This session covers areas related to the capacity strengthening of different stakeholders in the agricultural sector. It will include a review of agricultural data initiatives in West African states, and explorations into
By the end of this session, participants will have gained insight into
Head of the Knowledge Management Unit at the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), coordinates an interdisciplinary team that focuses on ways to connect information and knowledge management with international development research.
Bill Gates dedicated his entire (December 2012) annual letter to emphasizing the need for better measurement. “Given how tight budgets are around the world, governments are rightfully demanding effectiveness in the programs they pay for. To address these demands, we need better measurement tools to determine which approaches work and which do not. I think a lot of efforts fail because they don't focus on the right measure or they don't invest enough in doing it accurately.” In a Wall Street Journal feature article on the same theme, he concluded: “We can do better. We have the tools at hand.”
Using empirical learnings from Grameen Foundations programs, this session will explore the value of measurement in agricultural supply chains. It will show how measurement tools can increase transparency for organizations in making investments or launching new services that benefit the poor. ICT makes data collection and measurement more efficient. But the much bigger opportunity for ICT is to design more holistic solutions that measurably address the real problems of the small farmer by allowing all key actors in the value chain system to make better management decisions – what is increasingly called creating “shared value”.
The future of agricultural value chain financing, for example, will rely on these tools to design better product offerings, understand the needs and uses of their products better, and seamlessly track behavioral change and welfare improvement.
The session’s learning objectives include:
Founder, Women of Uganda Network (WOUGNET)
e-Governance Research Analyst, UNDP
Senior Business Leader, VISA
Senior Programme Coordinator Communication, CTA
Luz Marina Alvare
Head of Knowledge Management, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI)
Senior Market Information Specialist, International Fertilizer Development Centre (IFDC)
Officer Community Relations, Innovation & Capacity Development, International Institute for Communication and Development (IICD)
Alvaro Valverde Lopez
Private Sector Advisor, Oxfam GB
Knowledge and Capacity for Development, FAO
Head of Knowledge Management and Information Services, International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI)
Managing Associate and Lead Econ-omist, Integra Government Services International LLC
Associate Professor and Co-Director of the Centre for Social, Spatial and Economic Justice, University of British Columbia
CEO at East Africa Exchange
Account Director, United Nations Motorola
Adviser, E-business - Mobile Solutions, ITC
ICT Applications Coordinator, ITU
Director of Business Development, Souktel Inc.
Founder and CEO at AppsTech
Global Director, Mobile Agriculture Innovation, Grameen Foundation
The nature of the agricultural sector demands that its planning, implementation, and monitoring activities be based on sound evidence. The trend of demographic data on farm households is critical. Timely access and accuracy of these data on farmers, their households and farm activities is primarily key for policy, and decision-making by development organizations, national governments, and funding agencies. Governments require quality data in order to monitor development processes and to take actions to ensure food security. For project implementers, field workers, and researchers, evidence-based decisions made by governments and international organizations have an added value on their future production, marketing, and decisions. In West Africa, the Research and Statistical Directorate of ECOWAS has recognized the link between a rich set of accurate, adequate, relevant and current data; good research; and policy-making.Effort such as the conceptualization, design and implementation of the West Africa Agricultural Information System (ECOAGRIS)is laudable. But little progress has been made in tackling the problem in its entirety. The challenge may be classified as social, institutional, and technical. The study is designed to understand the current state (social, institutional, and technical) of agricultural data in ECOWAS, identify opportunities for integrating ICTs for data management, and make the right linkages between appropriate systems/platforms and the policy analysts/users to take agriculture information a step further in West Africa. This would help address the current information gap between policy makers and data managers.
Keeping accurate and up-to-date records is vital to the success of any enterprise. Poultry farmers lack convenient ways for collecting, analyzing and storing information about their enterprises and hence do not see the power of record keeping into profitable farming.
All farmers need to manage their enterprises by keeping records about their farm expenditure which include running costs, production and sales to be able to evaluate their farm performance and to make decisions on improvement. Most of the farmers do not have modern tools to facilitate their record management and have no access to computer systems, but majority own mobile phones and stay in areas with network and cellular signals. The currently available mobile applications concentrate on providing farming information about commodity prices, markets links, education and money transfer while forgetting the important aspect of record keeping which would give a farmer reports on sales volume, revenue and expenditure in a given period of time to allow timely evaluation and necessary action. All this would have been time consuming without a mobile record keeping application. Further, the system provides farmers with health advisory.
A well-managed record keeping system through mobile phone application, whose usage is more than 80% in Africa, will improve the quantity and quality of poultry data available to decision makers. This is a pre-condition for formulating effective agricultural and rural sector investments to help farmers tap into market opportunities.
In decision making, relevant government organs can deduce information from the recorded data on production level, diseases outbreaks, revenues and expenditures for intervention and improvement in the sector. For example assuming the system is used by 70% of all the poultry farmers in the country for a period of one year, this will imply that 70% records of the poultry enterprises will be available to the government and other stakeholders in the sector for planning, decision making, and intervention and evaluation purposes.
With the availability of real data on farmer’s organizations, farmers will be able to manage their enterprises well by keeping good records which can help them analyze their business performance and knowing what to do to improve that performance or correct where they went wrong. It is essential for farmers to provide data and keep good records because not only that it is helping them manage their farms but also the collected data can be used by other players in the sector for better improvement of the sector and with that the information barrier between the policy makers like the government and the farmers will be narrowed.
The world population is anticipated to be 9.1 billion in 2050 and the challenge is how to feed this huge number of people without affecting other natural ecosystems. Different approaches have been proposed and closing the "yield gap" on currently available agricultural lands is one of them. Yield gap analysis can be performed at different scales; from field to global level. Of particular importance is estimating the yield gap and revealing the underlying explanatory factors contributing to it. As decisions are made by farmers, farm level yield gap analysis specifically contributes to better understanding, and provides entry points to increased production levels in specific farming systems.
Obtaining information about farm management, crop management, farm and farmers characteristics for a large number of farms is a challenge. Nowadays, due to the proliferation of computing and mobile devices which are equipped with sensors, and other similar technologies, it has become possible to implement bottom-up data collection approaches like crowdsourcing (the "act of taking a job which was traditionally performed by a designated employee and outsourcing it to a crowd, generally large group of people in the form of an open call" (Sharma 2010) with which relatively great amounts of information can be directly obtained from local volunteer communities (Ferster and Coops 2013).
1. Closing the yield gap on currently available agricultural lands is one of the options for food security. Detailed yield gap analysis at the farm level is required to estimate the yield gap and causes of the yield gap. To conduct yield gap analysis, detailed data at the farm level is required.
2. Crowdsourcing is one of the innovative bottom-up data collection approaches where farmers can provide detailed data for yield gap analysis.
3. In order to get active participation from the farmers, their motivation needs to be identified and based on this the required incentives and motivation need to be understood.