ICT4Scale in Smallholder Agriculture: Contributions and Challenges.
There is growing recognition that information and communications technologies (ICTs) comprising traditional media and newer tools, such as mobile phones and web-enabled services, can contribute positively to household food security and rural income in developing countries' agriculture (Duncombe, 2018; Gray et al., 2018; Trendov, Varas, & Zeng, 2019). This view point is informed partly by the relatively slow progress made in addressing development outcomes as well as by a momentum surrounding scaling up agricultural innovations to achieve greater impact at scale for a large number of beneficiaries (see Sachs et al., 2017). Various scholars and development practitioners have illustrated the value of ICT-mediated tools to improve service delivery in smallholder agriculture, such as the provision of timely and accurate extension information, enhanced coordination of input and output supply chains, and greater access to financial services (Aker & Ksoll, 2016; Deichmann, Goyal, & Mishra, 2016; Duncombe, 2018).
Yet there remain important gaps in our understanding of the developmental impact of ICTs at scale (see Brown & Skelly, 2019), particularly with regard to achieving long-lasting positive impact in agricultural development projects and programs. To address this gap, Farm Radio International (FRI), Canada and Farm Radio Trust (FRT), Malawi launched a 30-month research initiative, "Harnessing ICT to Scale-up Agricultural Solutions" (ICT4Scale) (running from May 2017-October 2019), to examine the roles and contributions of ICTs in scaling agricultural innovations for food, nutrition, and income security, with a focus on sub-Saharan Africa (FRI, 2017a). Several studies were undertaken to generate evidence on how different combinations of ICTs, institutional arrangements, and actors affect the implementation of agricultural innovations and to offer lessons to governments and development actors seeking to use ICTs in their agricultural development initiatives more effectively.
This article presents the main findings from one of the ICT4Scale studies, a meta-review of 15 agricultural development projects that employed a diversity of ICT tools in combination with other interventions to scale up innovations in low-income, smallholder agriculture, predominately in sub-Saharan Africa. The range of ICTs used by the projects comprised interactive radio broadcasts; mobile phones (for Short Message Services [SMSs], voice calls, unstructured supplementary service data [USSD], and interactive voice response [IVR]) and social media (WhatsApp and Facebook); and e-vouchers. Among these, radio proved to be the most widely used communication channel among rural populations. ICT-enabled interactive radio programs are particularly valuable to translate complex agricultural information (e.g., climate data and weather agro-advisories) into relevant and applicable content for farmers' unique circumstances.
While the utility of ICT tools to disseminate useful and timely agricultural information is clear, the efficacy of scaled-up results to achieve positive, long-lasting livelihood impacts for poor rural communities is more complex and often requires effecting systemwide change on multiple dimensions (e.g., in societal values, institutional arrangements, market-relations, and policy decision making). Most projects examined here made modest efforts to build up the capacity and skills of local stakeholders (e.g., radio stations, government agencies) to effectively deliver custom-tailored agricultural extension services to large numbers of smallholder farmers. These efforts are important because the sustainable spread of innovations is contingent on empowered local stakeholders and institutions that can drive the scaling process (Hartmann et al., 2013; Massler, 2012; Middleton, de la Fuente, & Ellis-Jones, 2005).
Most of these projects, however, largely premised their scope of impact--in terms of successful or scaled development efforts--on numbers of beneficiaries reached (e.g., with information pertaining to an innovation). The tendency to link information access to technology uptake can be problematic as it might overlook complex socioeconomic factors that influence farmers' decisions to adopt innovations and the differentiated ways in which other family members benefit (or not) from them. Considering these tendencies, this article seeks to explore the potential contributions of ICTs in scaling agricultural solutions in a way that brings sustainable and equitable benefits for smallholder farmers, especially women.
This article is organized as follows: First, a literature review discusses the contributions of ICTs to scaling and achieving long-lasting positive impact. Next, the article outlines the methods used to undertake this study. The following section presents the main findings and discusses the implications for ICT4Scale theory and practice. A short conclusion ends the article.
Whereas countless agricultural innovations have been successfully pilot tested, most rarely reach their intended impact of contributing significantly to food security targets or other UN Sustainable Development Goals (Woltering, Fehlenberg, Gerard, Ubels, & Cooley, 2019). This limited success is partly attributed to a narrow focus around scaling, often premised on conventional, linear trajectories from technology research and development to subsequent transfer to large numbers of end users. Indeed, widely used definitions of scaling emphasize reaching large numbers of people and greater geographic coverage (e.g., with new technologies, products, and models that can increase productivity and farm incomes). Yet agricultural innovations are often introduced in complex food system value chains, involving interlinkages among production, postharvest handling, transportation, and marketing--issues that need to be addressed jointly for scaling efforts to achieve some level of sustainable change.
The scaling of innovations is also influenced by contextual and relational factors such as economic incentives, political objectives, and social learning (Shilomboleni & De Plaen, 2019). These factors necessarily demand project actors to undertake efforts that can create functional organizational structures, garner institutional and policy support, and build the capacity of committed advocates who can drive the scaling process over time (Hartmann et al., 2013; Menter, Kaaria, Johnson, & Ashby, 2004). An approach to scaling that fosters systemwide change to achieve lasting impact at scale, in terms of sustained adoption and improvements in livelihoods, is driven by measures that engage key contextual considerations along the broader agricultural value chains (Wigboldus, 2018; Woltering et al., 2019).
ICTs can play an important role in enhancing the scaling-up process by facilitating interactions and linkages among relevant stakeholders and institutions while making information about agricultural innovations available, accessible, and affordable. As such, there is a need for greater scientific evidence to better understand how and where exactly in the scaling-up process ICTs can have a positive impact. ICTs are also potentially effective and efficient in helping low-income smallholder farmers build an awareness of agricultural improvements; increase productivity and incomes; and improve gender-related outcomes in the context of new interventions.
