Administrator e-Agriculture

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Dear Participants,

The online discussion on, “The role of Information and communication technologies (ICTs) in the Sustainable Intensification of Crop Production (SCPI)” has officially ended.

This has been a very fascinating discussion, looking at the intriguing, qualitative and insightful contributions from all of you. The sharp increase in the number of people joining the e-Agriculture platform over the course of the three weeks as well as the remarkable enthusiasm, with which you discussed the various issues put in evidence the significant role of ICTs in sustainable intensification of horticulture crop-based systems.

Indeed, reading from your contributions, there has been many ICTs in use and many more will emerge, all adapted to different contexts, scale and cropping systems. This shows us that we cannot have “a one size fit all solution” for all the issues in the sustainable intensification of horticulture crop systems. Quite a number of you agreed that, to increase horticultural production sustainably there is an need of embracing ICTs, as it offers and promises a multitude of advantages towards achieving our global goal, ending hunger by sustainable intensification of crop production, amidst of the changing climate.

We received a total number of 75 contributions from participants from the following countries: Argentina, Australia, Bangladesh, Benin, Cambodia, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ghana, India, Indonesia, Iran, Italy, Kenya, Malawi, Namibia, Netherlands, Nigeria, Philippines, South Africa, Tanzania, Togo, Trinidad and Tobago and Vietnam.

Below you can find the short summaries from each week for those who had no time to follow the entire discussion.

Discussion Week Summary of discussion
Week 1 ( The role of ICTs in horticulture) Read here
Week 2 (ICT case studies in horticulture)  Read here
Week 3 (Challenges for ICTs adoption in horticulture) Read here
  • All the contributions received have been archived and remain accessible here.
  • For a short overview of the cases shared during this forum you can read here

On behalf of the moderating team, allow me to express our gratitude once again to all who actively participated in this forum. Thank you for your time, your dedication and efforts to share your experiences with the Community of Practice. We hope you have also learnt a lot from the discussions.

We look forward to welcome you all in future online discussions.

