2018: ICT IN AGRICULTURE AND FARMERS’ NEEDS

Digitalisation, rural development and needs assessment

The recently improved accessibility of digital technologies, especially as regards Internet and mobile tech, make ict4Agriculture solutions increasingly feasible in developing countries. A multitude of solutions are already being implemented and thereby benefiting different groups of stakeholders including smallholder farmers. Overall, there is a great demand and potential for ICT solutions in the agricultural sector in emerging markets as well as in developed economies, although the conditions and priorities in each context vary by many factors.

We – icebahaus – have worked as consultants and project developers in the area of urban-rural innovation since several years now, in particular concerning the application of digital media and tools within the agricultural sector and improving livelihoods in rural environments through local innovation networks and user oriented project development.

Exposure seminar: ICT in the Agricultural Value Chain (2018)

Given the recent dynamic advances in ICT for agriculture, GIZ in Bavaria/ Germany held a 10-days seminar, developed and facilitated by icebauhaus. The aim was to inform about and discuss the potential of new technologies for value chain development. 25 experts from African partner countries participated in the seminar, all of whom work on different cooperation levels with the Green Innovation Centers Initiative. During this seminar, the participants were be able to jointly examine the digital applications already implemented within the projects and partner networks of the GIZ. The program was enhanced through a variety of field trips and case studies and supplemented by presentations held by various solution providers from the German digital ecosystem.

Check: GIZ website

Concept development: Smart Apiculture Management System (2017)

As an outcome of our consultancy to the project “Realising Shared Solutions” (2015-2017), we were part of the conceptual development of an EU-H2020 research project in the field of apiculture and honey production. “SAMS” is a multi-national, interdisciplinary three-year project, aimed at applying sensor-based IoT technology developed for precision apiculture to beehives in tropical regions, in order to establish active monitoring systems for improved beekeeping and honey-production. The project, which since January 2018 is being implemented enables international cooperation between the project partners from Ethiopia, Indonesia, Latvia, Austria and Germany within the areas of  ICT and sustainable agriculture.

Check: SAMS website

Project consultancy: Realising Shared Solutions (2015-2017)

Small-hold farmers in rural areas of developing countries are a particularly challenging target group for ICT services. Therefore, it is important to make use of appropriate technologies to reach them. A main objective of the ICT4Ag track of the Innovation Factory (IF) programme was the development of innovative concepts of how technology can benefit small-hold farmers in the local context of each of the four selected target countries Ethiopia, Germany, Indonesia and Senegal. The Innovation Factory global initiative was commissioned by BMZ and implemented by GIZ. icebauhaus was technical advisor to the programme in the field of ICT4Ag.

Check: icebauhaus website – Rural-Urban Platforms of Food Innovation

Evaluation: Facilitating Uptake of ICTs/Mobile Applications (2015)

The aim of the project was to develop a framework for assessing the usability and functionality of apps featured in the database of agri-apps available on the African market, provided by the Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTA). The study was carried out by implementing a mix of three different methods of usability evaluation that each complete and compensate the others’ strengths and weaknesses: Heuristic/Expert Evaluation, Focus Group and Usability Test with African domain experts. 17  ict4Ag applications were carefully selected according to a set of pre-defined criteria as representative objects for the evaluation. Based on the results and observations from the usability evaluation activities, key criteria for assessing the usability of an ICT4Ag service in the CTA database were identified, summarised and described by examples.

Check: CTA website

Research: Diverse Background Research Reports (2014 – 2015)

> ICT in green innovation centres: This report was commissioned by the GIZ special initiative sustainable agriculture. The aim was to establish an overview of the current state of ICT activities and evaluating the potentials for application of ICT-based methods and approaches within the GIZ Green Innovation Centre Programme in Africa and India.

> ICT4Agriculture Desk Study: “Analysis of ICT support potentials for improved smallholder farm production in partner countries” for the GIZ. Overview of international actors, best and failed practices and development of needs and stakeholder potentials in selected partner countries.