E-Agriculture

Question 2 (opens 19 Sept.)

Question 2 (opens 19 Sept.)

 What factors make ICT-based advisory services for smallholders sustainable? 

 


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Ritu  Raj
Ritu RajDigital GreenIndia

 

Making ICT based advisory services viable and sustainable for small-holders has always been a challenge. Efforts have been made to ensure that these services – reach to small holders, respond to their needs as well as are continuously accessible to the small holders. In most of the developing countries like India, the small holders are largely located in remote villages and are not-so-well digitally connected. Thus, limiting their access to ICT based solutions. Experiences have provided us with few key learning on how we can make ICT viable and sustainable for small holders:

1.       The technology should be suitable to the local context i.e. use of mobile based technologies may have limitation in regions where connectivity is still challenged

2.       Technology should be easy to use, to ensure that  the farmers use it themselves with minimum external support

3.       Experiences have shown that farmers learn better from fellow farmers hence the technology solutions should support and facilitate this.

4.       The ICT solution should be cost effective both in terms of reaching out to small holders as well as ensuring the small holders adopt the practice/s.

Michael Riggs
Michael RiggsUN-APCICT/ESCAPRepublic of Korea

Thanks Ritu Raj for sharing these key points based on Digital Green's experience. They bring out important factors to keep in mind, particular to ensure the sustainablity of demand for these services. I look forward to comments from you and others on how the supply (provision) of these services can be made sustainable.

cheers

Ritu  Raj
Ritu RajDigital GreenIndia

 

Hi Michael,

The supply provision of these services can be made sustainable by integrating the ICT based advisory models within the larger public extension systems. Also where communities are well organised they can pay Rs. 2/3 per screening per video which will help the community to sustain the model by themselves.

 Further, we can work towards influencing governments and private service providers to increase investments in media dark areas and provide mobile connectivity and high bandwidth facility in remote areas which will enable the remote and rural areas to get access to locally relevant information.

<p>Dear All,</p>
<p>Whilst i agree on the approach to implementing ICT advisory services to small holders, i feel connectivity of remote areas is key to achieving service delivery. I would like to suggest that it is cardinal to advocate to governments to prioritize connectivity to remote areas in their development plans by way of stimulating private sector ( service Providers ) invest in rural areas.</p>
<p>Coming to sustainability, my understanding is that provision of information costs money and if the users are able to pay for the service thereby making the system pay for its operation costs and continue to receive a service, then the business model is sustainable. Also i have seen projects funded and when the funds stop coming the project is taken over by a department and activities are funded within the department budget. Others have called such as project being sustainable.</p>
<p>My comment to both situations is that sustainability can be viewed both from these angles. The later, sustainability is seen by way that the activities have been enshrined in the main department which has a mandate to fulfill provision of those services. Richard</p>
<p>&nbsp;</p>

Dear All,<div>Whilst  i agree on the approach to implementing ICT advisory services to small holders, i feel connectivity of remote areas is key to achieving service delivery. I would like to suggest that it is cardinal  to advocate to governments to prioritize connectivity to remote areas in their development plans  by way of stimulating private sector ( service Providers ) invest in rural areas.</div>
<div>Coming to sustainability, my understanding is that provision of information costs money and if the users are able to pay for the service thereby making the system pay for its operation costs and continue to receive a service, then the business model is sustainable. Also i have seen projects funded and when the funds stop coming the project is taken over by a department and activities are funded within the department budget. Others have called such as project being sustainable. My comment to both situations is that sustainability can be viewed both  from these angles. The later, sustainability is seen by way that the activities have been enshrined in the main department which has a mandate to fulfill provision of those services.
<br>Richard<br><div class="gmail_quote">On Thu, Sep

According to our experiences to obtain the sustainability of ICT-based advisory services the programs should be focus on followings,

1. The contents and informations should be developed according to need of the end users eg. need of farmers

2. Before implementing the program it is needed to ensure the skills of users on ICT. before implementing make sure to give basic knowledge and infrastructure for accesing ICT

3. Contents should be in local languages and they should be in simple and interactive form

4. Advisory services should be upto date and should supply timely and relevant information

Considering above factors also will be help to ensure  the sustainability of ICT based advisory programs for smallholders.

