Reflections from the "Impact of digital technologies and innovation on smallholders farming: Stories from the field" at the ICTforAg Session


Reflections from the "Impact of digital technologies and innovation on smallholders farming: Stories from the field" at the ICTforAg Session

In Zimbabwe, the poultry farmer Mr. Tafadzwa Charumbira, who is associated with Welthungerhilfe IPVC project, was interviewed in the Social Session at the ICTforAg 2022 Conference. He spoke at length about how an App he uses on his mobile phone has changed and improved his poultry business.

He can upload data about mortality rates, food consumption, and the costs of production and the app calculates his profit margin, showing data and graphs. This enables him to plan accordingly. In addition, the app is a market platform which allows him to sell and advertise his bids and find new customers. It also allows him access to disease research.  Mr. Charumbira called in from Zimbabwe.  

In the similar recording, there were a few female farmers in that country as well who spoke about how the smartphone has liberated them from having to travel long distances to find out prices of tractors, or to wait days or a month to see an extension officer. Now they just get information over the phone or can google it. 

Weather and climate conditions is also something they can access more easily now which helps production. However, not all feel confident in their use of the mobile phone and internet connections are not always stable. Some would like to use it more effectively.  

During the recent ICTforAg Digital Technologies conference, we were given the opportunity to see and hear how farmers use the techniques that FAO has been providing. Listening to how these technologies improved farm management, reduced production costs, and increased farmer income showed that at a local level, these technologies were making a positive contribution on lives.  

We heard from farmers, in their own languages, about the changes these technologies have brought to their lives. During one of the speeches, the sound flickered in and out which served to highlight not only the remote location and rural nature of these landscapes but also how the current challenges impact farmers in these countries, with digital infrastructure being a top priority.  

We were able to speak with farmers of both genders, which also highlighted the importance of gender inclusion in the digital agriculture space. These pre-recorded experiences and discussions from the farmers brought the field to us.

The session was followed by 158 participants and many more are viewing it on YouTube.  

Numerous questions were asked from the public and participation was strong, showing the importance of these stories from the field. 



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