E-Agriculture

Garcia Honvoh

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Garcia Honvoh
Garcia HonvohIMAGE-ADGhana

That is right on spot! The knowledge of the thematique bearing in mind all you said is same i tried to battle in my earlier submission. ICT yes but it should be the right one taking into account all you listed.

Garcia Honvoh
Garcia HonvohIMAGE-ADGhana

ICT is a great medium for information gathering, storing, analysing and disseminating. However, ICT services providers provide these solutions based on their own understanding of what is needed without more often than not proper research. Private and public organisations working with smallholder farmers collect information to suit specific need of purpose. I believe, it is time we start by going to the farmers to understand what information they actually require and why, discuss with them and agree on what really matter before an ICT approach to resolving their need in information or other agricultural technology.

I was at women forum early this month in Abidjan organised by USAID C4CP and its partners CORAF, WAAPP, AfDB etc... There have been number of agricultural technology developed to ease women work in farming and processing. Various seeds have been developed for better yield and more resistant to pest. Besides, nutritious processed foods have derived from the grown crops. How many are actually aware of these? Those technology needs to be disseminated though ICT across Africa so, all farmers be it women, men, young can benefit from it and prevent other researchers from wasting the time on same issues already resolved by their peers in other countries and concentrate on other equally pertinent issues that need attentions. Research result should and must be widely disseminated through ICT.

Farmers when they follow the Good Agronomic Practices and have good yield thanks to ICT, they need to sell: a structured market is more sustainable then producing before looking for a buyer again, ICT can and is making this happen however, how many farmers are actually aware or have experienced that? Awareness must be created on what already exist so it can be improved upon and avoid reinventing the wheel to create unhealthy competition.

Research is takling improved seeds, mechanization however, one thing farmers said they are not is packadging to add value to their agriculture produce processed or not. Where can they find the seeds, input in general, where can they sell, where to store, where to find good packadging? So many questions which answers must be streamlined and organized through ICT to make those information readily available to farmers.

I know for plant health management for instance CABI has come out with an up you can install on your smart phone “plantwise’’ based on each country they are present. It health identify the pest and find the solution to deal with it. Furthermore, it provides the nutrition value of each crop to improve the intake of those crop as well as their production by smallholder farmers engaged in subsistence farming. As not every farmer or event extension agent can use smart phone, mFarms for instance works with the University of Ghana (Legon) to repackage such information and disseminate it to farmers/farmer leaders via SMS and also came out with posters for educating the smallholders’ farmers. This is typical open data on agriculture and nutrition made available to a few farmers. It should be many more. As one person stated earlier, information generation cost a lot so does its dissemination. Will the farmers be ready to pay for such information even a token? More often than not due to the government or projects interventions here and there, farmers are not willing to pay. Commercial farmers when they see the value yes but the smallholders farmers to who the information are most targeted are not willing to pay for it. That is also a hindrance in generating and disseminating pertinent information to smallholder farmers: someone must cover the bill.

ICT can make open data for agriculture and nutrition accessible to farmers however, there are preliminaries that should be done for the information to reach the right target and serve their purpose more efficiently and cost effectively based on the above observations shared.