Feed the Future
This project is part of the U.S. Government's global hunger and food security initiative.

Welcome to Agrilinks Digital Month

Even as a Generation-Xer, I like to think I am an early technology adopter. I was fortunate enough to use computers and the internet from an early age, had a GPS and learned how to do geospatial analysis, but went through life until the age of 22 without a mobile phone. In 2001, as a newly minted Peace Corps Volunteer in The Gambia, I took the leap and bought a cell phone. It was a simple blue Nokia 3310. I had no idea how much that little device would change my life and the world around me.  

I got it because I wanted to occasionally call my parents in the U.S., but that tiny Nokia did so much more. The instantaneous communication created by my magical Nokia kept me connected to friends all over the country. I didn’t need to depend on a regional call center a 10 minute bike ride away to call home or wait until a friend passed through my village to talk to them. As long as my battery had power and I had a signal, I could call or text anyone at any time; talking or texting about anything - weather, work, transportation and, of course, social gatherings. It was amazing! After having my Nokia for a week I couldn’t imagine living without it. A cell phone hasn’t left my side since. 

The ways in which people use mobile phones and other digital technologies have grown exponentially since the time of my first cell phone purchase in 2001. Our phones are still the primary information sharing and data collection tool, but the impact is well beyond just person-to-person communication, particularly in agriculture. 

Global agricultural development is increasingly shaped by the unprecedented growth of the digital economy. Digital technologies have demonstrated the potential to redefine economic growth models, empower people with new communications tools, and facilitate more productive interactions and financial transactions across agricultural market systems and value chains. In many places, tech is enabling agricultural and financial service provision at a scale never before seen. And the growth will continue as more and more people gain access to and demand digital technologies. 

This month at Agrilinks we are highlighting how digital tools and technologies have and will continue to change every part of the food system. We’ll look at high-level trends, learn more about some unique, impactful, and scalable solutions, and examine how we’re beginning to assess and understand the impact of digital tools and technology.

Throughout the month, we would also like to learn about your experiences with digital tools and technologies in your work and personal lives. Please leave a comment below or click here to tell us a story of how a digital tool or technology has shaped your life or how you see digital technology changing your life in the near future. If you like, we will then share your story with the Agrilinks community. 

Also, we would like to learn more about how you are using digital tools and technologies to help solve many of the most challenging development challenges. Please take 10 minutes to complete this survey. Results will be posted at the end of the month.