E-Agriculture

Ken Lohento

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

Thanks a lot Elisabetta for your Senegal experience and the various links shared. This clearly indicates that there is a will from the government of Senegal to promote e-agriculture, even though their youth ICT entrepreneurship initiative (the various competitions they have supported through the incubator CTIC) is not only focused on agriculture. But we can see that the Grand Prix du Fonds de développement du service des télécommunications (FDSUT) targeted mainly agricultural sectors (2 out of the 3 domains targeted).

CTA also collaborated with their Ministry of agriculture (their agricultural training entity) two years ago, for the organisation of web 2.0/social media training devoted to agricultural officials, including extension officers. The good thing is that, after having experienced our sponsored training, very much interested, they funded themselves two other training sessions using our curriculum (I am not sure if it was with resources from the national budget or with a donor ‘s budget). All this shows indeed that the country does want to fully leverage on ICTs to support the transformation of the agricultural sector. 

However, I have not understood this as a formal move to launch the development of an e-agriculture strategy as we are discussing it here. They have not launched, as far as I know, such a formal process. But they may be formally thinking about it. Also this does not prevent them, maybe in the meantime, to improve ICT usage in their agricultural sector.

Ken

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

I believe that generally, and for its principle, allmost all stakeholders in the agriculture sector would agree that a strategy for better inclusion of ICT in the agriculture strategy would be useful. This because most people literate or illiterate, would recognise that for all human endeavours, having a strategy is better that having none. But, it appears that most agricultural stakeholders, including many who are ICT savvy, have been doubious about e-agriculture strategies, not about its needs per se. 

With agriculture stakeholders in general (including agriculture officials), the first issue lies with the full understanding of ICT benefits for agriculture. Until recently and maybe this is still the case, many of them understand the usefulness of ICTs only through the possibilities they give to process texts (office tools), to send messages across regions and to search now and then some information online. Fortunately for the sector and for all of us, the revolutionary social penetration of the mobile phone and the increased use of SMS to access market information and advisory services by farmers themselves and extension officers are changing the picture. However, we still need more awareness raising, more training and this will change the perception about e-agriculture strategy need with these stakeholders.

On the other hand, many stakeholders who fully understand ICT benefits including many ICT specialists who work with agriculture actors, are doubious about e-agriculture strategies, because they seem to me "afraid" of the cumbersomeness of policy processes; for them, the ICT dimension complicates the matter. Indeed, especially in African countries, experiences have shown that policy processes have taken too much time and financial resources, while concrete results taken time to emerge. ICT for development policy development processes in a great number of African countries offer the best "bad examples"; we have many countries that have developed beautiful e-strategies since a decade or more, but opening a webpage still take minutes in many cases in urban areas as well. Similarly, many beautiful strategies are not implemented, sometimes have not been even officially adopted by the government. Rural cyber-strategies or ICT strategies for rural areas or for agriculture have been initiated in some countries, mobilising stakeholders for months, without official adoption (cases of Mali and Burkina Faso). Therefore, e-Agriculture strategy advocacy and implementation processes need to learn from ICT4D policy processes. To make them acceptable and win the full commitment of these "ICT strategy-aware" stakeholders, the advocacy and development mechanisms need to be displayed as NOT cumbersome and displayed as pragmatic, with quick-wins. If those "ICTstrategy-aware" agriculture stakeholders are convinced, they will convince more easily agriculture stakeholders/officials.

Two elements can help here: regional e-agriculture strategy blueprints and the promotion of sub-sectoral e-agriculture strategies (for extension, agriculture trade, etc.), with the holistic strategies in mind.

More later.