Nisansala

Kiringai Kamau
Kiringai KamauVACID AfricaKenya

<p>As happens all the time, the only situation in which ICTs make sense is when their introduction starts from the market end, just like we do in implementing value chain models. If we seek to offer advisory services, the solution should start with what makes the farmer produce acceptable by the consumer and then offer services around that going backwards.</p>
<p>Too much focus has been given to mobile solutions which assume that the infrastructure, knowledge and the ability to navigate through the web of products and services will be easy and possible for farmers. Pro-programmed queries whose response is a short message text could provide the kind of online solution that is needed so that farmers whose eyesight is running off with age can make use of the miniature technologies.</p>
<p>If mobile solutions are not the option, then a telecentre infrastructure may be called upon to bridge the gap. In my view and as noted here, the challenge is:</p>
<ol>
<li>
Who will identify the challenges that may pull the farmers to technologically driven information sources?</li>
<li>
Who will create interest in the farmers so that they can pursue digital knowledge?</li>
<li>
At what layer of a commodity chain should digital technology be used for farmer reference?</li>
<li>
What followup mechanism ensures that the farmer uses the technology knowledge disseminated? Do we have experiences that have addressed these issues effectively? Kiringai&nbsp;</li>
</ol>

Kiringai Kamau
Kiringai KamauVACID AfricaKenya

<p style="margin:10px 0px 0.9em;border-bottom-width:0px!important;border-top-width:0px!important"></p><div><font face="verdana">As happens all the time, the only situation in which ICTs make sense is when their introduction starts from the market end, just like we do in implementing value chain models.</font></div>
<div><font face="verdana"></font></div><div><span style="font-family:verdana;font-size:13px">If we seek to offer advisory services, the solution should start with what makes the farmer produce acceptable by the consumer and then offer services around that going backwards. </span></div>
<div><span style="font-family:verdana;font-size:13px"><br></span></div><div><span style="font-family:verdana;font-size:13px">Too much focus has been given to mobile solutions which assume that the infrastructure, knowledge and the ability to navigate through the web of products and services will be easy and possible for farmers. </span></div>
<div><span style="font-family:verdana;font-size:13px"><br></span></div><div><span style="font-family:verdana;font-size:13px">Pro-programmed queries whose response is a short message text could provide the kind of online solution that is needed so that farmers whose eyesight is running off with age can make use of the miniature technologies. If mobile solutions are not the option, then a telecentre infrastructure may be called upon to bridge the gap.</span></div>
<div><span style="font-family:verdana;font-size:13px"><br></span></div><div><span style="font-family:verdana;font-size:13px">In my view and as noted here, the challenge is: </span></div><div><ol><li><span style="font-family:verdana;font-size:13px">Who will identify the challenges that may pull the farmers to technologically driven information sources? </span></li>
<li><span style="font-family:verdana;font-size:13px">Who will create interest in the farmers so that they can pursue digital knowledge?</span></li><li><span style="font-family:verdana;font-size:13px">At what layer of a commodity chain should digital technology be used for farmer reference?</span></li>
<li><span style="font-family:verdana;font-size:13px">What followup mechanism ensures that the farmer uses the technology knowledge disseminated?</span></li></ol><div><font face="verdana">Do we have experiences that have addressed these issues effectively?</font></div>
</div><div><font face="verdana"><br></font></div><div><font face="verdana">Kiringai</font></div><p></p><div class="gmail_quote">On W

Benjamin Kwasi Addom
Benjamin Kwasi AddomThe Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTA)Netherlands

Hi All,

I'm wondering if we have examples of sustainable ICT-based Agricultural & Rural Advisory Services. I conducted a study early this year where I asked some of the app developers to self-report the stage of their ICT for Ag solutions - i.e. Piloting >> Scaling >> Sustaining. 

My results show less that 10% (about 15 out of 150 apps) falls into sustainable stage. This was based on either self-reporting from the developers or based on my analysis of their projects.

So as people share these factors based on their experiences, I wish we also cite examples that we think are sustainable ICT-based agricultural advisory services and why we think they are sustainable.

 

Ben

 

 

Laura Drewett
Laura DrewettEsoko NetworksGhana

Ben, 

What is your definition of sustainability? I think we should clarify this before giving examples. 

Are you specifically looking for examples where farmers are paying for the ICT innovations?

Are you referring more to examples where donor-funded projects have developed and introduced a technology? In these situations sustainability could refer to whether this innovation is still being utilized by the target beneficiaries after the project, or it could just mean that there is a service provider in place at the end of the project that will continue to offer and  support the service, or both?

Sustainability is difficult to achieve, and, once we all are on the same page about what we mean by it exactly and what we should be aiming for, we can start to brainstorm and discuss models that could work.