This December, Agrilinks Delves into ICT4Ag
Digital technology is key to scaling up agricultural innovations and improving smallholder farmers’ access to markets, information and financial services. Today, there are countless platforms to help farmers track production, planting, weather, and prices, and more. The wide-ranging field of ICT4Ag (information and communications technologies for agriculture) covers everything from mobile money apps that help take the risk out of cash payments, to traceability systems that help integrate smallholder farmers into global supply chains, to drones that facilitate precision agriculture, and even “smart tractors” that can help meet farmers’ mechanization needs affordably.
Yet the challenges in scaling up ICT4Ag solutions are as great as their potential. Smallholders need timely information tailored to their needs – the crops they grow, the fields they plow, the markets they serve, the languages they speak. Mobile apps and tools need to be farmer-centric, while also built on sustainable and scalable business models for the service provider – the unicorn of the development community. Reliable and affordable access to mobile networks and digital literacy are also important preconditions to reaching global farmers and other players in their supply chains.
This December, Agrilinks is inviting experts and implementers in this field to share best practices, promising innovations and their thoughts on the future of ICT4Ag. To kick off the month, we’d like to share a few key resources from the Agrilinks archives and others in this space, including:
- Agrilinks’ ICT4Ag collection, a curated compilation of blog posts and technical resources featuring some of the pioneering applications of technology for agricultural development, from drones and remote sensors to mobile training videos to support agricultural extension.
- A series of case studies on digital inclusion and a hands-on guide to digital financial services in agriculture from the Digital Development for Feed the Future, a collaboration between the U.S. Global Development Lab and the Bureau for Food Security.
- Towards Digitally Enabled Global Agriculture and Food Systems, one of 18 technical guidance documents developed to guide implementation of the U.S. Government’s Global Food Security Strategy.
- A GIZ report detailing challenges, opportunities and lessons learned in ICT4Ag. The report includes case studies, listings of existing platforms, organizations and networks working in this space, and a checklist for program planning and design.
- e-Agriculture, a global community of practice that facilitates dialogue, information exchange and sharing of ideas on the use of ICT sustainable agriculture and rural development.
Do you have a favorite resource, a great idea or a lesson learned on ICT4Ag to share? We hope you’ll join the conversation this month by posting it on Agrilinks!