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

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</o:shapelayout></xml><![endif]--></head><body bgcolor=white lang=EN-US link=blue vlink=purple><div class=WordSection1><p class=MsoNormal><span lang=FR style='font-size:11.0pt;font-family:"Arial","sans-serif"'>Dear Abou/Cher Abou&nbsp;:<o:p></o:p></span></p><p class=MsoNormal><span lang=FR style='font-size:11.0pt;font-family:"Arial","sans-serif"'><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></span></p><p class=MsoNormal><span lang=FR style='font-size:11.0pt;font-family:"Arial","sans-serif"'>Merci pour l’effort de lecture des contributions en anglais et pour la traduction de votre message en français. Nous encourageons ceux qui suivent ce débat et qui ne parlent que le français d’envoyer leur contribution dans cette langue, mais d’ajouter une traduction en anglais (si nécessaire en faisant une traduction automatique avec un outil comme Google traduction <a href="http://translate.google.com/">http://translate.google.com/</a>) – idéalement dans le même message).<o:p></o:p></span></p><p class=MsoNormal><span lang=FR style='font-size:11.0pt;font-family:"Arial","sans-serif"'><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></span></p><p class=MsoNormal><span style='font-size:11.0pt;font-family:"Arial","sans-serif"'>Dear Abou<o:p></o:p></span></p><p class=MsoNormal><span style='font-size:11.0pt;font-family:"Arial","sans-serif"'><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></span></p><p class=MsoNormal><span style='font-size:11.0pt;font-family:"Arial","sans-serif"'>Thank you for your contribution and the translation you provided in English.<o:p></o:p></span></p><p class=MsoNormal><span style='font-size:11.0pt;font-family:"Arial","sans-serif"'><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></span></p><div><p class=MsoNormal><span style='font-size:11.0pt;font-family:"Arial","sans-serif"'>Regards<o:p></o:p></span></p><p class=MsoNormal><span style='font-size:11.0pt;font-family:"Arial","sans-serif"'><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></span></p><p class=MsoNormal><b><span style='font-size:11.0pt;font-family:"Arial","sans-serif"'>Ken Lohento<o:p></o:p></span></b></p><p class=MsoNormal><span style='font-size:11.0pt;font-family:"Arial","sans-serif"'>ICT4D Programme Coordinator, CTA <o:p></o:p></span></p><p class=MsoNormal><span style='font-size:11.0pt;font-family:"Arial","sans-serif"'>CTA | P.O. Box 380 | 6700AJ Wageningen |The Netherlands | <a href="http://www.cta.int/"><span style='color:blue'>www.cta.int</span></a>&nbsp; <o:p></o:p></span></p><p class=MsoNormal><span style='font-size:11.0pt;font-family:"Arial","sans-serif"'>Tel: +31 (0) 317 467100</span><span style='font-size:11.0pt;font-family:"Calibri","sans-serif"'><o:p></o:p></span></p></div><p class=MsoNormal><span style='font-size:11.0pt;font-family:"Arial","sans-serif"'><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></span></p><div style='border:none;border-left:solid blue 1.5pt;padding:0cm 0cm 0cm 4.0pt'><div><div style='border:none;border-top:solid #B5C4DF 1.0pt;padding:3.0pt 0cm 0cm 0cm'><p class=MsoNormal><b><span style='font-size:10.0pt;font-family:"Tahoma","sans-serif"'>From:</span></

