The role of Information CommunicationTechnologies (ICTs) in Agricultural Transformation: Experience of Biovision Farmer Communication Programme in Kenya Mr. Shiraku, Hudson Wereh Project Assist; Biovision Farmer Communication Programme National Stakeholders’ Workshop on EOA in Nigeria 19-20 JUNE, 2012. University of Ibadan, Nigeria.
What is ICT?ICT (Information & Communication Technology /Technologies) is an umbrella term that includes any communication device or application, encompassing: radio, television, mobile phones, computer and network hardware and software, satellite systems and etc, as well as the various services and applications associated with them, such as videoconferencing and distance learning/eLearning.
……ICT continuedA simpler way to think about ICT is toconsider all the uses of digital technologythat already exist to help individuals,businesses and organizations useinformation. -ICT covers any product thatwill store, retrieve, manipulate, transmit orreceive information electronically in a digitalform.
The power of ICTOver the last 10 - 15 years, ICT haschanged the way the world works, plays,communicates, shops, does politicsand even dates. Many of these changesare seen the world over, some arerestricted to more advanced countries.These changes are so pervasive andwidespread that it is hard to rememberwhat the world was like without them.
….continuedEducation and Health :ICTs are being used to spread locally generated and locally relevant educational and health information; eleaning and diagnosis of diseasesEntrepreneurship and Job SearchThe use of ICTs has reduced the cost of running a business and, in somecases, it is even enabling users to start one.Social Capital and Social Cohesion:The use of ICTs has enable people to act together more efficiently topursue shared objectives by promoting cooperation among socialnetworks – e.g. in the cases of N. African and Middle East political turmoil
ICT in AgricultureThe Nairobi declaration on agriculturalextension & advisory services, Nov 2011The need for enhanced use of ICT both old andnew, and engagement of the media inexpanding the reach and impact of extensionand advisory services.
Entry points for ICT in Agriculture •Enhancing Agricultural Production •Improving Markets •Building Farmer Capacities •Engaging the youth in agriculture
Enhancing Agricultural Production• Intervention; Increasing efficiency, productivity and sustainability of small scale farms.• How; information about pest and disease control, especially early warning systems, new varieties, new ways to optimize production and regulations for quality control
Improving Markets• Intervention; better of markets resulting from informed decisions about future crops and commodities and best time and place to sell and buy goods• up-to-date market information on; prices for commodities, inputs and consumer trends
Capacity Building• Strengthen capacities and better representation of their constituencies when negotiating input and output prices, land claims, resource rights and infrastructure projects.• Reduce social isolation, widen the perspective of local communities in terms of national or global developments, open up new business opportunities and allow easier contact with friends and relatives
ICT in the context of FCP• The Biovision Farmer Communication Programme (FCP) has already embraced and integrated the use of ICT in its projects.• FCP is supported by Biovision Africa Trust, International Centre for Insect Physiology and Ecology (ICIPE) and Biovision Foundation of Switzerland
Radio: TOF RadioStarted in 2008, TOF radio is aweekly radio show broadcasted onthe national Kenya BroadcastingCorporation(KBC) Kiswahili… Service (everyThursday from 8.15 to 8.30 pm)Radio Milele (every Tuesdayfrom 8.30 to 8.45 pm).
Farmer learning resource centres / i-TOF Centres: This consists of rural based centres managed by Community InformationRural telecenter operators are trained Workers equipped withto use the platform, which includes facilitation skills to train farmersinformation on farming technology, and also to enable… them tonew varieties, disease prevention, access information throughinput information, and best practices. multimedia equipment, particularly desktop computers and OLPC (One Laptop Per Child) and other ICTs.
Interfaces to mobile phones and call centres – ASK TOFA service that enables farmers, extension service providers and othersin need of our information to ask and get their questions answered
Conditions for a conducive enabling environment• Consideration of people’s needs and conditions• Need for relevant agricultural Information as per the people’s needs.• Timely information in relevant formats – language, print, softcopy etc• Institution and human capacity to link rural communities to information sources and support institutions• Connectivity (Internet)
Conclusion ICT is a critical catalyst to accelerated agricultural development. There is currently a revolution in the ICTindustry that is dramatically changing theway people understand and use ICT tools across different sectors.It is going to be an entire paradigm shift.
In view of the huge potential exhibited by the above few examples; what can ICT do ifCORRECTLY used in the context of Agriculture, if not creating WIN:WIN:WIN situation and opportunities for Farmers, Traders and Consumers across the Value Chain? It’s up to us to examine and determine the relevant entry points for ICT.