Information and Communication Technology

ICT for Rural Advisory Services: www.ict4ras.org

CTA ICT update: http://ictupdate.cta.int/

FAO (2015) Success Stories on ICT for Agriculture and Rural Development. www.fao.org/3/a-i4622e.pdf
FAO (2009)


Our goal through the MEAS project is to address constraints in improving the effectiveness of pluralistic extension systems. 
Click this link for practical tips on using ICT in extension, checklists for evaluating ICT tools. 

The information provided is structured along the lines of the "ICT Matrix" that maps Extension Functions with ICT options. Click on the image to see the matrix in detail. 

Follow the links below to access ICT options, key principles, and case studies either from the perspective of the Extension Function it supports or from the type of ICT used.
 
We make no claim on comprehensiveness nor do we endorse any particular tool.  


The MEAS ICT Matrix




CRS Farmbook Business Planner – Business Canvas Case



Solution: Develop and deploy a basic yet robust business planning tool, to assist millions of smallholder farmers in emerging economies to prepare a marketing plan, define their production costs, revenues and expected incomes at the start of a season and review projected figures against end of season figures to evaluate investments against market performance.



Challenge: There are approximately 500 million smallholder farmers most of whom live in developing countries. Most of these farmers produce enough to provide food for their families and depending on the weather sell small surpluses for cash in the marketplace. These farmers are the stewards for a vast area of the world’s agricultural land and they will need to play an important role in growing the additional food that is required to feed the next 2 billion people by 2050. Despite the importance of these farmers, millions are trapped in poverty.

Whilst many farmers have received some level of support to improve their production, few farmers sustain the use of new technologies because they are NOT linked to the business economy and fail to achieve a reliable return on their investment. Rather than continue to focus on production alone, a concerted effort is required to overcome the critical lack of business skills within the farming community. Farmers will invest in their farming systems, if they can capitalize on better returns.

How technology can help link farmers to markets? In the past 10 years, there has been an explosion in the use of mobile technology across the globe and this has penetrated virtually all of the poorest regions of the world. With this new infrastructure comes the opportunity to use mobile technology to support the business needs of farmers. This approach will help link more farmers to buyers and essential service providers such as agricultural research for new ideas, agricultural input dealers, who sell seed, tools and fertilizer and financial agencies who manage loans for new enterprises.

Supporting business development for millions of clients is difficult when farm advisors work with paper, but their ability to gather business information and share this with partners in the business environment, is a much more credible value proposition if the right type of technology was available to them.

Technology: Mobile application with basic input and calculating features, linked to a cloud hosted data base for information processing, more advanced analytics and reporting.

Impact: The aim of this project will be to develop a business planner application to be used by hundreds of to support more than 500,000 smallholder farmers in the next 5 years.

Extension Functions

  • Raise general awareness of opportunities
  • Provide mass advisories
  • Provide technical information; demonstrate, or train
  • Diagnose problems and recommend solutions
  • Respond to follow up questions raised by clients
  • Facilitate access to credit and inputs
  • Assist with business planning
  • Linking farmers to markets
  • Knowledge management
  • Conduct surveys, enumerations, or for monitoring and evaluation 


    Communication Tools


    Devices

    • Radio 
    • Television, projectors, screens
    • Phones, simple and feature cell phones
    • Smart phones, tablets, laptops, personal computers, handheld devices  
      (with access to the internet, apps)


    MEAS' Direct Engagement with Particular ICT Applications and Tools

    • MEAS is supporting consortium member Catholic Relief Services in developing and rolling out of Farmbook. This tool can fulfill several of the functions listed to the left.
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    Andrea Bohn,
    Jan 25, 2011, 6:12 AM
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    Andrea Bohn,
    Jan 25, 2011, 6:11 AM
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    Andrea Bohn,
    Jul 5, 2011, 2:56 PM
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    Andrea Bohn,
    Mar 11, 2011, 8:59 AM
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    Andrea Bohn,
    Mar 11, 2011, 8:59 AM
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    Andrea Bohn,
    Nov 30, 2014, 9:30 AM