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

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</o:shapelayout></xml><![endif]--></head><body bgcolor=white lang=FR link=blue vlink=purple style='top:0px!important;margin:0px!important;padding:0px!important' id=mimemail-body><div class=WordSection1><div><p class=MsoNormal><span style='font-size:11.0pt;font-family:"Arial","sans-serif"'>Bonsoir<o:p></o:p></span></p><p class=MsoNormal><span style='font-size:11.0pt;font-family:"Arial","sans-serif"'><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></span></p><p class=MsoNormal><span style='font-size:11.0pt;font-family:"Arial","sans-serif"'>Je voudrais aussi revenir sur le problème de la documentation anecdotique des résultats des projets. En réalité, les organisations qui reçoivent les financements pour un projet, au-delà de la volonté de parler ou non de leurs résultats s’ils sont mitigés,&nbsp;n’ont pas souvent toutes les capacités internes nécessaires pour bien documenter leurs activités. C’est peut-être aussi ce que voulait signifier Josua (&quot;chacun évolue dans son coin et se débrouille comme il peut&quot;). Parfois elles sont beaucoup plus préoccupées par la mise en œuvre de l’activité. Même lorsque les financements incluent une évaluation, il me semble que, dans beaucoup de cas, des évaluations sérieuses, avec des méthodologies appropriées, se ne conçoivent et ne se budgétisent pas au départ. <o:p></o:p></span></p><p class=MsoNormal><span style='font-size:11.0pt;font-family:"Arial","sans-serif"'><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></span></p><p class=MsoNormal><span style='font-size:11.0pt;font-family:"Arial","sans-serif"'>Parfois c’est juste une ligne qu’on prévoit pour répondre à la norme actuelle.  D’un autre côté, je ne suis pas certain, qu’au niveau des organisations appuyant financièrement les projets, on fasse toujours bien attention à la méthodologie proposée pour l’évaluation. Parfois on se limite à un minimum pour l’évaluation afin que le budget total ne soit pas trop élevé&nbsp;; parfois, de part et d’autre, on est un peu pressé de boucler le dossier.  Ainsi peut avoir comme résultat la situation décrite par Ramata. Sans doute qu’il est nécessaire que bailleurs et bénéficiaires revoient un peu leurs modes d’intervention.<o:p></o:p></span></p><p class=MsoNormal><span style='font-size:11.0pt;font-family:"Arial","sans-serif"'><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></span></p><p class=MsoNormal><span style='font-size:11.0pt;font-family:"Arial","sans-serif"'>Un partie de la solution, est de mon point de vue, qu’on devrait vraiment davantage impliquer les étudiants qui font leurs mémoires (même parfois au niveau bachelor/licence) dans l’analyse des actions réalisées par les organisations. Souvent ils n’ont pas besoin, ou pas besoin de beaucoup d’appui financier pour cela. Et ça peut être bénéfique à la fois pour tous (bailleur, étudiant, organisation bénéficiaire du financement).  <o:p></o:p></span></p><p class=MsoNormal><span style='font-size:11.0pt;font-family:"Arial","sans-serif"'><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></span></p><p class=MsoNormal><span style='font-size:11.0pt;font-family:"Arial","sans-serif"'>Cordialement<o:p></o:p></span></p><p class=MsoNormal><span style='font-size:11.0pt;font-family:"Arial","sans-serif"'><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></span></p><p class=MsoNormal><span style='font-size:11.0pt;font-family:"Arial","sans-serif"'>Ken Lohento<o:p></o:p></span></p><p class=MsoNormal><span style='font-size:11.0pt;font-family:"Arial","sans-serif"'><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></span></p></div><p class=MsoNormal><span style='font-size:11.0pt;font-family:"Arial","sans-serif"'><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></span></p><div><div style='border:none;border-top:solid #B5C4DF 1.0pt;padding:3.0pt 0cm 0cm 0cm'><p class=MsoNormal><b><span lang=EN-US style='font-size:10.0pt;font-family:"Tahoma","sans-serif"'>From:</span></b><span lang=EN-US style='font-size:10.0pt;font-family:"Tahoma","sans-serif"'> info@

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

Hello Anju

Thank you for your feedback. I guess you are talking about the summary of findings of the background report we produced. Actually it does not provide details and comprehensive information on any region/country. As we indicated, it's just an introductory research, undertaken through desk research, to have some elements on ICT for agriculture development in the ACP and to spur discussions. So I'm happy you are sharing this feedback. We hope that during the meeting you will give us updates on the Pacific. Moreover, we are planning a detailed study after the Observatory, to better capture (selected) country experiences, lessons learned, innovative experiences, that could be shared. We can discuss about how other partners could join it, help define the scope and expected results, etc.