With best wishes,

Forum Moderators

 (Translation to English provided by e-Agricuture Team)
Context of the experience in which innovations have been developed 
In the context of promoting good horticultural practices "producing more with less", the CIAAD, supports family gardens (groups of small gardens from households to increase fruit and vegetable consumption). Together, they propose a new mode of marketing directly bringing together the market gardeners and the consumers of the neighborhood and neighboring communes, thus avoiding intermediaries. Direct sales contracts between market gardeners practicing production and integrated pest management (IPP) and consumers are based on the experience of the FAO GCP / DRC / 028 / BEL project.
What kinds of changes have been brought about by innovations via NICT?
The contract, via pre-financing of market gardening production cycles, secures the incomes of women heads of households. They thus have a monthly visibility and low market uncertainty, since the purchase prices of vegetables with IPP label are guaranteed and are higher than the market prices of the neighborhood.
This approach reverses the traditional image of the market gardener with low bargaining power in a food chain composed of many intermediaries who capture most of the value added at the expense of producers. This more equitable economic model allows a better valorisation of the fresh products proposed. Consumers have access to "labeled" fruits and vegetables, of which they know the producer. The IPP mode of production responds to a growing demand from urban consumers in Kinshasa, who denounce the bad uses of chemicals in the market gardens of the capital Kinshasa, and are concerned about their health and the protection of the environment. It avoids the use of pesticides and other herbicides that are costly and dangerous for producers. Through qualified training and access to appropriate technical / technological innovations via mobile phones, targeted vegetable producers have adopted alternative pest management and fertilization techniques (bio-pesticides, composting of household waste, above-ground cultivation , etc.). A certification system, involving urban producers and consumers (CPCU), is currently being implemented, attesting to the IPP label of the products sold.
In addition, vegetables from intelligent horticulture are cheaper than those offered in the main markets of Kinshasa and are not grown in IPP mode.
Main results: 
•  50 families of IPP consumers are affiliated to the CIAAD in the communes of Mont Ngafula, Lemba and Mbinza-UPN, including 3 religious convents 
• 25 vegetable producers, including 15 women, were able to pre-finance their production and increase their income by 10 to 20%
• 5 horticultural workers and 3 jobs created in the distribution
• Each month, nearly 100 kg of vegetables and fruit are sold in 3 horticultural outlets. 
Main types of innovation:
• Organizational: - direct contracting between producers and consumers
• Participatory certification system for organic products under implementation, involving producers and consumers
• Institutional: - partnership between the Institute and the Center for Research and Communication in Sustainable Development
• Social: - active involvement of consumers in the food chain 
• Financial: - prefinancing of the vegetable production cycle by consumers
Description of the "NIC" innovations
Web 2.0 Training
By 2015, five CIAAD facilitators were trained in intelligence horticulture, NICT and short marketing channels in neighborhood markets, at a workshop to capitalize on the achievements of the HUP-FAO project organized by the Consultant Expert in Horticulture : Clément TENGE TENGE.
They were introduced to the production and use of compost and learned good sustainable horticultural production practices, with the application of ICT tools for the exchange of information and technological innovations. Thanks to the exchange of experiences and knowledge, a group of households of partial gardens emerged in the Kindele, Kimbondo and Ngansele districts in the urban commune of Mont Ngafula.
Although GMPPs were originally set up to promote the consumption of vegetables in households, today, at the request of informed consumers, they are seeking a partnership with local plots of vegetable plots to consume quality. And in the current phase, market gardeners and CIAAD have proposed the establishment of horticultural baskets, with a view to marketing IPP products at reasonable prices for consumers while ensuring equitable remuneration for market gardeners, avoiding the intermediaries.
This short marketing circuit is based on a reciprocal commitment between producers and consumers, formalized by a renewable contract lasting 6 months. While market gardeners can finance their production more easily and ensure a stable and regular outlet, consumers undertake to pre-finance production by knowing in advance the provenance and production conditions while benefiting from quality at very competitive prices. Moreover, the participatory guarantee system for the IPP production mode is an innovative device thanks to the applications of the ICT tools, and the involvement of consumers.
To diversify their product baskets, market gardeners have established a relationship with the Horticultural Fruit Resellers Association to provide a supply of fresh fruit. Supplementing the needs of "fruit-vegetable" portions of consumers, women also sell spices, processed horticultural products, including jams and local fruit juices (pineapple, papaya, guava, lemon, etc.).
Key players involved
Actors Status Roles Contribution : CIAAD ONGD Founder of AMAP organizes courses and training for family households and gardens, promotes fruit and vegetable consumption, horticultural production and local marketing channels through solidarity-based local partnerships.
Households Producers partial plot gardens Producers Products provides IPP-labeled products, adopt good sustainable production practices and use tools and ICT applications
Consumers Kinois Individuals / families Client partner of producers Prefinancing of horticultural production Endowment of unburned plots of land for market gardening 
Participation in the implementation of the promotion of fruit and vegetable consumption. 
CERED Center for Research and Communication for Sustainable Development: Support for participatory certification Provides technical and methodological support on the certification process.
The pilot experience of CIAAD works well and faces strong urban demand. The increase in the supply of IPP vegetables depends on the factors of production available, access to secured land constituting a major obstacle to its development, particularly on the market gardens of Kimwenza, Funa Campus which are currently occupied by anarchic constructions, not resilient to climate change. At the same time, the training of future kitchen garden households on good horticultural practices and the applications of ICTs in market gardening and the contractual and concerted distribution system of the CIAAD type is of a strategic nature, hence the CIAAD, seeks the support of the FAO to support a qualifying training project. Finally, mastering the tools and applications of ICTs in a guaranteed operational, participatory communication system is essential to ensure the sustainability of the achievements.
Obstacles to overcome 
Voluntary households and market gardening to adopt good agro-ecological practices (after awareness of pesticide-related health problems) 
Land insecurity for market gardening 
Strong demand from urban consumers and insufficient distribution points Training Of the producers provided by the NGO CIAAD (former beneficiary of the FAO-HUP-DR Congo project)
Lack of a continuing education center for young and future household gardeners
Upscaling of the activities
The CIAAD in DR Congo illustrates the transfer of an organizational innovation concerning the marketing of quality horticultural products within the framework of a system for transferring technological and technological innovations thanks to ICT applications. This innovation is being widely disseminated in the main urban agglomerations in the country, with a view to developing Greener Cities in DR Congo.
This adoption of the applications of the ICTs differs, however, by a more oriented steering from the family kitchen gardens. Generally presented as a way to introduce the younger family, and encourage the increased use of fruits and vegetables in daily meals. The CIAAD seeks to make accessible to the largest number of urban households in the disadvantaged neighborhoods of the capital.
Main lessons learned 
This organized system of IPP fruit and vegetable baskets enables us to upgrade the horticultural industry in a city where it is generally synonymous with social decline. Horticulture is a potential source of employment for the upgrading of young people. Beyond the exchange of food, CIAAD has innovated by setting up a fair trade of participatory type, consumers buying land destined for market gardening. Finally, this experiment proposes a new system of agricultural innovation and knowledge in which professional, institutional and associative actors participate, in particular the consumers involved in the ICTs.

(Translation provided by e-Agriculture team)

Congolese horticultural farmers learn how to produce quality vegetables required by supermarkets. They receive information on the rational use of plant protection products, composting and horticultural practices through various ICTs.

A few organizations in the country are using ICTs to provide farmers with climate or marketing advice. These include CIAAD, CSAYN and CARITAS.

The rural radio (RTNC), for example, in collaboration with two of its partners in the broadcasting system, supports the production of an interactive radio series, every morning from 5:30 am to 6:00 am.