Several scholars have highlighted how ICTs can also be used to expand the social inclusion of marginalized individuals and groups in agricultural development efforts, including to advance gender equality and female empowerment (Chipidza & Leidner, 2017; Frieden, 2013). A gender lens in scaling innovations using ICTs is particularly important in Africa's smallholder agriculture where women account for a large share of agricultural output, but tend to have unequal access to and use of ICTs compared to men (World Bank, 2017). Further, cultural gender norms in many African smallholder agricultural societies traditionally give men greater control over the management of productive resources and assets (land, livestock, income, etc.) and more control over household spending decisions compared to women (Lambrecht, Vanlauwe, Merckx, & Maertens, 2014; Pircher, Almekinders, & Kamanga, 2013). Where these gender dimensions are ignored, the scaling process may inadvertently increase the exclusion and inequality of marginalized groups, including in the distribution of power, resources, and benefits at the household level (IFAD 2015; KIT, Agri-ProFocus, & IIRR, 2012; Quisumbing et al., 2014). Strengthening the effectiveness of agricultural interventions and the successful spread of innovations, therefore, requires, at minimum, gender-responsive approaches, which promote equal benefits for men and women from new opportunities and ensure that unanticipated negative results (e.g., the burden of extra labor on women and girls) are properly assessed.
Whereas multiple ICT-enabled agricultural interventions in Africa often aim to promote women's empowerment, the emphasis is often on financial returns (i.e., to increase crop yields and income) (World Bank, 2017). A broader view on empowerment moves beyond improving women's individual access to resources to building collective responsibility and agency around relational and institutional structures that shape women's lives (KIT et al., 2012). Such efforts aim to bring about transformative change by providing a platform where communities can better understand and challenge structural norms that undermine women's capacities to take advantage of opportunities in agricultural value chains and markets, as well as in policy spaces (Njuki, Parkins, Kaler, & Ahmed, 2016). Empowerment outcomes in such interventions are generally measured based on four domains of power: power over--control over income and labor, assets and resources; power to--capacities, skills, awareness; power within--internal and psychological resources; power with--collective agency and action (KIT et al., 2012).
Sustaining women's empowerment in the long run, much like attaining meaningful scaling results, requires fostering some level of systems change on these four domains of power, both at the interpersonal (social) and political (policy) levels. In the scaling-up literature, an important dimension of empowerment involves strengthening people's (leadership) capabilities to participate in, negotiate with, influence, control, and hold accountable institutions that affect their lives (Massler, 2012). At the interpersonal level, this demands inclusive and iterative participatory learning processes that establish a shared vision around equitable intrahousehold relations and decision making to benefit everyone (Njuki et al., 2016). The process also requires analyzing more closely what happens within a household once an innovation is adopted, including the expected benefits and costs to different family members (Theis, Lefore, Meinzein-Dick, & Bryan, 2018). At a political level, empowering local stakeholders to engage meaningfully with policy processes (e.g., through advocacy and collaboration) is vital to help open institutional structures more conducive to power sharing and allocating resources more fairly (see Westermann et al., 2018).
This meta-review sought to explore the potential contributions of ICT4Scale agricultural interventions to scaling long-lasting livelihood impacts, in ways that improve the delivery of agricultural extension services. Such effective scaling also foster systems change to improve the functionality of agricultural value chains and to bring about more equitable and sustainable benefits, particularly for female farmers. The following questions guided this study and the broader IC4Scale research initiative:
* What combinations of ICT tools, actors, and institutional arrangements are most effective and efficient in scaling agricultural solutions?
* What strategies for the use of ICTs are successful in facilitating the scaling of agricultural solutions (e.g., interaction with audiences, type and quality assurance of information and content)?
* What are the gender equality considerations of ICT-enabled scaling of agricultural solutions?
* What barriers may limit the reach and/or effectiveness of ICTs in scaling initiatives?
The methods used to conduct the meta-review are elaborated in the next section.
Selection of Projects
A first set of 196 projects was identified following an online search of agricultural development projects undertaken in the Global South that used ICT tools for scaling innovations for food and nutrition security. The study focused on projects implemented in sub-Saharan Africa, but also included initiatives in Asia and Latin America considered of interest (i.e., on scaling, using ICTs). This initial search was primarily performed using the Google search engine and targeted agricultural development initiatives and programs undertaken by international nongovernmental organizations, UN agencies, the World Bank, CGIAR centers and research programs, the International Development Research Centre (IDRC), multilateral funding and development agencies, and leading private foundations. As the research was being led by FRI and FRT, initiatives from these two organizations were also included as a subset of this original dataset. The inclusion of FRI and FRT projects in the meta-review provided an opportunity for these NGOs to critically examine their approach to using ICT4Scale in relation to other development initiatives. At the initial stage, the search was kept broad to include initiatives in agriculture and in food and nutrition security that either ended recently or were near completion. In addition, key journals that feature the use of ICTs for agriculture were searched for relevant journal articles. Grey literature was identified by the study team via manual searches of websites using Google Scholar and other search engines, and from contacts with expertise in ICT4Agriculture. The websites of the following organizations involved in the development and deployment of ICT solutions for agriculture were searched: International Institute of Communication and Development (IICD), ICT4D Collective, IDRC, the World Bank, United Nations Development Programme, FAO, and UNESCO.
