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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.

Literature Review

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.

Content Analysis

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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(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.

Helena Shilomboleni

CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture, and Food Security (CCAFS) East Africa, International Livestock Research Institute, Kenya

Bernard Pelletier

Farm Radio International, Canada

Berhane Gebru

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.

Bernard Pelletier, Manager, Knowledge Management, Farm Radio International, Canada.

Berhane Gebru, Digital Development Program Director, FHI 360, USA.
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
                                              practices (e.g.,
                                              handling), promoted
                                              under the Scaling
                                              Seeds and
                                              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
                                              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.,
                                              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
                                              experimentation and
                                              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
                                              comprising selected
                                              common bean and
                                              chickpea varieties
                                              using Improved
                                              packages of
                                              practices (e.g.,
                                              land preparation,
                                              optimum tillage
                                              practices, sowing
                                              time, seeding rate,

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
                                              Integrated Climate
                                              Services for
                                              Agriculture (PICSA)
                                              model to enable
                                              farmers to make
                                              weather- and
                                              decisions for
                                              Improved food
                                              security and
                                              disaster risk

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
                                              consumption of
                                              fortified oil; and
                                              to test whether the
                                              fortified product
                                              can reduce
                                              deficiencies in
                                              vulnerable groups,
                                              specifically la eta
                                              t i n g mothers and

Ethiopian ATA-ICT      Ethiopian ATA          To streamline
for Agricultural       funding agency         smallholders' and
Services Program                              extension workers'
Ethiopia                                      access to
                                              information for
                                              agricultural growth
                                              and tailor extension
                                              services to
                                              different types of
                                              situations and
                                              communities to make
                                              the extension
                                              service more market
                                              oriented and context

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

Smart Water for        Netherlands            To Increase water
Agriculture Kenya      Development            productivity for
                       Organization           20,000 SME Kenyan
                                              farmers through a
                                              approach: Irrigation
                                              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
                                              resilience, and
                                              productivity of
                                              smallholder farmers,
                                              pastorals, and

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

Developing Climate     CCAFS; International   To support the
Smart Villages In      Center for Tropical    scaling up and -out
Latin America          Agriculture            of climate-smart
Colombia, Nicaragua,                          technologies and
Guatemala                                     practices through
                                              national and local

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.
                                              Target female
                                              farmers (aim for 40%
                                              of project
                                              beneficiaries to be
                                              female) with
                                              Information to adopt
                                              Improved Inputs.
                                              Ensure women are
                                              represented In key
                                              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

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

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
                                              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
                                              particularly women,
                                              complementary food
                                              processing and

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.

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
                                              weather Information
                                              and to disseminate
                                              It to farmers
                                              alongside context-
                                              tailored agro-
                                              translated Into
                                              local languages.

                                              Strengthen the
                                              capacity of local
                                              radio stations to
                                              Interactive climate
                                              and agro-advisory

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

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

                                              Collaborate with a
                                              local community
                                              radio, Radio Huguka,
                                              to broadcast
                                              Interactive climate-

                                              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
                                              groups, smart water
                                              providers, financial
                                              Institutions, and
                                              market buyers.

                                              Work with Shamba
                                              Shape Up, a weekly
                                              radio/TV program, to
                                              Information related
                                              to smart water
                                              Including link to
                                              financial services
                                              and companies
                                              Investing In smart
                                              water agriculture

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

                                              Collaborate with
                                              mobile phone
                                              operators to
                                              disseminate climate
                                              Information through
                                              SMS to farmers.

                                              Initiate advocacy
                                              efforts through
                                              dialogue to put In
                                              place legislation
                                              that supports
                                              climate Information
                                              and other climate
                                              adaptation measures,
                                              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
                                              nutrition and agro-
                                              advisory content
                                              through mobile
                                              phones apps (SMSs,
                                              IVR, USSD) to target

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.
                                              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

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
                       Increased access to
                       Information helped
                       female farmers
                       effectively In

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
                       128,589 farming
                       households took up
                       at least one of the
                       promoted improved
                       legume technology

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
                       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

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
                       education, cooking,
                       skill training
                       programs for
                       mothers); 9 seed-
                       cooperatives were

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

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,
                       advisories to help
                       farmers plan their
                       farming In response
                       to forecasted
                       conditions, weekly
                       market Information
                       reports, and low-
                       cost water

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
                       households proved
                       that fortified oil

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,
                       application, post-
                       harvest handling,
                       Irrigation, and
                       weather content;
                       register at least 6
                       million callers;
                       expand IVR helpdesk
                       services to at least
                       120 ACC woredas or

The Rwanda Climate     Integrated climate     Jun 2015 to
Services for           Information services   Dec 2019
Agriculture Rwanda     Into Rwanda's
                       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
                       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-

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
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
Geographic Code:4EUNE
Date:Jan 1, 2020
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