The objective was to assist small farmers in accessing real-time information on agriculture and rural development. The radio series strengthened the training workshops organized by civil society organizations and specialized services on good agricultural practices.

The Web.2 training series organized by CSAYN and CIAAD presented young farmers with a number of ICT-based tools to facilitate their participation and involvement, both with radio-broadcasters and in the exchanges they have between them.

The interactive voice response system is one of the main participatory technologies. This system allows vegetable producers to access important messages and alerts, listen to parts of radio broadcasts and record and share messages with radio stations, such as lessons learned from the implementation of new methods in the field. CIAAD provides training and mobile phones to selected farmers' organizations, enabling their members to access voice information on market prices and weather conditions, and advice urban and peri-urban horticulture. Content is provided by CIAAD, a market information agency. It is then recorded by the CIAAD and sent to the radio stations.


Democratic Republic of the Congo

Center for Initiatives and Actions for Self-Development "CIAAD"


Translation to English provided by e-Agriculture

Our experience with vegetable gardens in residential plots in urban areas. We share information and experiences with mobile phones. The Kindele and Kimbondo districts in the municipality of Mont Ngafula are a model for the DRC.

Since October 2016, 30 households of Kindele or neighboring districts (women and men), cultivate plots according to its means, and this to promote the daily consumption of (400 to 600) fresh quality vegetables, according to FAO-WHO standards. In order to do so they use good old watering cans.

Fertilizers are made from the recycled biodegradable household waste.

About 60% of the production is used for auto-consumption. What is left is sold and allows the households to buy other products. We want the plots to become fully organic and eco-responsible. Through messages and direct calls, women can ask questions and get answers to their concerns about technical steps to take (seed selection, separation, seeding mode and planting) such as application of compost for example. Especially SMS are used to contact local mentors.

Our goal is to reach a large number of households, since most of the hortiultural sites in the municipality of Mont Ngafula are destroyed by buildings. Garden plots have the advantage of being secured land for households/farmers in plots and the quality of the vegetables remains good for their health

Translation to English provided by e-Agriculture

Smart horticultural production in residential areas.

We are experimenting various social networks tools, to develop innovations that can produce changes in the horticultural practices used by farmers in urban areas. We are confronted with a serious problem thus the misuse of chemicals in horticuture growing sites. We have met young people (women and men) who are practicing horticulture farming in their respective residential plots (Smart agriculture) having an objective to preserve the environment and the health of consumers. Our concern is to give them access to a network of peers and mentors and to have them benefiting from FAO’s funds as well as regular ICT support, for example case of http://www.fao.org/hortivar/.

Focused on what several of our participants in the forum related to what resilience means, I would like to contribute by giving an example of how ICTs help to develop resilience before the onslaught of nature. We recently had the sight of Hurricane Otto, who touched the coast of our country. Thanks to ICTs we already knew the route that the Hurricane took and knew in advance where exactly it was going to land, as it happened, giving the government the time to take the necessary preventions to evacuate whole communities, thus saving many Lives. There was also a day of the week where there were multiple disasters. On the one hand Hurricane Otto on the Atlantic coast of our country and on the other side we had the impact of an earthquake of 6.9 or 7 degrees in the Pacific. The entire TSUNAMI alert system was activated in Nicaragua and this way, even though there was no tsunami the work was carried out in terms of prevention. In all these situations ICT, community organization and responsible government such as the one we have played a key role in preventing major disasters and human losses in these situations, which as we all know are unpredictable.

Agriculture has always been uncertain and today we must add another additional factor of uncertainty, climate change. It is worrying to see losses and / or low crop yields because the traditional rainfall calendar is no longer useful. The legume crops traditionally planted in September to take advantage of the last rains have suffered from strong and abundant precipitations that don't seem to stop.
In my opinion, it is necessary for the farmer to have climate prediction tools that make it easier to adapt to the crop calendar. Many farmers still make planting calculations based on the traditional rainy season.
Incorporating ICT into regional agriculture is limited mainly by the cost of systems, equipment and high obsolescence. Additionally the infrastructure for internet connectivity is poor. Overcoming these barriers creates a strong resilience to face the adversities of agriculture.

Dear all,

During the last days, Question 1 has received tremendous participation, with over 200 posts from all over the world!
At this point, I have closed Question 1 in order to focus our thoughts on the remaining issues this week. However, if you have something specific that you would like to add, you may email your comment to info@e-agriculture.org and we will review and post if appropriate.
We look forward to continue this engaging forum over the other 3 questions!
Michael Riggs, facilitator

The forum invited Subject Matter Experts to inform and enliven the conversation  

 Sharbendu Banerjee 
Director of Business Development
CABI South Asia-India
 Judy Payne
ICT Advisor 

 Hillary Miller-Wise
Country Director 
TechnoServe Tanzania
 Fiona Smith 
Director GSMA 
mAgri Programme
 Collins Nweke 
Project Manager
Tigo Tanzania
 Mr S. Srinivasan