From that list of 196 projects, a subset of 71 was selected using the following criteria:
* Explicit aim at scaling an agricultural innovation;
* Distinct use of ICTs as an integral component of the scaling strategy. This research initiative considered ICT tools in the Internet mobile domains, landline and cellular telephones, and radio and television broadcasts;
* Some explicit consideration of gender-related issues in the project design and implementation;
* Projects that have ended within the last two years or are relatively close to ending.
Of these 71 projects, 23 were implemented by FRI or FRT, while 48 were implemented by other organizations (15 of which had components implemented in Asia or Latin America).
The next step was to identify a subset of 15-25 projects that could be included in the review. The 71 projects were scored on the basis of scaling objectives in place (e.g., expected outcomes, number of people to be reached, etc.), the number of ICT approaches used, and the availability of adequate project information (e.g., initial proposal, project documents and reports, M&E strategy). Among projects with a higher score, the Anal selection of 15 projects used in this review was made based on the availability of project contact information and willingness to participate in the study. Seven of these projects were implemented by FRI and FRT, and the remainder were conducted by other development organizations. These projects aimed to bring to scale a diversity of agricultural innovations such as agro-advisories, weather and climate services, agricultural decision-support tools and services, agricultural inputs and commodities market information, mobile-based financial services, and nutrition interventions that promote the availability of nutritious food at the household level.
The first author conducted 17 semistructured interviews with project coordinators and staff from the 15 selected projects. These interviews sought to provide further insights into the scaling approaches and measures taken (e.g., to transfer a technology or to build capacity) and the scope of the projects' gender equality considerations. In addition to project documents and reports, the interviews offered a means of triangulation and verification in answering the research questions of the study.
An inductive content analysis was used to identify and organize key themes and concepts from both the interview transcripts and about 45 project documents. The organization of these themes and concepts was also informed by the literature review of peer-reviewed journal articles and grey literature materials presented above.
Results and Discussion
The results from the research questions showed that combining the use of ICT tools with building institutional capacity (e.g., working collaboratively with local partners to facilitate the scaling process) helps to more effectively deliver agricultural extension information to smallholder farmers. These efforts are important as they can harness additional institutional support and resources to facilitate the sustainable spread of innovations, and in some cases improve the functionality of agricultural extension services, as evident in the Rwanda Climate Services for Agriculture project. The project team worked closely with district agricultural departments' training extension officers to integrate ICT-based climate information services and agro-advisories into their ongoing work of assisting farming communities across Rwanda's 30 districts. (1) Among the project's reported impact at scale was that climate information services have been incorporated into the national agricultural extension system, with ICT tools and platforms becoming vital components that provide farmers with timely access to location-specific data and related information.
On the question of which strategies are successful in scaling agricultural solutions, the results found that interactivity in the use of ICT tools and platforms between project teams and beneficiaries are particularly helpful for improving the quality of agricultural extension services and for teaching farmers to better manage predicted agricultural risks. FRI has made interactivity a key part of its approach into rural development, incorporating the use of low-cost ICTs in radio programs to foster knowledge sharing and learning among and between famers, agricultural extension officers, researchers, input suppliers, and others. Most of the FRI projects examined in this study built the capacity of local radio stations to operate an online web platform, known as Uliza, (2) that manages and logs all interactions with farmers. Using IVR, Uliza enables listeners to vote on poll questions (called "beep-2-vote"), request calls to receive specific agricultural information (called "beep-2-call") and participate in on-air interviews. ICT-enabled interactive radio programs were particularly valuable to interpret and translate complex information (e.g., climate and weather data) into relevant and applicable agro-advisory content for farmers' unique circumstances.
In Malawi, the Interactive Weather and Climate Adaptation Radio Programming (IWCARP) project broadcast agro-climatic content twice a week in 30-minute episodes on local radio stations. For each broadcast the project team would invite a subject-matter expert to discuss a preselected theme (e.g., the onset of a dry spell within a season). The individual would interpret the climate information for specific districts and analyze the implications for agricultural production, including the types of pests and diseases that farmers could expect for crops and livestock, and what steps they could take to manage such climate and weather risks. (3) Thus, the purpose of the radio programs was not merely to provide climate information "because by their own do not mean much to farmers" (see footnote 3), but to help them plan for the types of crops, livestock, and livelihood options that would best suit their circumstances and local climate (see also Caine, Clarke, Clarkson, & Dorward, 2018). The radio programs also aired farmers' voices through the Uliza platform, which again was appreciated by communities. A project officer explains that farmers like to hear what climate risks their peers face and how they manage such challenges rather than hearing only from experts (see footnote 3).
Interactive ICT tools and platforms also enabled project teams to receive timely feedback from end users and to monitor end users' uptake of innovations, which in some cases led to improvements in the design or delivery of new products. For example, the "MASAVA: Promoting Fortified Sunflower Oil Through eVouchers" project in Tanzania offered more than 500,000 e-vouchers to low-income households to purchase the oil (sold in one-liter bottles only) at a discounted price. By tracking the e-voucher data, the project team observed low levels of uptake from early on. These trends were confirmed in a midterm project assessment study (April 2016), which revealed that target households generally bought oil in smaller quantities or scoops (4) (~250 ml-500 ml) rather than one-liter bottles, and that oil was purchased by different household members, including children, who did not always have access to a mobile phone (Horton, Saleh, & Mosha, 2017). As a result, the project switched the discount from a consumer-based to a retailer-based voucher (e-Wallet), and changed the packaging to 5-, 10-, and 20-liters bottles that could be sold in scoops, indirectly passing the discount to consumers. These changes helped improve the demand of fortified sunflower oil. In the end, this product reportedly reached over a half-million consumers suffering from Vitamin A deficiency.
