mardi 17 septembre 2013
The potential of ICT for Agricultural Innovative Systems (AIS)
Agriculture Innovative System (AIS) aimed to improve farmer’s productivity. Apart classical approaches like Training and visit systems (T$V) supported by Word Bank, there are several others approaches such as Farmers Field School (FFs), Market access approaches, market oriented approaches …
These new approaches also use several tools. But some studies have proved that, using Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) like rural development tools can lead to good results. So the question to be asked is that how can we use Mobile phone, Internet, community Radio in profitable ways in AIS? The following experiences are some key solutions and can be repeated or adopted depending on agri-contexts.
Mobile phone can help extension officer in their activities. To do this, farmers must first consider mobile phone as work tool and not as something luxurious. They should be familiar with their phone when manipulating it.
Mobile phone is use to inform farmers about market demand and supply, about market opportunities. In Cameroon due to the fact that all Government actions in rural areas are based on agricultural sector, most Non Governmental Organization (NGO) works with State for common goals achievement. For Example NGO called Association Camerounaise pour la Dépense des Intérêts Collectifs (ACDIC) has a good experience in this services.
When there is a new convention between State and a donor in favor of specific crop, farmers are informed by Short Message Services (SMS). This led them to conceive their projects and submit them to decision markers.in order to allow some of them gets financial and/or technical support. When there is a new agricultural policy farmers are informed. Last year for example, about 97% of small scale farmer missed new variety maize seeds. But, due to the fact that they were informed at right time by SMS, they have recourse to their local seeds. ACDIC used this service to inform farmers about seeding due to rainfull scarcity.
Community Radio is other ICT tool spreading out around the country in favour of farmers. More than 200 communities or local radio operating in rural areas are operational. Each radio has a specific day with broadcast focus on agriculture. Those broadcast educated, trained, inform farmers on their daily activities. This Kind of services has a good success in Brazil and India. We observed in Cameroon that, most broadcasts are diffused in local language of areas concerned.
The success of such experience by NGOs leads State to get involved. That is why, today a State Telecommunication Agency (CAMTEL) is multiplying it’s antenna around the country in order to permit a maximum possible of rural areas getting Network signal (Phone, Radio and TV).
To concluded, ICTs has an important role to play in agriculture development, food security and rural development. ICTs will allow farmers to stow with globalization (E-trade, e-selling, e-learning, e-education…). To achieve these goals, Youth have to be implicated because there are those concerned with economic growth, social security, political stability,… because Youth represent more than 60% of handwork in all sector notably Agriculture, and they are those who will lead the World tomorrow.