E-Agriculture

Mireille Nsimire

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Mireille Nsimire
Mireille NsimireIITADemocratic Republic of the Congo

Introduction

Strengthening smallholders’ access to quality market information - especially price information - is an area where ICT has great potential and already some success in developing country agriculture.

Despite multiple public and private investments in agriculture, there are very few countries that have good basic price and product availability information services. Yet this is changing with increases in connectivity and affordability of ICT tools.

During the past three months, we’ve started to explore the impact of market information system on IITA-Kalambo Youth Agripreneurs Incomes.

 

Objective:

  • The overall objective is to increase income through ICT tools
  • Specific objectives are:
    • To increase the volume of sales of IKYA products to consumers
    • To link farmers to market through our marketing unit
    • To inform all people on the services offered  by IKYA
    • To create awareness of agriculture opportunities

 

Approach

 

According to the usage rate of information technology in North and South Kivu, mobile phones, Internet, and radio where the three ICT technologies we agreed to start with in order to meet our objectives. In collaboration with Airtel D.R. Congo, we are using mobile phone to send bulk messages to farmers and consumers based in North and South Kivu about IKYA products.

 A bulk of 10.000 SMS were sent from the month of May 2016 with following message: ‘’Achetez les produits de qualité (Farine de maïs, manioc, lait de soja ainsi que les intrants agricoles produits par IKYA en utilisant Airtel money:0999519627 » in additional to bulk messages, we have introduced the online payment method using Airtel money, which allows IKYA to minimize the risk of managing cash. Finally, after the MoU signed, Airtel will open a free line at the selling point to allow producers to communicate with the youth center on the availability of agricultural products in their villages.

We have developed IKYA online market to allow remote customers or those who have no time to visit IKYA selling point to purchase their product online using the web platform; the application works as a mobile app and web application.

Link to online market:  https://ikyaonline-store.ecwid.com/#!/RECETTES-&-FARINES/c/19186107

Outcome or Impact

IKYA market team  have reported an increase of 20% of their revenue after the first month of above services launching. Total Facebook page likes have reached 257, while twitter followers remain 19.

 

Mireille Nsimire
Mireille NsimireIITADemocratic Republic of the Congo

Hi Shukri Ahmed, Deputy ,

Thanks alot for this powerful Instruduction on How ICT can Help Resilience Project or Program. I beleive this forum will help us to classify type of ICT Services and tools being provided to enhance agricultural development. I've Just realized  that I do many ICT stuff without classifying them............. hoping to learn more during this forum.

Thanks

Mireille Nsimire
Mireille NsimireIITADemocratic Republic of the Congo

I Think the best process to develop the national e-Agriculture strategy and who should be involved;  is first to consider the factors influencing farming.
Farmers make decisions about what to grow, what animals to keep, the level and type of inputs and the methods they will use. Their decisions are based upon a range of social, economic and environmental factors. Based on some  geographical factors which are:are 1. Natural Factors 2. Economic Factors 3. Social Factors 4. Political Factors! It could be good to have an national e- Agriculcure strategy focused to address the  above factors due to the fact that it involved Multiples stakeholders in Local, National, Regional,and International level.

 

Mireille Nsimire
Mireille NsimireIITADemocratic Republic of the Congo

Hi Gerardsylvester,

I just wanted to this question Do these services also have to be "owned" by the ministry of agricuture? I don't think the ministry of agriculture of countries should be the owner of the application. I think the ownership should be giving to developpers.
But The ministry of agriculture might play the role of afvocate to the telecom or ICT operator. One more tough is the national telecomshould play an important role on developping these services if there are able.

Mireille Nsimire
Mireille NsimireIITADemocratic Republic of the Congo

From my experiences of providing ICT support  and solution to farmers, I would suggest that the E-Agriculture strategy should go beyond web and android application development ( the real farmers even scientist remain behind the technology, few are those who are trying to catch up)

If I've have to propose something I would propose that the E-Agriculture should be focused on Farmers Market access. the National E-Agriculture strategy should define how farmers can make use of ICT through out agriculture value chain;( this includes natural resources management, soil management, production , transformation and market access).

below are few practical application and theirs advantages which might be used as strong point in E-Agriculture strategy guide.

Mobile payment systems: Mobile payment systems give farmers without access to financial services an inexpensive and secure way to transfer and save money using their mobile phones. By allowing smallholder farmers to save small amounts of money, receive payments quickly in times of need and pay for agricultural inputs via their phones, mobile payment systems replace costly traditional transfer services and the need to travel long distances to collect funds. They also provide a secure means for employers to distribute wages to agricultural workers, and for governments and NGOs to ensure agricultural subsidies go directly to farmers.