The evidence outlined above demonstrates the utility of interactive ICT tools and platforms to effectively deliver agricultural innovations and extension services to large numbers of smallholder farmers in a timely manner. Although most projects collaborated with local stakeholders and other partners to design and disseminate their innovations, their approach to scaling largely focused on optimizing the efficiency of innovations (e.g., information content or product) to increase the number of adopters. As such, projects took the numbers of beneficiaries reached with information pertaining to an innovation (e.g., access to improved seeds, productivity attributes) as a key metric for impact at scale or successful development results. This tendency to link information access to technology uptake speaks to the question about the potential limitations and/or effectiveness of ICTs in accounting for myriad socioeconomic factors that influence the adoption and impact of new innovations in agriculture.
For example, the GSMA's mNutrition Initiative's approach to scaling and its scope of impact largely focused on farmers' mobile phone data usage of agricultural value-added services disseminated through SMSs (IVR and USSD menus) (GSMA, 2017). This was evident in the project's monitoring and evaluation of the overall impact of the contents, messages, and behavior changes among end users, a task that was outsourced to an independent consulting firm. (5) Through "rapid feedback" phone surveys, (6) GSMA concluded that those farmers who actively used Agri-VAS repetitively (known as "power users") made significant on-farm changes (in planting, land management, and harvesting) and increased their production and income (GSMA, 2017). Increased levels of food production and income were used as proxies for food and nutrition security (see also Huggins & Valverde, 2018).
On the question of gender equality, the results found that although several projects had gender strategies to scale up female empowerment, most projects largely focused their attention on knowledge sharing and use of that knowledge as a measure of their interventions' effectiveness. This was evident in FRI's "Her Farm Radio" project, where impact at scale was largely premised on changes in beneficiaries' knowledge, attitudes, and practices around specific innovations. (7) Despite the project's objectives around gender equality and efforts to empower women by building their capacity to gain better access to new technologies, aired radio content primarily addressed women's informational needs about crops and farming practices that were of interest to them (FRI, 2017b). Of course, the project sought to ensure that its activities promoted equitable benefits for both sexes and took inclusive measures to do so. Community radio listening groups brought men and women together to discuss gender-based violence and family planning. In some cases, such engagements enabled men to take more responsibility for helping women on the farm (FRI, 2017b). Yet, empowerment was chiefly viewed as the ability of women to discuss their perspectives and experiences, including farming practices on and off air, which were associated with an increased sense of self-confidence and respect from peers (FRI, 2017b).
Without minimizing the important role that information access plays in inducing positive behavior change around new technologies, smallholder farming systems are characterized by complex socioeconomic dynamics; scaling up even the best of agricultural innovations is often challenging. Counting the numbers of people reached with an innovation at the end of a project grant is therefore a poor metric for measuring impact as it can overlook important contextual and relational factors that influence farmers' decision making or indicate whether adoption will actually contribute to improved livelihood outcomes (see Woltering et al., 2019). Achieving meaningful scaled-up results in smallholder agriculture more often requires affecting the systems around an intervention--across the agricultural value chain--to work better (e.g., societal values, institutional arrangements, market relations, and policy decision making).
The "Developing Climate Smart Villages in Latin America" project (8) (2013-ongoing), for instance, engages with communities in inclusive and iterative ways to further its gender work (see also Howland, Andrieu, & Bonilla-Findji, 2018). The project targets various household members (e.g., male/female, youth) to co-produce knowledge on climate smart agriculture (CSA) and to deliver climate services through a variety of ICT tools and platforms. By doing so, project managers aim to understand the different roles of men and women on the farm and in the home, how responsibilities are distributed, and who is likely to benefit from CSA interventions. (9) Among the CSA activities that the project has implemented are home vegetable gardens, traditionally the responsibility of women in Colombia. The project's gender training work facilitates joint work between men and women in home vegetable gardening. The process seeks to break down social norms that ascribe this activity to women and to foster mutual social collaboration among people. The project also encourages youth participation, teaching them how to use GIS apps to collect climate information (seasonal and 10-day weather forecasts) for their specific location. Engaging young people in CSA activities is intended to not only create job opportunities, but to sustain youth interest in agriculture in a context where large numbers are leaving the rural areas for the cities (see footnote 9).
Overall, the project's knowledge co-production efforts created usable knowledge that was both useful from a scientific perspective and practical for informing people's decision making that addresses their specific needs (see also Harvey, Cochrane, & Van Epp, 2019). Project staff recognized that farmers could improve the utility of CSA technologies and practices, and thus adopted flexible programming that included local knowledge in the innovation process. In so doing, implementing organizations adopted the role of facilitator to ensure that targeted local partners and beneficiaries had a thorough understanding of project objectives and played a key role in the design and delivery of climate information and agro-advisory services (see footnote 9). This approach helped drive program adoption among farmers and has been critical to validating their sense of agency and empowerment (see footnote 9). This approach also reflects broader notions of scaling, with the potential to foster systemic change at scale, which requires long-term engagement to harness the strengths of local partners and beneficiaries, even when the results such as in food and nutrition security are not always apparent or easily quantifiable.
This study contributes to the discussion on mapping impact evidence from ICT-enabled scaling-up initiatives in agricultural development by examining closely the activities of several projects that targeted low-income smallholder farmers, primarily in sub-Saharan Africa. These projects aimed to deliver agricultural information and services to a broad base of smallholder farmers in a timely fashion using a wide range of ICT-enabled innovations to improve household food security and incomes. The evidence demonstrates that interactive ICT tools and platforms can improve the quality of agricultural extension and climate information services, which can help smallholder farmers better manage predicted risks on the farm. To drive the scaling process, most projects initiated modest efforts to build up the capacity and skills of local stakeholders (e.g., radio stations, government agencies) who in turn helped to effectively deliver custom-tailored agricultural extension to large numbers of smallholder farmers.
