Wednesday, November 30, 2011

ICT in Agriculture Sourcebook and M-PESA

Finals are coming up and this blog is suffering from lack of updates -sorry for that folks. I promise to catch up with my weekly 'Seeds and Leaves' list of resources and links. I will also be writing about the Integrated Rural Development Projects of the 60' and 70's and more recent efforts for integrated interventions such as the Millennium Villages and others. Also, tomorrow I will be attending a presentation on Food Security in Latin America: Trends and Prospects. I'll report on that as well.

In the meantime, I wanted to share with you an excited series of online forums to develop resources for "ICT in Agriculture" that the The World Bank and the e-Agriculture Community have put together.

Look at some of the modules titles:

  • Increasing Crop, Livestock and Fishery Productivity Through ICT"  
  • ICTs As Enablers of Agricultural Innovation Systems
  • Broadening Smallholders' Access to Financial Services Through 
  • Farmer Organizations Work Better with ICT
  • Strengthening Agricultural Marketing with ICT
  • ICT Applications for Smallholder Inclusion in Agribusiness Supply Chains

I seems that every day there are new developments in the area of technology and its potentials to help farmers. I recently read a study conducted by The IRIS Center at the University of Maryland, College Park on the impact of M-PESA's mobile technology in rural transactions. The study, titled Transforming Mobile Money into Food in Kenya, states:
M-PESA (receivers) appears to increase the likelihood of  being able to pay for seeds, casual labor, and other inputs at the time it is  most needed, and allows them to plant more of their fields.  An M-PESA shopkeeper mentioned that many of her customers receive money quickly and plant early and fully.  In the past, they might have missed the best  quality seeds, fertilizers, or might not have had money in time to plant  their fields completely.  In addition, many M-PESA receivers reported a  savings in travel time and transport costs to obtain remittance money  that they now could effectively use on productive agricultural activities.   This has enabled them to plant their fields more fully and hire more labor  when it can be most productive.
Exciting and promising things happening in ICT. As always, comment or email interesting articles in international food security.