ICT Tools


"mFarms is an integrated and customizable ICT platform designed to help stakeholder in agricultural value chain communicate with each other efficiently, establish and maintain business relationships and manage the flow of goods and services among them. It is designed to create operational efficiencies by allowing organizations, associations and identifiable groups to serve a large number of their members or affiliates dispersed over space. The platform consists of mobile applications (java and android and web applications). Among others, the platform has the following capabilities: production and purchase planning; verification of adherence to production techniques and schedules; broadcasting alerts and extension messages through text messages and interactive voice response services; estimation of production cost.

To facilitate effective linkages among value chain actors, mFarms operates on a database structured to hold complete profiles, including geo-referenced locations and cell phone contacts of each category of user or service. One of the capabilities of the platform is the ability to synchronize with modules developed on this platform using APIs. With a search and query facility, users will find the locations of farmers, buyers, input dealers, warehouses, haulage companies and sources of credit and other service providers and develop business relations with ease. Any identifiable group with its network of suppliers and clients dispersed over a large area will find the platform very useful in reducing transaction cost in terms of money and time thus increasing margins on their operations."


  • Farm Radio International - Uses radio combined with other ICTs to serve smallholder farmers. Sends out information at low cost  to improve food security to 360 radio stations across 39 countries.  www.farmradio.org


Participatory Radio Campaigns and food security: How radio can help farmers make informed decisions:
Also see downloadable report below.

Marketing on the airwaves: Marketing Information service and radio:

The new age of radio: How ICTs are changing rural radio in Africa:

  • Kencall’s voice call center approach in Kenya (combined with radio spots and ads).

Communicating Agricultural Research in Africa: The New Role of Rural Radio, http://www.comminit.com/en/node/223240/38


  • "e-Arik: Using ICTs to Facilitate "Climate Smart Agriculture" among Tribal Farmers of North-East India". 

  • The Centre for Development Informatics (CDI), University of Manchester (UK) published a case study on e-Agriculture Initiative (e-Arik project in North-East India) as a innovative initiative in linking ICTs, Agricultural Extension and Climate Smart Agriculture.
  • eChoupal, India http://echoupal.com Through eChoupal farmers have access both public and private ICT links to both get technical information and to sell their products on-line.
  • Tamil Nadu Agricultural University, TNAU
    e-Extension Centre: Information and Communication Technology Support Services in
    Agriculture (ICT-A) (see attachment below)
    • Also working on using mobile phone technology to deliver information to farmers
    • Collaborating with IFPRI on Knowledge Management on Indian Agriculture, www.wiki.tnau.ac.in

FARA Projects  (www.fara-africa.org/networking-support-functions/access-knowledge-technologies)

  • Regional Agricultural Information and Learning System (RAILS) and its on-line learning platform eRAILS
  • Dissemination of New Agricultural Technologies in Africa (DONATA)
  • AfricaAdapt

  • Technologies for Agriculture, TECA 
TECA is an FAO initiative that aims at improving access to information and knowledge sharing about proven technologies in order to enhance their adoption in agriculture, livestock, fisheries and forestry thus addressing food security, climate change, poverty alleviation and sustainable development. The emphasis is on proven technologies for smallholders. www.fao.org/teca/
Plantwise will deliver knowledge in two ways - face-to-face via a network of plant clinics in the developing world to help the poorest farmers and internationally via a comprehensive global knowledge bank.

Status August 2011:
"Led by CABI,
Plantwiseis a new global initiative to improve food security and the lives of the rural poor by reducing crop losses. We have recently received funds of over $11 million from our two main donors, the UK Department for International Development and Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation.

There are now over 147 plant clinics running in 14 countries, and pilots running in 5 more. You can find out about the clinics and the farmers they are helping from our new website, which was recently released.

The website also contains a fully working prototype of the knowledge bank that will support the clinics, extension workers, researchers and policy makers and all those working in plant health. The site includes:

  • A prototype pest distribution and mapping system (currently contains distribution information on over 2,500 pests and diseases)
  • An online pest diagnostic support tool (covering 1,500 pests and diseases)
  • Treatment support information (hundreds of factsheets)

We believe that Plantwise will make a huge impact on the lives of some of the poorest farmers in the world and those working to improve food security ..."