Yet the scope of impact in most of these projects was largely premised on the number of beneficiaries reached (e.g., with information pertaining to an innovation) as a key metric for successful development intervention. Such a limitation might be attributed to the narrow ways in which scaling and impact at scale are commonly conceptualized and applied: to reach large numbers of people with best practices once successfully tested and refined in pilot locations (see Rogers, 2003).
Broader notions of scaling exist that primarily seek to effect systems change at scale by engaging with contextual and relational dynamics that influence the spread or adoption of innovations. In such efforts ICT tools can facilitate information transfer and choice for farmers as illustrated by the Developing Climate Smart Villages in Latin America project. However, ICT tools and platforms are unlikely to be primary agents of change that will transform smallholder food security, nutrition, and gender relations unless projects adopt a systemwide approach to better understand smallholder farming challenges and use ICTs in tandem with other actions that support farmers. Lasting and meaningful change requires a thorough understanding of specific smallholder agriculture system dynamics, followed by a realignment of innovations to contribute positively to such processes, in a manner that works collaboratively with target populations and local partners. The scaling process here requires long-term attention, even if impacts are not immediately apparent.
This research was funded by the International Development Research Centre (IDRC). The authors would like to thank three anonymous reviewers and the editors for their constructive feedback on earlier drafts of this article.
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Wigboldus, S. (2018). To scale, or not to scale--That is not the only question: Rethinking the idea and practice of scaling innovations for development and progress (Doctoral dissertation)., Wageningen University, Netherlands. Retrieved from https://edepot.wur.nl/449586
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(1.) Interview with project officer, March 22, 2019.
(2.) Uliza ("to ask" in Swahili) uses IVR that allow farmers to access messages and alerts, vote on poll questions, leave messages, and request specific information.
(3.) Interview with project officer, April 11, 2019.
(4.) These are measuring cups, which are often used to sell smaller quantities of food items in poor environments.
(5.) Interview with project officer, March 21, 2019.
(6.) This is a method used to support rapid data collection via cell phones from project beneficiaries and can help to guide decision-makers with timely, actionable evidence.
(7.) Interview with project officer, April 2, 2019.
(8.) This regional project is being implemented in Colombia, Nicaragua, Honduras, and Guatemala.
(9.) Interview with project coordinators, March 18, 2019.
CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture, and Food Security (CCAFS) East Africa, International Livestock Research Institute, Kenya
Farm Radio International, Canada
FHI 360, USA
Helena Shilomboleni, Postdoctoral Fellow, Scaling Specialist, CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security East Africa, International Livestock Research Institute, Kenya. H.Shilomboleni@cgiar.org
Bernard Pelletier, Manager, Knowledge Management, Farm Radio International, Canada. firstname.lastname@example.org
Berhane Gebru, Digital Development Program Director, FHI 360, USA. email@example.com
Table 1. List of ICT-enabled Agricultural Development Projects. Project name & Implementing Project goals location agencies Up-scaling FRI; Centre for To disseminate and Technology In Agriculture & Increase the uptake Agriculture through Bioscience of Improved and Knowledge and International (CABI) certified seed Extension (UPTAKE) varieties (maize, Tanzania potatoes, cassava, beans) and Improved agricultural practices (e.g., postharvest handling), promoted under the Scaling Seeds and Technologies Partnerships among small scale farmers. Achieving Impact at FRI; Grameen To scale up enhanced Scale and Economic Foundation ICT-enabled Viability of extension services Extension Services to smallholder In Ghana (AIS) Ghana households, resulting In adoption of productivity- enhancing technologies, specifically targeting women. Her Farm Radio FRI; FRT To increase the Ethiopia, Tanzania, extent to which farm Malawi, Uganda radio programs feature female farmers' voices, perspectives, and concerns, and to provide them with Increased access to information critical to improving their livelihood outcomes. Scaling Up Improved FRI; CABI; Africa To test how a Legume Technologies Fertilizer & multi-media campaign In Tanzania Tanzania Agribusiness approach to scaling Partnership (AFAP) by targeting different members of a typical small-scale farming family (e.g., young/old, male/female) could best reach audience and influence their knowledge, decisions in adopting integrated legume technology packages. Radio for FRI; Canadian Food To scale up the Conservation Grains Bank's local reach and impact of Agriculture (R4CA) partners conservation Tanzania, Ethiopia agriculture (CA) among smallholder farmers (promoting farmer-led experimentation and farmer-to-farmer support; training local NGO staff and extension officers; and creating an enabling environment with extension services, market linkages, and input supply programs). Scaling-up Pulse University of To bring about Innovations for Saskatchewan; wider-scale impact Nutrition Security Hawassa University; on the food and in Southern Ethiopia FRI nutrition security Ethiopia status of smallholder farmers through scaling up of pulse innovations, comprising selected common bean and chickpea varieties using Improved packages of practices (e.g., land preparation, optimum tillage practices, sowing time, seeding rate, etc.). Interactive Weather FRT; World Food To develop and and Climate Program; CGIAR disseminate Adaptation Radio Research Program on agro-climatic Programming Climate Change, content for farming (IWCARP), Phase 2 Agriculture, & Food communities, Malawi Security (CCAFS) applying the Participatory Integrated Climate Services for Agriculture (PICSA) model to enable farmers to make weather- and climate-informed agricultural decisions for Improved food security and disaster risk reduction. Enhancing Resilience FHI 360; Uganda To develop a to Water-Related Chartered Healthnet sustainable and Impacts of Climate scalable ICT-based Change In Uganda's