E-Agriculture

Question 6 (opens 6 Mar.)

mawaki chango
mawaki changoCôte d'Ivoire

Dear all,

Now comes the time for our final question, the number 6.

What key policy recommendations can be made to support the implementation of effective e-agriculture strategies or policies?

From all what we have discussed so far and the rest of your experiences and expertise as well as lessons learned throughout, what are the key recommendations to take away? What are the key points you would advise policymakers and strategy designers and implementation facilitators to keep in mind, all of this for the purposes of ensuring good strategies or policies are effectively implementend (they translate effectively into reality)?

Please make sure you post your replies and answers by Friday night, your time. I intend to begin and finish the report during the weekend. I hope, and would appreciate, I can rely on your pertinent ideas to shape the report. Please make sure to post your answers, especially to this week questions (# 4, 5 & 6).

Thank you.

Mawaki

Henry Ligot
Henry LigotUniversity of Asia and the PacificPhilippines

Based on the Philippine experience of the last 5 years, our key lessons are:
1. Government, together with stakeholders, crafted the national e-Agriculture strategy as a roadmap
2. Once a law was passed (Republic Act 8435), appoint a lead agency (Agricultural Training Institute) within a lead Ministry (Department of Agriculture).
3. Network and empower the stakeholders: state universities, farmers groups, private telecomm sector, businessmen, etc. to optimize resource utilization (even use of radio in remote areas)
4. Divide the work: private sector takes care of ICT infrastructure (including software) while ATI (government) focuses on content and reaching beneficiaries.
5. Government provides incentives for new players to the eFarming (advisers and consultants for new farming technologies), eTrading (buyers and growers/sellers), and eLearning (educaiton and training of farmers) infrastructure.

The government is sharing a lot of information with farmers and fisherfolk, which is driving up acceptance. Like an Orchestra Conductor, government is getting a lot of "musicians" involved and playing a symphony of agricultural growth cheeky

Here's an informative link on the Philippine experience (Powerpoint slides) based on a presentation of Ms Pam Mappala of ATI: http://www.slideshare.net/iaald/ict-initiatives-of-the-philippines-for-s...

zainul DR. SYED MD. ZAINUL ABEDIN
zainul DR. SYED MD. ZAINUL ABEDINwww.connecttask.comBangladesh

The post is very much educative.
The experience of the Philippines may be treasure for many developing countries.
However,models/initiatives of other countries may also be considered.

Following the discussions we have had, the following are my recommendations to policy makers for the effective implementation of e-agriculture strategies:

1.ICT infrastructure should be developed and thus made easly accessible; in order to make the implementation of e-agriculture initiatives wide spread and impact oriented.

2.Youth in Agriculture should be largely targetted for the purposes of swift adaption of e-agriculture initiatives; as well as serve as facilitators at the grassroot for developing the capacity of the older generation on these e-agriculture initiatives.

3.A division should be craeted within the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA) and equiped with the needed human resource and technical infratructure to ensure that the e-agriculture initiatives are effectively implemented.

I am of the opinion that the Agriculture Extension wing of MoFA can assist in this direction but not the drivers of this process.

Henry Ligot
Henry LigotUniversity of Asia and the PacificPhilippines

Thanks Nganwani for this list. As regards no. 2 in your list: the Philippine legislature is working on a law to adopt the Farm Business School (FBS) model of an NGO (MFI Foundation) as an alternative to university studies. The FBS aims to produce more agripreneurs (agricultural entrepreneurs) who can also work as Farm Supervisors. This is part of the educational reform going on in the country, where the 4-year secondary education curriculum will be expanded to 6-years by 2016. The FBS will run parallel to the industry-oriented post-secondary Technical Vocational Education and Training Program. One of our pressing problems is that the average age of agricultural workers/farmers is 57 years old and above, and the sector is about to experience a demographic shortage as more younger people prefer to work in factories or in service industries.

Brad Clarke
Brad ClarkeRural Agricultural Development Authority - RADAJamaica

Participants,
I really have enjoyed sharing in these important discussions. Here are two recommendations that may assist the process that is worth considering. They may share some similarities to other or previous posts.

One solution that has worked well is when the primary stakeholders and major benefactors are integral in the monitoring and evaluation. Interventions are more proactive as deterioration in operations may result in loss of intended benefits.
Another is to establish an independent autonomous body that monitors and evaluates initiatives such as e-agriculture. In this regard each stakeholder can have representational presence and decision making powers. This has been successful in Jamaica through commissions such as that responsible for Electoral matters.

Looking forward to your contributions and the overall outcome from our deliberations. Thank you for the opportunity to participate. Should you need further assistance in any regard, feel free to contact me; preferable by email at bradhclarke@gmail.com.

Towela Jere
Towela JereNEPAD Planning and Coordinating AgencySouth Africa
  • Transparency at all steps of the process
  • Inclusiveness (multi-stakeholder approach)
  • Don’t neglect/diminish role of private sector, academia and research institutions
  • Independent oversight body
  • Hybrid of top-down and bottom up approaches
  • Put the farmer at the center
  • Realistic, well-formulated indicators
  • Domestic resource mobilisation for implementation

(looking forward to reading the report!)

To take into consideration the existing capacity of agricultural sector beneficiries at all levels (Production,post harvest isses, processing, processing...etc) in terms of knowledge and infrastructure to make sure that the value addition by using e agriculture is evident.

Ken Lohento
Ken LohentoTechnical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation ACP-EU (CTA)Netherlands

Dear Mary

Thank you very much for your contributions. Could you please provide more details on this recommendation? How could this be done? 

Thank

Ken Lohento

Simone Sala
Simone SalaFAOItaly

Hello everybody,
integration and transparency are the keywords that pop up in my mind when I think about a possible recommendation for those institutions in charge of designing and implementing an effective e-agriculture strategy/policy.

One typical mistake -though it's cross-sectorial, and does not really challenges e-agriculture per se- is starting with the system as it should be, not taking into account existing initiatives being implemented at the local level for possible integration. With regards to e-agriculture I think that any strategy should start with a deep scoping exercise to determine what are past and current initaitives in the domain of ICT & Agriculture that may be integrated. It is likely that a number of scattered initiatives could have been implemented already, not necessarily employing technology: I do believe that any efforts aimed at improving information and communication processes to the agriculture stakeholders should be identified and examined. These experiences -especially failures- can help very much in defining information and communication bottlenecks as well as opportunities to be leveraged (e.g. identification of key information providers in different contexts). Moreover, from a mere technological perspective the result of such a mapping effort may suggest to create a technology bundle to integrate different local information systems rather than creating a top-down information system ex novo.

Transparency comes close and next. One good example of data transparency I like to quote is that of the MTA (Metropolitan Transportation Authority) in New York. They aggregate a number of data and make extensive use of information systems to manage their network. To better disseminate informations to their users they did not chose to develop their own application, but rather made available for free the bulk of data and meta-data necessary to developers- that were far more interested in competing with each other to create user-oriented applications. 
This may sound far from the world of Agriculture, but if we look at the work of many agricultural ministries and extension departments we may agree that their work -from a data/information/user perspective- is not that different from what MTA does. They aggregate much data with the goal of supporting at their best the efforts of the national agricultural stakeholders. As a result, making parts of these data open to developers may prove to be a win-win strategy in those contexts were there are innovation-prone environments that are interested in creating (mobile) applications to final users: my thought naturally goes to the Tech hubs that are booming in many countries, such as those composing AfriLabs.

Hope these two keywords can be good food for thought!
Thank you =)