'Telephone farmers' reaping the benefits of agri-tech

Title: 'Telephone farmers' reaping the benefits of agri-tech
Author: Tom Jackson
Source: BBC News
Date (published): 31/07/2015
Date (accessed): 03/08/2015
Type of information: online article
Language: English
On-line access: yes
Abstract: A new breed of tech-savvy farmers is emerging throughout Kenya. Sometimes called "telephone farmers", they are making use of a growing number of technologies and platforms to help them choose and manage their crops more efficiently.

International Year of Family Farming: IFAD's commitment and call for action

Title: International Year of Family Farming: IFAD's commitment and call for action
Source: IFAD - Investing in rural people
Date (accessed): 20/02/2014
Type of information: call for action
Language: English
On-line access: yes
Abstract: Small family farms are the key to reducing poverty and improving global food security. Family farming includes all family-based agricultural activities, and it is linked to several areas of rural development. Family farming is a means of organizing agricultural, forestry, fisheries, pastoral and aquaculture production which is managed and operated by a family and predominantly reliant on family labour, including both women’s and men’s. Both in developing and developed countries, family farming is the predominant form of agriculture in the food production sector.

Africa: ICT4ag13 - ICT Can Help Youth Return to Farms, Solve Africa's Agricultural Challenges

Title: Africa: ICT4ag13 - ICT Can Help Youth Return to Farms, Solve Africa's Agricultural Challenges
Author: Dennis Mbuvi
Source: allAfrica
Date (published): 05/11/2013
Date (accessed): 11/11/2013
Type of information: online article
Language: English
On-line access: yes
Abstract: Agriculture in Africa employs 65 percent of the labour force and contributes to 62 percent of the gross domestic product. Rwanda is counting on ICT to improve growth of the agriculture sector from 5.5 percent growth currently to 8.5 percent growth in five years. The country is looking at having agriculture's contribution to the gross domestic product up from 25 percent to 35 percent, creating an additional 200,000 jobs.

Top 10 mobile agriculture applications

Title: Top 10 mobile agriculture applications
Author: Charlie Fripp
Source: IT News Africa
Date (published): 07/11/2013
Date (accessed): 10/11/2013
Type of information: blog post
Language: English
On-line access: yes
Abstract: For most parts of Africa, the agriculture sector is a major source of employment. During the ICT4Ag conference in Kigali, Rwanda, stakeholders joined innovators and inventors to reflect on solutions and innovation targeted at users within this important sector. IT News Africa takes a look at ten of the best agriculture apps present at this year’s conference.

Can high-tech agriculture solve youth unemployment in Kenya?

Can high-tech agriculture solve youth unemployment in Kenya?
Author: Ken Obura
Source: The Standard Group Limited
Date (published): 30/07/2013
Date (accessed): 20/08/2013
Type of information: blog post
Language: English
On-line access: yes
Abstract: Unemployment among the youth is one of the most acute problems affecting developing countries like Kenya. According to Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA), unemployment percentage in this country stands at 12 per cent of the current workforce which is approximately 15 million people.

Modern ICT for Agricultural Development and Risk Management in Smallholder Agriculture in India

Title: Modern ICT for Agricultural Development and Risk Management in Smallholder Agriculture in India
Author: Surabhi Mittal
ISBN: 978-607-95844-2-9
Publisher: The International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center
Date (published): 20/04/2012
Date (accessed): 22/08/2012
Type of information: working paper
Language: English
On-line access: yes (html)
Abstract: The overall goal or expected outcome of this research is to see the potential of modern Information and Communication Technology (ICT) to improve yields and income, and to disseminate knowledge to farmers to help them manage risk in an informed manner.

Towards priority actions for market development for African farmers

Title: Towards priority actions for market development for African farmers
Pages: 402 pp.
ISBN: 92-9146-260-8
Publisher: Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa and International Livestock Research Institute
Date (published): 30/01/2012
Date (accessed): 05/03/2012
Type of information: conference proceedings
Language: English
On-line access: yes (pdf)
„From dairy cooperatives, text messaging and grain storage to improved credit, transport and trade initiatives, new book presents “high-payoff, low-cost” solutions to Africa’s underdeveloped agricultural markets and chronic food insecurity…As a food crisis unfolds in West Africa’s Sahel region, some of the world’s leading experts in agriculture markets say the time is ripe to confront the “substantial inefficiencies” in trade policy, transportation, information services, credit, crop storage and other market challenges that leave Africans particularly vulnerable to food-related problems.”
See also:
Linking farmers to markets critical to rural development and efforts to combat Africa’s food woes

Farming By Phone

Title: Farming By Phone
Author: Isaiah Esipisu
Date (published): 30/11/2011
Date (accessed): 06/12/2011
Type of information: blog post
Language: English
On-line access: yes (HTML)
"Francis Mburu used to keep indigenous cattle in Entasopia village in the semi- arid Kajiado region, 160 kilometres southwest of Nairobi. However, increasing temperatures and frequent droughts in Kenya have made this difficult in recent years.
But now, in an area that has never had electricity, where education is not a priority or sometimes not an option at all, residents of Entasopia are using a solar-powered internet facility to adapt to the changing climatic conditions.
The Nguruman community, largely composed of the Maasai ethnic group, now has access to an ICT facility locally known as Maarifa (“knowledge” in Swahili) Centre. Here they are able to access climate adaptation information via the internet, videos and books. The Arid Land Information Network (ALIN), in collaboration with the Kenyan government, founded the project.
According to Samuel Nzioka, the field officer for ALIN, most of the videos shown at the centre are practical lessons in local languages aimed at boosting the understanding of the concepts of climate change and adaptation, and basic dry-land farming knowledge..."