climate change Cattle Corridor adaptation (CHAI) Uganda Information generation and dissemination model to support the actions of the Ministry of Water & Environment to enhance the adaptive capacity of smallholder farmers exposed to climatic hazards In Uganda. MASAVA: Promoting Sokolne University To test whether SMEs fortified sunflower of Agriculture; can sustainably oil through Mennonite Economic fortify crude eVouchers Tanzania Development sunflower oil with Associates of vitamin A for local Canada; University consumption; to test of Waterloo, Canada whether using electronic vouchers can succeed in promoting consumption of fortified oil; and to test whether the fortified product can reduce mlcronutrlent deficiencies in vulnerable groups, specifically la eta t i n g mothers and infants. Ethiopian ATA-ICT Ethiopian ATA To streamline for Agricultural funding agency smallholders' and Services Program extension workers' Ethiopia access to information for sustainable agricultural growth and tailor extension services to different types of situations and communities to make the extension service more market oriented and context specific. The Rwanda Climate CCAFS Build on and scale Services for up PICSA approach to Agriculture Rwanda extend the use of climate Information (e.g., drought early warning, planting date decision support) to smallholder. Smart Water for Netherlands To Increase water Agriculture Kenya Development productivity for Organization 20,000 SME Kenyan farmers through a multipronged approach: Irrigation acceleration platforms, Improved access to/use of smart water technologies, and access to finance, and other services to Increase their Income and food security and to make them resilient to climate change. Scaling out useful CCAFS; International To develop and scale climate services for Crops Research out useful climate Increased resilience Institute for the services (he., on and productivity In Semi-Arid Tropics seasonal forecasts, Senegal (CINSERE) (ICRISAT) 1 0-day forecasts, Senegal dally forecasts) to Improve the livelihood, resilience, and productivity of smallholder farmers, pastorals, and fishermen. GSMA mNutrition CABI; Global To develop and scale Initiative Nigeria, Alliance for up the delivery of Ghana, Malawi, Improved Nutrition; nutrition messages Mozambique, GSMA Mobile for and Tanzania, Kenya, Development agriculture-related Uganda, Zambia, Sri Foundation; British services for over 3 Lanka, Myanmar, Medical Journal; million people In Bangladesh, Pakistan Oxfam GB; Africa and South International Asia through two Livestock Research existing GSMA mobile Institute for development (M4D) platforms: mHealth platforms (targeted primarily at women and children), and mAgri platforms (targeted primarily at small-scale farmers). Developing Climate CCAFS; International To support the Smart Villages In Center for Tropical scaling up and -out Latin America Agriculture of climate-smart agriculture Colombia, Nicaragua, technologies and Guatemala practices through national and local stakeholders. Project name & ICT4Scale Scaling approaches location intervention & measures Up-scaling Mobile technology Collaborate with Technology In via Esoko platform local stakeholders Agriculture through (SMS alerts on buy (extension officers, Knowledge and and sell offers, SMS farmers, Input Extension (UPTAKE) polling and surveys) suppliers) to Tanzania and Interactive develop and radio that uses disseminate SMS Uliza (FRI's content extension Interactive voice Information on farm response [IVR]) Inputs, good system and agricultural dashboard) to practices, and communicate with market prices. farmers. Target female farmers (aim for 40% of project beneficiaries to be female) with Information to adopt Improved Inputs. Ensure women are represented In key areas--extension officers, radio hosts, experts on the radio, and In write-shops for content development. Achieving Impact at AgroTech ICT Strengthen the Scale and Economic platform, which capacity of local Viability of combines Interactive radio stations to Extension Services radio broadcast and broadcast In Ghana (AIS) Ghana customized Interactive agent-mediated agricultural services. extension content related to farm Inputs, production practices, and market buyers. Train agro-tech field agents to provide agro- advisory services and to sell Improved farm Inputs. Her Farm Radio Interactive radio Strengthen the Ethiopia, Tanzania, ("Her Voice on Air" capacity of local Malawi, Uganda campaign); women radio stations to trained to form broadcast community listening interactive groups, which were agricultural furnished with extension content smartphones and designed to address wind-up radios to the Informational allow group members needs of women to communicate with related to broadcasters on production practices Uliza platform. and gender roles. Empower women to discuss their views on air on the above topics. Scaling Up Improved A multimedia Collaborate with Legume Technologies campaign comprising various In Tanzania Tanzania Interactive radio, organizations to print and social design and deliver media, comics, and agricultural mobile phones, extension content together with using complementary demonstration plots ICT approaches and and training to traditional support traditional extension services extension related to bean and approaches. soybean technologies and market information. Radio for Interactive radio Strengthen the Conservation capacity building capacity of local Agriculture (R4CA) for broadcasters radio stations to Tanzania, Ethiopia through in-station broadcast training; continuous Interactive engagement with extension content audiences through related to CA. Uliza platform. Support local partners to liaise, collaborate, and strengthen the capacity of local government to promote conservation agriculture, as well as to lobby the national government to incorporate CA into the public agricultural extension system. Promote gender work that engages with the family unit to ensure that workloads are distributed fairly among all members. Scaling-up Pulse Participatory Strengthen the Innovations for interactive radio: capacity of local Nutrition Security Farmers responded to radio stations to in Southern Ethiopia poll questions broadcast Ethiopia during the radio interactive programs with their agricultural phones to extension content beep-to-vote system related to chickpea hosted on Uliza and common bean farm platform; community inputs and listening groups production were formed, practices. furnished with wind-up radios and Collaborate