This session will look at the critical issue of agricultural content/information. Technology is advancing quickly (e.g. mobile tools and service penetration) and the demand for information is growing. Yet entrepreneurs and development workers report in many cases the information needed to meet that demand does not exist. How do we ensure that actionable digital content is actually available to meet the opportunity and demands? The session will take a broad view of content sources and custodians, looking at stakeholders including farmers, agribusiness, the public sector, and media. In addition to sharing successful experiences, the speakers will engage the audience in a discussion about the many challenges that we face. Based on real and collective experience the session will delve into issues such as: What is the role of the public sector in providing content that will be used by the private sector? Can local/indigenous knowledge be captured and used in mobile information systems? What role does content supply have in the business models that will make agricultural information services sustainable? What can technology alone facilitate and where are concerted interventions needed to ensure that content is available?
New information and knowledge are critical inputs for the practice of agriculture the world over. This is especially true for resource-poor farmers living in rural areas of ACP countries. Yet most of these farmers are not only resource poor but also information poor. Mobile technology holds great promise in enabling information services to resource-poor farmers and, as a consequence, improving their livelihoods. The number of mobile connections is presently six billion and growing. There are many examples of mobile-based interventions in agriculture, health, education and rural livelihood projects, however, few have moved from the pilot phase to fully functional and sustainable initiatives. There is a need for sharing experiences and good practices about the use of mobile phones in agricultural development and poverty reduction. In particular, senior officials from government, from the private sector and experts in mobile agricultural information systems need to further explore how effective partnerships between the public and private sectors can deliver mobile agricultural information services.Mobile-based information delivery/systems (MAIS) hold great promise for agricultural advisory services.
Technological Convergence Among the New and Conventional Technologies--- The Case of Online JournalismLeveraging Information Communication Technology (ICT) for Mass Media Communication seeks to apply the cost-effective application of the Internet in the dissemination of public information and education.Emphasis will be placed on technological convergence among new and conventional technologies to ensure the widest possible distribution of content to the target audience.This is given the fact that Internet density alone of about 24 percent in Guyana does not guarantee mass accessibility of disseminated information. Here in Guyana and other Caribbean States, radio remains a potently influential mass medium.The leveraging of ICT for Mass Communication can, indeed, have a Transformative Power in Media for Agriculture because of the option of instantaneous feedback of not only text but also videos and pictures from the field and factory. This has been proven in the immediate delivery of general news information from and to areas where newspapers, radio and domestic television are inaccessible.The strength of media and in particular ICT as it relates to agriculture can be critical in public awareness, public education and information in promoting the value of agriculture from the farm-to-the-table. The strength is also to report issues to influence public opinion, create social pressure and sound policy decisions and allow for effective participation of civil society. It can also be used to make decision-makers more accountable decision-makers.My presentation will also highlight how farmers and others in the agriculture chain can drive content by sharing information from the ground via Social Media, rather than just relying on what producers and journalists decide is important. Looking at ICT as a Distance Education tool, the presentation will illustrate how this may be possible.As an example of how we are leveraging ICT: Currently, Demerara Waves Media Inc; the parent company of Caribbean News Desk, is actively engaged in networking with more than one dozen radio stations to broadcast a daily 15 minute news magazine programme. These will include not only news but also panel discussions on agriculture, the social sectors and the environment.Currently, Demerara Waves /Caribbean News Desk - as an Online publication- is regarded as a highly credible news source. Built from the bottom upwards, people from the far-flung remote areas of Guyana, densely populated coastland and the large Caribbean Diaspora depend on us for bringing today's news the same day. Equally, many readers are themselves Citizen Reporters who share tips and images via Blackberry Messenger, Twitter and Facebook. From the field, they provide pictures and raw information which are verified by professional journalists before they are crafted into journalistic content and distributed.There is no reason why Specialized Content such as that about agriculture cannot be gathered and disseminated in the same manner.
Majority of the populations in developing countries are the rural poor who often are illiterate, off grid-power, far from a government extension worker and lack access to important agricultural information and knowledge that would enable them to make informed decisions and improve their livelihoods. A wide range of undocumented local knowledge exits which loses important components across generations, scattered and not accessible yet smallholder farmer are unable to buy expensive synthetic inputs and have environmental and health concerns about synthetic inputs. This presentation will demonstrate how through innovation a network of Community Knowledge Workers (CKWs) use mobile technology to collect local knowledge that people in communities have developed over time, continue to develop and It is based on experience, often tested over centuries of use, adapted to the local culture and environment, embedded in community practices and rituals.These CKWs based at the grass roots use mobile technology to deliver this same local knowledge and other agricultural extension services to the hardest to reach rural farmers. There is potential in local experiences and practices and we believe that access to this local knowledge increases yields, reduces losses, and increases incomes of the poor. Indigenous knowledge in agriculture is having effect as it has changed the approach and attitudes of policy makers and agricultural development partners and this has led to renewed interest in understanding challenges of rural communities.