  • Using Facebook to communicate for farmers to communicate with each other and with technical experts. The Organic Farmer is just one example!  http://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Organic-Farmer#!/pages/The-Organic-Farmer/221035491662. "The Organic Farmer (TOF) is a farmer information service for relevant, reliable and ecologically sound information which is appropriate and applicable to farmers in Kenya and East Africa." Note that this NGO offers communication also by SMS, email, and even provides a phone number to call.
  • infonet biovision www.infonet-biovision.org  is a web-based information platform offering trainers, extension workers and farmers in East Africa a quick access to up-to-date and locally relevant information in order to optimise their livelihoods in a safe, effective, sustainable and ecologically sound way.
  • CELAC - Collecting and Exchanging of Local Agricultural Content (Uganda)
  • This project of BROSDI (Busoga Rural Open Source and Development Initiative) aims at the use of ICT methods and knowledge sharing to enhance poverty reduction and food security. CELAC operates in all the four regions in Uganda. http://www.brosdi.or.ug, http://celac.or.ug/
  • Telecentre.org (http://community.telecentre.org/)
A "global network of people and organizations committed to increasing the social and economic impact of tens of thousands of grassroots telecenters around the world. Telecentre.org assists these organizations by providing the tools, resources, support, and learning opportunities that telecenters need to succeed. This in turn fuels a global movement that improves communities and empowers people. Created in 2005 with support and funding from Canada's International Development Research Centre (IDRC), Microsoft, and the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation...." 
"A telecenter is a public place where people can access computers, the Internet, and other information and communications technologies to find information, create, learn, and communicate with others while they develop essential digital skills."

  • Building Global Food Chain Partnerships, www.globalfoodchainpartnerships.org. An example of a plattform for sharing and making publicly available the presentations from three conferences (New Delhi (2007), Cairo (2006), Chicago (2005)) that focused on examples from many parts of the world of linking farmers to markets. The 2006 and 2007 presentations are shared publicly in slide and video format, all accessible on various types of smartphones as well as PCs. 

Open Educational Resources

EcoLearnIT  ecolearnit.ifas.ufl.edu
  • Provides access to Reusable Learning Objects (RLOs) which are small learning units focused on environmental sciences (soil, water, climate, policy, ecosystem services), ecology, natural resources and agricultural management. The material is peer-reviewed and shared among EcoLearnIT users.
Participate as
    • Author or author-teams: Create RLOs with the support of authoring tools provided in EcoLearnIT
    • Instructor: Use the in-build RLO aggregator and include RLOs into modules or courses
    • Learners: Search for content and learn ...more
    • Course on Reusable Learning Objects: Learn about technical and pedagogical approaches to develop RLOs. This training will allow you to become an expert RLO developer ... more.

Electronic Data Information Source, EDIS edis.ifas.ufl.edu
A comprehensive, single-source repository of peer-reviewed publications


Van Mele, Paul. 2011. Video-mediated farmer-to-farmer learning for sustainable agriculture. A scoping study for SDC, SAI Platform and GFRAS. Agro‐Insight, Belgium. (available for download at bottom of this page)

  • Low-Cost Video for AG Extension  

 Image of toolkit coverIntegrating Low-Cost
Video into Agricultural Development Projects:

A Toolkit for Practitioners


Webinar, Toolkit and Workshops from USAID Project: DigitalGreen and others have pioneered an approach to producing, distributing and getting good feedback related to very low-cost videos for AG extension work. The webinar is archived at  www.ICTforAG.org.

Setting up of dedicated channels on Youtube, e.g., by the International Rice Research Institute, http://www.youtube.com/user/irrivideo#p/a 

SAWBO, Scientific Animations Without Borders

Cell Phones (voice and text)

Using cell phones to disseminate price, weather, disease, and other types of information to producers. Examples:

Link to an interview on YouTube with Mark Davies, eSoko:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0IoqLTx8nm8

More background info on Esoko:
  • http://vocalpress.org: "VocalPress strives to serve information needs of the bottom billion by bringing the features of Internet to telephony network. Telephony networks are accessible through simple ..."


  • GoogleSMS Farmer’s Friend service (SMS but backed by evolving search capabilities with web channel, crowd sourcing, big effort to shape content to be most useful) – Uganda, Nigeria, and several others
  • Reuters Light – in India with 100,000s of subscribers… with some good research going on to measure impact of service direct to farmers or via farm extension workers compared to control group getting no service. Also interested in expanding to SSA.
  • Nokia LifeTools – focusing right now on rolling out low cost market price services in Nigeria, India, Indonesia, China but potentially promising tech tools/business models.
  • Question Box: "Giving easy access to information in areas with illiteracy, language and technical barriers" http://questionbox.org
  • India Development Gateway(InDG) is a country-wide initiative that will target specific country needs in the domain of rural and social development. The Gateway is the National portal of India developed as a single-window access to information and services, with specific objective of reaching the ‘un-reached’ rural communities of India, especially women and poor. It catalyses the use of ICT tools for knowledge sharing, leading to development.

Andrea Bohn,
Sep 14, 2011, 11:04 PM
Andrea Bohn,
Sep 14, 2011, 11:04 PM
Andrea Bohn,
Jan 9, 2013, 11:31 AM
Andrea Bohn,
Oct 13, 2011, 7:10 AM