with USBs that can record Bureau of radio program for Agriculture to train members to listen to government extension at times that better agents on pulse suited them. crop-based farming and assist farmers on the ground. Collaborate with health extension workers at Bureau of Health to conduct nutrition education for rural households, particularly women, involving complementary food processing and cooking. Interactive Weather Interactive radio to Collaborate with the and Climate disseminate National Agriculture Adaptation Radio agro-climatic Content Development Programming content (seasonal Committee to produce (IWCARP), Phase 2 forecasts, disaster and disseminate ICT- Malawi preparedness, based climate diversification, Information services pest and disease and agricultural control); continuous extension. Interaction with and feedback from Strengthen the beneficiaries on capacity of local Uliza platform via radio stations to SMS (request broadcast on-demand weather Interactive climate extension services and agro-advisory on Information. "beep-4-weather"). Enhancing Resilience Interactive FM radio Collaborate with the to Water-Related broadcasts (talk Uganda National Impacts of Climate shows and spot Meteorological Change In Uganda's messages), SMS Authority, the Cattle Corridor broadcasts, Ministry of (CHAI) Uganda community Agriculture In three loudspeakers, and districts, and other face-to-face public stakeholders meetings. to generate subcounty-level weather Information and to disseminate It to farmers alongside context- tailored agro- advisories translated Into local languages. Strengthen the capacity of local radio stations to broadcast Interactive climate and agro-advisory Information. MASAVA: Promoting eVoucher Strengthen the fortified sunflower (consumer-oriented business capacity of oil through discounts), which several SMEs to eVouchers Tanzania was later switched undertake large- to an e-Wallet scale fortification (retailer-oriented of sunflower oil. discount) sent to Hire a local beneficiaries' partner, the mobile phones; Tanzania Behavior Change Communications & Communications (BCC) Development Centre, campaign to to publicize publicize fortified fortified oil oil through clinic through a BCC demonstrations, campaign Involving cooking clinic demonstrations, road demonstrations, shows, and cultural cooking shows. demonstrations, road shows, and cultural shows. Ethiopian ATA-ICT 8028 Farmers Collaborate with the for Agricultural Hotline, an IVRSMS Ministry of Services Program mobile phone Agriculture & Ethiopia platform that Livestock Resources, provides smallholder the Ethiopian farmers with free Institute of access to Agricultural information on Research (EIAR), and cereal, Ethio Telecom to horticulture, and establish the 8028 pulse/oil seed Farmer Hotline to crops; and a provide smallholder push-based voice and farmers with SMS alert system extension that notifies information on all extension workers major cereal, and farmers of pulses, and high- pertinent value crops grown in agriculture Issues. Ethiopia. The Rwanda Climate Interactive radio: Collaborated with Services for radio listener clubs Rwanda's National Agriculture Rwanda In which members Meteorological participate In radio Agency to enhance programs through the accuracy and use call-ins and give of climate feedback about the Information for usefulness of the national and local Information using decision making. their mobile phones (SMSs, IRV; USSD, Strengthen the social media capacity of WhatsApp; Facebook, agricultural Twitter). extension workers to Integrate ICT-based climate Information services Into their work. Collaborate with a local community radio, Radio Huguka, to broadcast Interactive climate- and agriculture-related Information. Target female farmers (aim for a minimum of 30% of project participants In PISCA training to be female). Smart Water for Mobile technology: Bring together Agriculture Kenya Push SMS to multiple registered farmers stakeholders through with Information Irrigation about new products, Acceleration extension advice, Platforms In five field days, etc. counties to foster Interaction and collaboration among farmers/farmer groups, smart water solutions (technology) providers, financial Institutions, and market buyers. Work with Shamba Shape Up, a weekly radio/TV program, to disseminate Information related to smart water agriculture technologies, Including link to financial services and companies Investing In smart water agriculture products. Scaling out useful A combination of Build the capacity climate services for Interactive rural of the National Increased resilience radio, SMSs and Meteorological and productivity In USSD, and other Agency to develop Senegal (CINSERE) e-platforms and disseminate Senegal (WhatsApp, Facebook) climate Information was used to deliver and agro-advisories climate Information. written for an audience of farmers. Strengthen the capacity of community rural radio stations to broadcast climate Information and agro-advisories. Collaborate with mobile phone operators to disseminate climate Information through SMS to farmers. Initiate advocacy efforts through science-policy dialogue to put In place legislation that supports climate Information and other climate adaptation measures, Including recognizing climate Information as an Important farm Input In agriculture. GSMA mNutrition Mobile network Collaborate with Initiative Nigeria, operator (MNO), local content Ghana, Malawi, using SMS and/or IVR partners (health Mozambique, push content clinics, Tanzania, Kenya, tailored to agricultural Uganda, Zambia, Sri beneficiaries' extension agencies) Lanka, Myanmar, location, language, to create localized, Bangladesh, Pakistan nutrition, or user-centric mobile agricultural needs. message content on Content could also nutrition (e.g., be accessed using feeding, dietary USSD menus where practices) and users register and agriculture choose what they (planting, land wish to access management, harvest, (e.g., on a storage practices). preferred crop). Collaborate with mobile network operators to disseminate nutrition and agro- advisory content through mobile phones apps (SMSs, IVR, USSD) to target beneficiaries. Developing Climate GIS mapping, crop Bring together 10 Smart Villages In modeling, seasonal national partners Latin America climate forecasting, (ministries of and on-farm data agriculture, Colombia, Nicaragua, visualization. meteorological Guatemala Information as agencies, grower published on monthly associations) to seasonal agro- develop and climatic forecast disseminate context- platforms that specific climate farmers and their Information and organizations agro-advisories to accessed on their scale up climate mobile phones (e.g., smart agriculture via the Plan Your practices In climate Crops software smart village sites. application). Push climate Information content to farmers through various ICT tools and platforms. Undertake gender work that targets different household members to co- produce knowledge on climate smart agriculture and to deliver climate services through various ICT tools and platforms. Project name & Reported outcomes & Duration location impact at scale Up-scaling Reached 1,947,000 June 2016 to Technology In smallholder farmers Dec 2018 Agriculture through with Information on Knowledge and the use of Improved Extension (UPTAKE) agricultural Tanzania technologies by radio programs. 