Connected Agriculture : The role of mobile in driving efficiency and sustainability in the food and agriculture value chain

Title: Connected Agriculture : The role of mobile in driving efficiency and sustainability in the food and agriculture value chain
Pages: 42 pp.
Publisher: Vodafone
Date (published): 11/10/2011
Date (accessed): 17/11/2011
Type of information: report
Language: English
On-line access: yes (pdf)
"Mobile communications can help to meet the challenge of feeding an estimated 9.2 billion people by 2050. The 12 specific opportunities explored in this study could increase agricultural income by around US$138 billion across 26 of Vodafone’s markets in 2020.

They could also cut carbon dioxide emissions by approximately 5 mega tonnes (Mt) in these markets and reduce freshwater withdrawals for agricultural irrigation by 6%, with significant savings in water-stressed regions. These benefits assume there will be around 549 million mobile connections to relevant services in 2020.

This report aims to stimulate the necessary engagement between mobile operators, governments, NGOs and businesses to realise these opportunities and explore others.
Benefits Mobile services can enable companies to

The opportunities studied here would improve the efficiency of the agriculture and food sectors as well as helping to raise the incomes of millions of poor farmers in developing countries. Increased efficiency is also expected to lead to fewer food losses – an important aspect of meeting the world’s growing demand for adequate and affordable supplies of nutritious food.

These mobile services enable companies to access and interact directly with different participants in the value chain, helping to build visibility of issues, capacity and quality. They will support company sustainability objectives, and in particular, progress towards the UN Millennium Development Goals by helping to reduce poverty, improve health and increase funding for education.

The greatest potential benefits can be generated by enabling mobile financial payments and mobile information provision, each delivering almost 40% of the total estimated increase in agricultural income.

Mobile telecommunications can connect farmers to markets, finance and education, making it possible to monitor resources and track products. This unlocks productivity potential while helping to manage the impacts of increased production, such as increased water use and greenhouse gas emissions.

This study focuses on 12 opportunities that deliver broad socio-economic and environmental benefits. They are grouped in four categories that were identified through stakeholder consultations as the most important.

The systems required to deliver these opportunities are both complex and fragmented and, as such, need the collective support of key stakeholders across the agricultural supply chain. Mobile network operators are well-positioned to act as a catalyst for action. They have the technology, the distribution channels and the customer relationships to drive these initiatives forward. However, NGOs, private enterprises and governments must agree to contribute their knowledge and expertise in order to ensure the delivery of the benefits to their full potential.

Critical success factors include the development of local relationships and understanding, testing solutions and a sympathetic regulatory environment. Consolidating these elements will help to ensure that the content and methods of delivery are tailored to both markets and crop types, optimising the value for farmers. Governments will also benefit through improved data collection and efficient, secure methods of subsidy distribution and other transactions. Pilot projects will provide an opportunity to test the technology, explore delivery partnerships, and create new business models for the rural poor and other underserved groups, such as women farmers. A regulatory environment that supports these innovations, in terms of both the technology and the required business models, will be essential.

The potential multiplier effects of the social and economic benefits that these opportunities could deliver will reach well beyond the immediate value chain. For example, improved agricultural income can reduce pressure on social support systems. It is clearly in the interest of all stakeholders to work together to ensure success."

ICT in Agriculture, the e-Sourcebook

Title: ICT in Agriculture, the e-Sourcebook
Publisher: The World Bank Group
Date (published): November 2011
Date (accessed): 09/11/2011
Type of information: website
Language: English
On-line access: yes (HTML and pdf)
"Realizing the profound potential of information and communication technologies in developing country agriculture, the Agriculture and Rural Development Department (ARD) of the World Bank in collaboration with infoDev (part of the World Bank Group) embarked in an effort to explore and capture the expanding knowledge and use of ICT tools in agrarian livelihoods. In November 2011, the World Bank released an electronic Sourcebook (e-Sourcebook) to initiate further (and better) investment in this sector. Called “ICT in Agriculture”, the e-Sourcebook provides practitioners within and outside of the World Bank Group with lessons learned, guiding principles, and hundreds of examples and case studies on applying information and communication technologies in poor agriculture.

The e-Sourcebook and website was made possible through theCreating Sustainable Businesses in the Knowledge Economy program and generous funding from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Finland. Authors, reviewers, and other experts in agriculture and information and communication technology (ICT) contributed to the content, and also framed the long-term discussion on using information and communication devices in poor rural areas. This discussion—which motivates this website—is critical to understanding the impacts of ICT on agriculture and smallholder livelihoods. It is also critical to creating sustainable interventions as well as business models that will support the martialing forward of agriculture projects and investments that use ICT.

The website is managed by a collaborative group in ARD and infoDev. Intending to engage with other practitioners, the website offers opportunities for interaction with other interested persons—public and private—working in agriculture and/or ICT. Please explore the website and contribute to it where requested. Innovative applications, media, and updates on on-going projects are only some of the features this site hosts.

The e-Sourcebook is provided fully and freely on this website. Fifteen modules touch on a wide spectrum of sub-fields in agriculture, including risk management, gender, forest governance, and farmers organizations. The Introduction (Module 1) introduces users to the ‘ICT in agriculture’ topic, offering key themes throughout the sourcebook as well as more details on how to use it.

Each module is stand-alone in format, providing users with the advantage of selecting the module or modules closest to their interest or work. The modules are delivered both in html and pdf format. The pdf format can be downloaded and printed. The full book can also be downloaded. In this version, hyperlinks between modules are included to promote cross-referencing throughout the Sourcebook.

If you have any further questions on the e-Sourcebook or website, please contact us. Please also note that the sourcebook is not available in print."

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