Regards

Ken Lohento, CTA

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

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</o:shapelayout></xml><![endif]--></head><body bgcolor=white lang=EN-US link=blue vlink=purple><div class=WordSection1><p class=MsoNormal><span lang=FR style='font-size:11.0pt;font-family:"Arial","sans-serif"'>Dear Abou/Cher Abou&nbsp;:<o:p></o:p></span></p><p class=MsoNormal><span lang=FR style='font-size:11.0pt;font-family:"Arial","sans-serif"'><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></span></p><p class=MsoNormal><span lang=FR style='font-size:11.0pt;font-family:"Arial","sans-serif"'>Merci pour l’effort de lecture des contributions en anglais et pour la traduction de votre message en français. Nous encourageons ceux qui suivent ce débat et qui ne parlent que le français d’envoyer leur contribution dans cette langue, mais d’ajouter une traduction en anglais (si nécessaire en faisant une traduction automatique avec un outil comme Google traduction <a href="http://translate.google.com/">http://translate.google.com/</a>) – idéalement dans le même message).<o:p></o:p></span></p><p class=MsoNormal><span lang=FR style='font-size:11.0pt;font-family:"Arial","sans-serif"'><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></span></p><p class=MsoNormal><span style='font-size:11.0pt;font-family:"Arial","sans-serif"'>Dear Abou<o:p></o:p></span></p><p class=MsoNormal><span style='font-size:11.0pt;font-family:"Arial","sans-serif"'><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></span></p><p class=MsoNormal><span style='font-size:11.0pt;font-family:"Arial","sans-serif"'>Thank you for your contribution and the translation you provided in English.<o:p></o:p></span></p><p class=MsoNormal><span style='font-size:11.0pt;font-family:"Arial","sans-serif"'><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></span></p><div><p class=MsoNormal><span style='font-size:11.0pt;font-family:"Arial","sans-serif"'>Regards<o:p></o:p></span></p><p class=MsoNormal><span style='font-size:11.0pt;font-family:"Arial","sans-serif"'><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></span></p><p class=MsoNormal><b><span style='font-size:11.0pt;font-family:"Arial","sans-serif"'>Ken Lohento<o:p></o:p></span></b></p><p class=MsoNormal><span style='font-size:11.0pt;font-family:"Arial","sans-serif"'>ICT4D Programme Coordinator, CTA <o:p></o:p></span></p><p class=MsoNormal><span style='font-size:11.0pt;font-family:"Arial","sans-serif"'>CTA | P.O. Box 380 | 6700AJ Wageningen |The Netherlands | <a href="http://www.cta.int/"><span style='color:blue'>www.cta.int</span></a>&nbsp; <o:p></o:p></span></p><p class=MsoNormal><span style='font-size:11.0pt;font-family:"Arial","sans-serif"'>Tel: +31 (0) 317 467100</span><span style='font-size:11.0pt;font-family:"Calibri","sans-serif"'><o:p></o:p></span></p></div><p class=MsoNormal><span style='font-size:11.0pt;font-family:"Arial","sans-serif"'><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></span></p><div style='border:none;border-left:solid blue 1.5pt;padding:0cm 0cm 0cm 4.0pt'><div><div style='border:none;border-top:solid #B5C4DF 1.0pt;padding:3.0pt 0cm 0cm 0cm'><p class=MsoNormal><b><span style='font-size:10.0pt;font-family:"Tahoma","sans-serif"'>From:</span></

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

(Start date: September 2002)

This project initiates the development of an Information and Communication Technology (ICT) strategy for the Agriculture sector in Bolivia with a focus on small-scale farmers and indigenous groups. The project seeks active participation of policy makers through awareness and capacity development of top-level policy makers in the ministry of agriculture. In addition, other stakeholders in the government, non-governmental organisations (NGOs), private sector and grass root organizations provide input through a series of workshops. The project is the first ICT policy project in Bolivia, providing the newly appointed policy makers in the ministry with a possibility of additional media and political attention.