39% of those reached were female. 141,000 farmers applied one of the promoted technologies. Achieving Impact at Reached 486,578 Aug 2015 to Scale and Economic farmers with Feb 2018 Viability of extension services, Extension Services of which 174,821 In Ghana (AIS) Ghana have used or adopted a promoted Input or practice; average yields for maize and rice Increased over 30% among beneficiaries; Increased access to Information helped female farmers participate effectively In markets. Her Farm Radio Reached over 8.1 Jan 2015 to Ethiopia, Tanzania, million listeners; June 2017 Malawi, Uganda facilitated the production and broadcast of 262 episodes of farm radio programs containing content directly generated by women In 1 34 community listening groups. Project fostered a sense of empowerment and self-confidence in the women involved, who noticed an increased respect for their ability to educate others on farming practices. Scaling Up Improved Reached 655,662 Nov 2015 to Legume Technologies members of farming Feb 2018 In Tanzania Tanzania households with information about Integrated legume technologies; 128,589 farming households took up at least one of the promoted improved legume technology practices. Radio for 180-200 hours of Mar 2015 to Conservation participatory radio June 2020 Agriculture (R4CA) programs delivered Tanzania, Ethiopia to a half-million farming families (potential listeners) with the expectation that at least 250,000 farmers will learn about CA, and at least half of them will demonstrate improved knowledge on CA and 30% (75,000) will apply at least three CA practices. Scaling-up Pulse 51,068 households Mar 2015 to Innovations for benefited from Mar 2018 Nutrition Security improved pulse in Southern Ethiopia varieties and site- Ethiopia specific agronomic and soil management packages; an additional 23,059 female households benefited from the nutritional activities (nutrition education, cooking, skill training programs for mothers); 9 seed- producing cooperatives were established. Interactive Weather Reached 1,328,908 June 2018 to and Climate farm households with Dec 2019 Adaptation Radio Interactive climate Programming Information services (IWCARP), Phase 2 combined with Malawi seasonal agricultural advice through radio programming. Enhancing Resilience Reached 250,000 Oct 2015 to to Water-Related farmers with climate Feb 2018 Impacts of Climate and agricultural Change In Uganda's Information, Cattle Corridor Including seasonal (CHAI) Uganda and 1 0-day forecasts specific to subcounties, agricultural advisories to help farmers plan their crop-livestock farming In response to forecasted climate-weather conditions, weekly market Information reports, and low- cost water harvesting techniques. MASAVA: Promoting Three SMEs succeeded Aug 2014 to fortified sunflower in fortifying and Feb 2017 oil through selling the oil eVouchers Tanzania through a network of 31 9 retailers--more than 142,000 L of oil--enough for almost a half- million people to consume it for a week; 1 00,000 people reached by the BCC campaign; blood and oil samples from participating households proved that fortified oil reduces micronutrient deficiencies. Ethiopian ATA-ICT Operationalized 90 2011--ongoing for Agricultural service lines that Services Program connect smallholder Ethiopia farmers to automated and voice-recorded information on pre- planting, planting, crop protection, fertilizer application, post- harvest handling, processing, Irrigation, and weather content; register at least 6 million callers; expand IVR helpdesk services to at least 120 ACC woredas or districts. The Rwanda Climate Integrated climate Jun 2015 to Services for Information services Dec 2019 Agriculture Rwanda Into Rwanda's national agricultural extension system through PICSA; trained over 1,000 government extension officers and volunteer farmers In the PICSA process; In turn, they have trained over 1 00,000 farmers. Smart Water for Facilitated the Apr 2016 to Agriculture Kenya establishment of Mar 2020 Irrigation Acceleration Platforms to Increase water productivity by 20% for 20,000 SME farmers (at least 50% are women; 80% are vegetable producers). Reached over 8 million viewers through Shamba Shape Up. Scaling out useful Reached over 7 Mar 2016 to climate services for million rural Dec 2019 Increased resilience dwellers (not all and productivity In farmers) via 82 Senegal (CINSERE) rural community Senegal radios and SMS. Contributed to building the capacity of government agencies and fostering an enabling policy environment for climate services and related agro- advisories. GSMA mNutrition Localized content Jun 2014 to Initiative Nigeria, produced In 12 May 2017 Ghana, Malawi, countries and 24 Mozambique, local languages and Tanzania, Kenya, delivered to over 5 Uganda, Zambia, Sri million registered Lanka, Myanmar, users; local Bangladesh, Pakistan partners trained In quality content development; over 12,000 messages and over 1,500 factsheets under mAgri and mHealth. Developing Climate Reached 300,000 2015-ongoing Smart Villages In farmers with Latin America context-specific agro-climatic Colombia, Nicaragua, advisories and Guatemala services. In Colombia the success of the Initiative has prompted the government to establish 1 5 local technical agro- climatic committees as a measure to promote food security, enhance adaptation, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
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|Title Annotation:||Research Report|
|Author:||Shilomboleni, Helena; Pelletier, Bernard; Gebru, Berhane|
|Publication:||Information Technologies & International Development|
|Date:||Jan 1, 2020|
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