the help of experts from the Agricultural Based on the original essay:Research Extension (AREX), there is scope for “How can ICTs be used to improve access to mar-building information systems to offer market ket for agricultural products in Zimbabwe?” byprices over the Internet. Computer prices are Gerald Mangena.coming down and in Zimbabwe customs dutiesKey referencesColle, R.D. (2005) “Building ICT4D capacity in Kerby, R. Susar, D. (2008) Electronic/Mobileand by African universities”, Journal of Education Government in Africa: Building Capacity in Know­and Development using Information and Commu­ ledge Management through Partnership.nication Technology (IJEDICT), Vol. 1, No. 1, pp. Online, accessed December 16, 2011:101–107. http://unpan1.un.org/intradoc/groups/public/ documents/un/unpan033539.pdf Shaping the future of ACP rural development using ICTs... 35 |
  36. 36. FARMERS ONLINE IN ZIMBABWE Raymond Erick Zvavanyange, Zimbabwe, Southern Africa Youth must be relevant to their specific disciplines. Youth should use whatever avenues they have to make a difference. Youth must learn from experi- enced farmers and persons involved in agriculture. “Mere talk” is unacceptable. Youth must do it.I am a second born child in a family of five chil- My favourite quote: “With or without a PhD,dren. Growing up in a high density suburb in there are big and important problems for youZimbabwe with my neighbourhood friends gave to solve.” – Freeman Dysonme the social character which helped in my aca-demic and professional life. I grew up pretty fast Essay summarywith a growing realization that I am capable ofexcelling. I am inspired by people with an openmind, reminding me of the endless possibilitiesto my life, if you work hard. I also value my reli- T oday’s agricultural challenges need modern solutions – ones that are producer-driven, affordable and adapted to local communities. ICTsgion as well. In the words of my former lecturer hold the key to development in Zimbabwe’s ruralat University, I am “someone who does things areas, where 70% of the population is based. Atout of his own volition”. national level, communication technologies are well integrated into government administration, and allI chose to deal with ICTs and marketing in Zim­ ministries and state corporations have their ownbabwe because this is new field. ICTs can inte- ICT structures and personnel. NGOs have alsograte the different marketing strategies and come on board. One popular initiative is thepro­ rammes being promoted by public, private g Freedom Fone launched by the Kubatana Trust,and non-governmental institutions, overcoming which uses interactive voice response (IVR) technol-hurdles such as bureaucracy and personnel ogy. Anyone can call the service to leave a voiceinvolvement in traditional marketing systems. message, listen to messages from others, or hear the information provided by Kubatana Trust. ThisMy blog: http://community.eldis.org/.59f604b2 is a social platform but could also be adapted for agriculture. Private companies looking for out grow-My Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/ ers and contract producers could use the networkzvavanyanger3 to link up with farmers and their organizations.| 36 Emerging Voices in ICT and agriculture | PART 2
  37. 37. Mobile phones offer a quick and inexpensive ucts, linking up with local, regional and globalchannel for marketing perishable agricultural markets. Such systems can enable suppliersproducts such as tomatoes, eggs and milk. and buyers to compare prices and producersProducers can use SMS and multimedia mes- to market lesser known products such assages to link up with buyers and form groups to mushrooms and grain amaranth, alongsidemeet up with them when larger quantities are popular commodities such as maize, soybeans,involved. On the Internet, farmers can use tobacco and roses. E-marketing zones can beGoogle Earth to map and plan their fields and created, covering similar geographical, admin-crops and Skype and Yahoo Messenger to talk istrative, livelihood, and agro-ecological zones,to each other, as well as to potential buyers. boosting investor confidence and securing newVideo conferencing gives farmers the opportu- markets for producers.nity to hook up live with producers in otherparts of the country, or even the world. Roadshows showcasing ICTs are a good way of putting rural communities in touch with develop-Social networking for farmers ments in agriculture. Held at rural business cen- tres, community halls and schools, such eventsProducers can create and subscribe to websites offer a chance for producers to congregate andthat promote marketing activities through e-bul- show off their crops and livestock. One unusualletins and updates. E-newsletters can be used to feature of agriculture in Zimbabwe is that bothdocument farmer success stories. Through social young and old are involved in the sector. ICTnetworking platforms such as Twitter, Facebook roadshows are an effective way of reaching bothand Google Chat, and by running their own blogs, ends of the generation spectrum.producers can communicate, share experiencesand penetrate new markets, using community Based on the original essay:Internet facilities if they do not have their own. “How can ICTs be used to improve access to market for agricultural products in Zimbabwe?”Virtual producer forums offer exciting oppor- by Raymond Erick Zvavanyange.tunities for farmers to market seasonal prod-Key referencesCTA (2009) ICT Update, Issue 51 (October), FAO/PRP (2010) Future Directions of LivestockTechnical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Production in the Small Holder Sector of Zim­Cooperation (CTA), Wageningen, the Netherlands. babwe, Ministry of Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development. FAO, Zimbabwe. Shaping the future of ACP rural development using ICTs... 37 |
  38. 38. ICTS HOLD THE KEY FOR MARKET ACCESS Aristide Z. Adaha, Benin, West Africa Today’s youth wants (…) a new form of agriculture that uses modern techniques and that will create a high number of jobs in the service and ICT sectors.I was born and raised in Fidjrossè, in the south- the country’s producers. Farmers lack knowledgeeast of Cotonou, Benin. After completing my about market prices, new outlets, transport andsecondary education, I won a scholarship for the trade rules. With little or no reliable information,National School for Applied Economics and small-scale producers in many parts of Benin areManagement where I completed my Bachelor’s totally isolated from the positive impacts of glo-studies in business management. balisation and often fall prey to middle-men. Links between producers’ organizations and other impor-Despite not having an agricultural background, tant partners such as extension services andI would like to contribute to the development of research are often sadly lacking.this sector because of its great importance tothe economy of my country. Improving access to information about markets, production techniques and important factorsMy favourite quote: “Believe and act as if it were such as traceability and quality standards canimpossible to fail.” – Charles F. Kettering make a significant contribution to increasing revenues for farmers. An agritrade websiteEssay summary designed to help producers keep abreast of mar- ket trends and prices could be an important firstL ack of policy support, inadequate extension services, weak land tenure and limited accessto inputs, credit, new technologies and markets. step on the path to securing higher sales vol- umes and profit margins. The Indian initiative e-Choupal is a case in point. In a local context,These are some of the factors acting as a brake on the website of Benin’s National Chamber ofthe rural economy of Benin, a country where more Agriculture would be the obvious choice for host-than 50% of the population is engaged in the agri- ing such a platform, backed up by informationculture sector. Poor market linkages pose one of centres to provide support, Internet access andthe major hurdles to better yields and incomes for ICT training in rural areas.| 38 Emerging Voices in ICT and agriculture | PART 2