Read more : http://www.iicd.org/projects/bolivia-ict-policy-for-agriculture

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

Thanks to the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), for sharing this.

Information and communication technologies for agricultural development in Latin America: trends, barriers and policies

By Mônica Rodrigues, Adrián Rodríguez, Feb 2013, 290 pp ECLAC, European Union (@LIS2).

The present publication has been prepared in the dual context of abundance (of ideas, opinions and initiatives) and scarcity (of systematic and organized information) on the potential of ICTs to promote socially inclusive and environmentally sustainable agricultural development. In Latin America, social inclusion and environmental sustainability in agriculture are especially relevant issues, in light of the great structural heterogeneity within the sector and, more recently, the stepped-up pressures on natural resources resulting from the boom in international commodity markets. Yet, the adoption of ICTs in agriculture cannot be expected by itself to reduce production asymmetries and enhance social inclusion. On the contrary, the dissemination of ICTs could indeed produce new gaps by replicating the sector’s historic disparities. 

Taking advantage of ICTs for reversing patterns of unequal development and promoting environmental sustainability in the region’s agriculture will require policies for overcoming barriers to their adoption in those segments that are lagging furthest behind. One way to pursue this goal is to identify successful policies and projects in neighboring countries and in other continents with similar patterns of economic and social diversity and adapt them to countries of the region. This publication is intended to contribute to the identification of successful experiments in fostering the use of ICTs in agriculture.

http://www.cepal.org/cgi-bin/getProd.asp?xml=/publicaciones/xml/9/49319/...

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

Dear all

I would like to thank you all for your contributions which have been very enriching. Personnally, I'm taking from this discussion several things, notably, that (this is not a all summary of the discussion):

a) the existence of a strategic document on ICT in agriculture can help to bring coherence in the application on ICT in the sector, maximize the use of available resources on key priorities (Justin and others),  facilitate the learning process for all stakeholders that need to be involved, help to address access to ICT needs and priorities for key Ag stakeholders,  "help shape the formal legal development in connection to access, protection and utilization of ICTs in Agriculture at all industrial development levels" (Robert and others), the agricultural industry has become borderless (Brad), etc.

b) ICT strategy formulation can be long (case of Burkina), are not the panacea (documents are adopted sometimes but nothing happens), as described by Sylvestre; 

c) sub-sectoral e-agric strategies exist sometimes, focused on a specific domain (extension in particular, and we learned from the situation in the Philippines thanks to Emligot); market and extension have been two of the targets commented on by many in that perspective (Eugene, Aparajita, Zabedin, etc.) - I also note with pleasure the discussion about youth in agriculture by Anju, Moses and others :-) 

d) I also find interesting the discussion on stakeholders' role and the matrix suggested by Towela, Brad, Ben (who has now joined us at CTA as a colleague, congratulations again :-) and others.

In any case we need to be pragmatic, this is also what I learned.

The summary that Mawaki will produce will be shared with you so that you provide additional elements if needed. The "conclusions" of this discussion will then be presented at the ICT Observatory meeting that we are organizing in April in the Netherlands. We will keep you informed about that activity, notably by live tweeting it. We will also keep you informed about any future activities (at the WSIS Forum notably, etc.).

Thanks Mawaki for your very good facilitation. Thanks to UNECA, Minagri, EAFF, IICD and the other partners for sharing your experiences. And many many thanks to the e-agriculture team, Kristin, Andrea and in particular Michael for your strong support! Much appreciated.

I will add other resources people shared with me directly in the resource section http://www.e-agriculture.org/forumtopics/resources-0

Cheers

Ken Lohento, CTA

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

Dear Abebe

Thank you very much for your contribution.

Regarding the ICT for agriculture strategies UNECA assisted Mali and Burkina Faso to develop, do you know if they have been officially adopted or if they are being implemented? 

Are the documents publicly available?

Regards

Ken Lohento