Micro-lending platforms:The Micro-lending platform aims to connect smallholders in Africa with individuals elsewhere willing to provide finance to help the farmers to buy much-needed agricultural inputs. Mobile access to micro-lending platforms provides a free and secure way for rural borrowers to be matched to potential investors and gives existing micro finance providers access to those who need loans the most. Mobile payment records can be used as proof of credit history.

Farmer helplines: Farmers call a helpline and speak to agricultural experts who can provide answers to agricultural queries. The experts and researchers can use information on the issues raised to improve their understanding of agricultural trends and the challenges encountered by farmers in Africa

Mobile management of supplier networks: Food buyers and exporters can use mobile phones to manage their networks of small-scale growers and help field agents collect information. Managing large numbers of small farms and growers requires networks of field agents, auditors and technical staff to gather a wide range of information. They carry out farm audits, check the quality and quantity of harvests, and report problems. Keeping detailed paper records for this information is inefficient, can be erratic and can lead to delayed decision making. Equipping field agents with mobile phones improves the supplier management process, providing a reliable, quick and cheap way of creating electronic records in a central database. Field agents visiting farms can use their mobile phones to input data on farmers’ locations, crops and expected yield. Farmers could also use mobiles to send information about their likely harvest date and other key indicators to food buyers and other organizations. Buyers and distributors could use this information to collect fresh food items more promptly and get them to market as soon as possible, reducing food waste and increasing agricultural incomes.

Mobile management of distribution networks: Distributors of farming inputs such as seeds and fertilizer could use mobile technology to gather sales and stock data, improving availability for farmers and increasing sales. It can be difficult for companies supplying agricultural inputs to monitor and manage their wide network of rural retailers. Communications and transport difficulties lead to information gaps. Retailers could record sales using a mobile camera phone to scan the barcode, sending this data straight to a central system for analysis. Building up a digital record of sales across a region could help distributors avoid supply gaps. Improved understanding of supply and demand could also help identify new market opportunities and tailor products to local needs.

Micro-insurance systems: Mobile micro-insurance systems can safeguard farmers against losses when bad weather harms their harvest, encouraging them to buy better quality seeds and invest in fertilizer and other inputs. This can improve productivity and boost farmers’ livelihoods as well as enabling suppliers to expand their market among smallholder farmers. Delivering micro-insurance via mobile avoids challenges with conventional channels that can make insurance expensive. Remote monitoring of weather avoids the need for insurers to make farm visits. With mobile micro-insurance systems, farmers also benefit from quick, secure payouts using money transfer services.

Agricultural trading platforms: Linking smallholder farmers directly with potential buyers through a mobile trading platform could help them to secure the best price

Mireille Nsimire
Mireille NsimireIITADemocratic Republic of the Congo

Dear LeeHBabcock,

Just wanted to support your contribution. This option is being explored in Democratic Republic of Congo! we shall hopefully come out with good result as soon as possible.

Mireille Nsimire
Mireille NsimireIITADemocratic Republic of the Congo

Dear All,

Thanks for this first question concerning the need of National E-Agriculture Strategy. For me and my country  I strongly beleive that it is needed.

Current literatures suggest that the agriculture is a source of livelihoods for 86% of rural people in developing countries and it provides 1.3 billion jobs for small-scale farmers and landless workers. Moreover, the contribution of agriculture in growth of GDP in much more as compared to other sectors. In recent years, with the advent of ICT tools, potential contribution of ICT can be seen in achieving agricultural development objectives and contributing to broader economic, social and institutional development. ICT helps in growing demand for new approaches, business models, good practices and design guidance in agriculture and rural Development projects. Lot assistance is available for the farmers with the use of ICT.

The proper awareness and understanding about crops, seeds, fertilizers, marketing and other related information, are achieved through several media using ICT tools. ICT also helps in empowering the poor and rural people by providing better access to natural resources, improved agricultural technologies, effective production strategies, markets, banking and financial services; local and national policies related to agriculture etc. I thing this might help to make a proper case for an national e-agriculture strategy.

Mireille

Mireille Nsimire
Mireille NsimireIITADemocratic Republic of the Congo

Thanks Alice, we look forward to start contributing on this forum.

Kind Regards

Mireille