Making ICT Work for the Rural Poor


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Presentation by Michael Riggs of FAO, 17 May 2012, in the Bangladesh country session at the WSIS Forum 2012.

The session was sponsored by Katalyst Bangladesh.

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  • In 2010, 57 out of 100 inhabitants (up from 23 in 2005) in developing countries have a mobile phone subscription (ITU, 2010). But this number hides the range of situations across countries, urban vs. rural, and male vs. female. In 2010 mobile penetration is higher in Africa reached 45.2%. Even in LDCs mobile penetration is at 34%, with 66% cellular coverage.
  • There are 6 billion phone subscriptions, but only a fraction belong to farmers who have the interest, capacity, and can afford MAIS. Individual prioritization of expenditure often does not rank agricultural information (the livelihood) as highest priority – “entertainment” and personal communication often rank higher. Input from e-Agriculture “mFarmer” forum.
  • Closing the gender gap could also lift 100-150 million people out of hunger.
  • This problem arises from many issues. Awareness being critical. Access to appropriate, effective information can solve this problem.
  • Rural women may face barriers in accessing ICTs because of their limited education and financial and time constraints. Locations that are convenient and appropriate for women to visit can help improve women’s access (Best and Maier, 2007). Services tailored to women such as Asiacell’s “Almas Line” package in Iraq.
  • Making ICT Work for the Rural Poor

    1. 1. Michael RiggsKnowledge and Capacity for DevelopmentOffice of Knowledge Exchange Research and Extension
    2. 2. Development Disasters - 1
    3. 3. Development Disasters - 2
    4. 4. Mobile Technology Mobile phones are the success story of bridging the rural digital divide, bringing tangible economic benefits and acting as agents of social mobilization through improved communication.
    5. 5. Agricultural Value ChainsICTs play an important role in agricultural value chains. However, many rural farmers still do not have access to or the capacity to use ICT. Individual expense prioritization often does not rank agricultural information highly.
    6. 6. Gender, Agriculture and ICT Women play an important role in agriculture, comprising 43% of agricultural labor globally. Yet they have less access toagricultural information, extension services, and ICTs. Close gender gap, increase farm yields 20-30%. Statistics from FAO SOFA 2010-11
    7. 7. Female farmer produce less
    8. 8. They are not less efficient……they use fewer inputs.
    9. 9. ChallengesWorking for the Poor Agricultural Information Services  Relevance  Affordability  Mobile network  Agricultural information  Accessibility: visual content Prioritize Gender Issues  Strategic focus on women
    10. 10. Thank you Michael Riggs @mongkolroek @e_agriculture