Oxfam GB, the International Sustainability Unit (HRH the Prince of Wales), and the GSMA, have commissioned a landscaping survey to identify opportunities to use their collective force to enable mobile interventions that will deliver on the potential of mobile technology to empower female and male smallholders and contribute to the development of a more vibrant and sustainable food system. Experiences from this project will act as the basis for deliberation on ICTs and sustainable agricultural development in the post-Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) era.
The session aims at identifying opportunities that enable mobile interventions for sustainable agricultural development. To be shared: experiences from WeFarm on peer to peer knowledge sharing (agro practices); the use of tablet applications by the IDS Knowledge Services to aggregate agricultural research and agricultural data indicators for use by policy makers; and the experiences from MINAGRI, Rwanda, in building a strong force of proximity extension agents who work directly with the farmer groups to assist them to increase productivity, improve quality and reduce post-harvest losses.
Is currently working for Oxfam GB; developing innovative, insightful and strategic projects and programs that use mobile phones to deliver information and financial services to smallholder farmers in Africa and Asia. Also providing support to Oxfam's existing relationships with private enterprises and researching, establishing and managing new partnerships with private sector companies across the ICT, agriculture and finance sectors.
As part of the call for proposals for grants for small technical projects, IDS KS funded developers, Gebre Wallace, Matthew McNaughton and Jonathon Smith of the Caribbean Open Institute (COI), which is housed Mona School Of Business, University Of The West Indies, Jamaica, to develop a tablet application Agricultural Research Evidence Assistant (AREA).The Agriculture Research-based Evidence Assistant (AREA) is an innovative Android tablet application that combines the academic research found in the IDS KS API, with related agricultural data indicators in the World Bank Open Data API, and current events and news trends, powered by Microsoft’s Bing News Search API. The goal of the app is provide multi-tiered access to information, in the form of research publications, macro statistics and current events, to provide a novel approach to evidence-based decision making.AREA specifically targets professionals, policy makers, and academics with interests in the agriculture domain, providing mobile and on-demand visual access and representation of thematic indicators related to agriculture, such as production yields, arable land, rural population percentages, both on a national levels as well as country comparisons.The team were responding to a direct need as they had been involved in the first Jamaican open data initiative, which centred around a collaboration with the Ministry Of Agriculture (MOA). The team saw first-hand how greater access to agricultural information could be utilized by a number of ministry stakeholders, ranging from farmers who utilized price information to managers who could use data aggregates to visualize the whole sector.Extending the application in the future is possible. Areas that could be added are: adding additonal data sets (perhaps single niche datasets or perhaps an array of general sets to provide a “Research Assistant” functionality), including other World Bank indicators and visualisations.
With the combined efforts of the Ministry of Agriculture and Animal Resources, MINAGRI, its agencies and development partners, Rwanda is building up a strong force of proximity extension agents who work directly with the farmer groups to assist them to increase productivity, improve the quality and to reduce post-harvest losses. At the same time, a lot of valuable extension material (printed, audio and visual) is produced. However to provide an easy and quick access for the proximity extension agents to that extension material were remaining a challenge. On that point, ICT came in to significantly increase the access and use of all kinds of practical extension material on time (quick and easy access), market searching and insuring agricultural production by putting in place weather station information capturing system for agricultural insurance program. ICT in Agriculture is increasingly important not only in Rwanda but also in the world. It is an emerging field focusing on the enhancement of agricultural and rural development through improved information and communication processes.MINAGRI/Rwanda is not left behing as mentioned above, to boost agricultural sector different ICT initiatives put in place such as: