e-Agriculture and its role in reducing unemployment and Hunger

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Picture credits: ifad.org

Today, as it is typical of me I decided to make research on a very interesting topic. You probably would have heard of e-mail, e-commerce, e-business, e-governance, and if you love shopping: e-bay!But many who have heard of e-Agriculture probably don’t know what it means and how it affects them either as individuals or as Agric professionals, today I’ll be making a review of several articles I was able to gather on e-Agriculture and make it simple so that you can see it as cool as ever…a money making opportunity!

According to e-Agriculture Community of Practice, e-Agriculture describes an emerging field focused on the enhancement of agricultural and rural development through improved information and communication processes. More specifically, e-agriculture involves the conceptualization, design, development, evaluation and application of innovative ways to use information and communication technologies (ICTs) in the rural domain, with a primary focus on agriculture.

Which agency is leading the initiative?

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) has been assigned the responsibility of organizing activities related to the action line under C7. ICT applications: benefits in all aspects of life – and more particularly on e-Agriculture. In 2006, a multi stakeholder working group was set up, to guide these efforts and include:

Association for Progressive Communications (APC)

The Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR)

Technical Centre for Agriculture and Rural Development (CTA)

UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA)

Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO)

Gesellschaft für Technische Zusammenarbeit (GTZ)

Global Forum on Agricultural Research (GFAR)

Global Knowledge Partnership (GKP)

Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA)

International Association of Agricultural Information Specialists (IAALD)

International Institute for Communication and Development (IICD)

International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD)

International Telecommunications Union (ITU)

World Bank

How Does one Benefit from the e-Agriculture?

As a Young Farmer, you can benefit by getting and sharing information among your fellow farmers around the world. Young unemployed Agri Professionals can tap into this untapped money spinner by bridging the gap between the rural farmers and the consumers or giving them information on weather, cheapest prices of seeds and inputs, planting tips and places to sell their goods at a good price within their locality.

This is a challenge to unemployed Youths who flock the cities in search of what they call: greener pastures, in reality the greener pastures are found in rural farms, are they not? Of course, am not advising anyone to relocate permanently in the village and face hardship.

However in order to feed the world population, we need to use e-Agriculture to:

1)      Reduce Agric produce loss and wastage resulting from lack of proper storage knowledge and lack of customers to the rural farmers.

2)      Share information of high yielding varieties to the farmer and where to buy them.

3)      Provide information on right planting time, spacing and other tips that will improve yield.

4)      Provide the right information on the use of herbicides, pesticides and fertilizers.

5)      Provide proper and efficient market information to enable profit to the farmer.

6)      And especially as the global warming and its effects are hitting hard on the farmers, they need to know the best areas to plant to prevent their crops from been washed away by flood.

Millions of rural farmers have access to phones or at least has a phone that can make and receive calls, unemployed youths should utilize the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) channels like Bulk SMS, to create a platform for communication with these rural farmers and create time to physically see and encourage their work.

At the Youth Policy Dialogue Series held in Lagos, Nigeria Youths were encouraged to create and research more on the challenges faced by rural farmers and see how to use technology to proffer the solutions.

This is a challenge to all unemployed youths reading this to create a platform such that they can charge $2(about N300) per day to farmers using the e-Agriculture channels available, I don’t know about you but if you think fast as I do then you should start talking to rural farmers about subscribing to your platform highlighting their obvious problems and telling them how you intend to solve them!

The value chain of agriculture is very large; all Youths don’t need to head to the farm! We can encourage farmers and indeed improve their crop yield through e-Agriculture thereby creating employment for ourselves; together we will use e-Agriculture to solve the unemployment and food problem in the world!

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About kalusam

I am a graduate of Agriculture with options in Soil Science and Meteorology from Michael Okpara University of Agriculture, Umudike- Nigeria. I am the lead Agribusiness consultant at Agritechnovate Solutions Entreprises. I have underwent several trainings, conferences and studies in Agriculture and entrepreneurship with University of Maryland, U.S.A , IHAV Foundation Conference, Association of Africa Business School (AABS) Agric business Launch to mention but a few. As a young farmer and entreprenuer with a passion for research and writing, I use this blog to share my experiences as well as inform Youths of the opportunities available in Agriculture and Entrepreneurship. Follow me on twitter: @kalusamanya Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/kalusam Skype: kalusam WHatsapp: +2347036931636
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13 Responses to e-Agriculture and its role in reducing unemployment and Hunger

  1. Hello Kalu Samuel. Thank you for this informative piece about e-Agriculture! I’m sure others will find interest in your suggestions for action.
    Just a small note on names, the list of founders should include the World Bank, but not as “One Laptop per Child – World Bank” (OLPC and the Bank are not the same as I’m sure you know).
    Keep up the good writing.

  2. Fread Mzee says:

    Good work Sam, great comments Mich, It a very insightful document. I am research on framework for e-agriculture. Kindly keep me posted on any such relevant documents/web sites

    • kalusam says:

      Thanks Mzee,
      I sure will share any information on how we can use e-agriculture to reduce the food problems we all face, I will also appreciate any info you have on e-agric so far so we have an interchange of ideas!

  3. Ndubuisi Soronnadi says:

    hi. Why would a rural farmer want to pay N300/day if their margins are already thin? There must be sustaining benefit for them to continually subscribe to obtain information routinely

    • kalusam says:

      Ndubuisi, thanks for your question. For a rural farmer, one of the biggest challenges is access to markets. Now if a Youth co-ordinates clusters of say vegetable/maize farmers in the remote rural areas and put their products online, organise strategic social media marketing campaigns such that people can place orders directly to the farmers by phone call or SMS to say the head of the group/co-operative assuming that the farmers don’t all have phones, the rural farmer who depends ONLY on sales on a market day or from city middle men exploiters who comes and buys her farm products at very low price, will gladly pay. This is because they will earn more from such subscription than they would have from any other options available, and mind you the N300 is based on the day a sale is made rather than everyday whether a sale is made or not. If a farmer normally earns N1000-N1500 on a market day now earns as much as N3,000+ I don’t think she will complain.

      • Ndubuisi Soronnadi says:

        Kalu,

        Thanks for the response. This will require a lot of commitment from both the e-agriculture youth to promote this platform to the farmers and also the farmers having faith in the system.
        I can see the merits from a numbers perspective but there are gains to be made with efficiency of dispatching a product to the end user.
        Keep up the good work.

        Ndubuisi

  4. kalusam says:

    Yes Ndubuisi,

    You are very correct…TRUST issues. But its only a challenge, not a problem…the solution is working with those who easily buy the idea(with minimal doubts). They will serve as an example to others.
    Thanks once more, If you use a Blackberry Smartphone or Tablet get the App to this blog on BB App world here: http://t.co/AfgzLLmSwD you can also subscribe to my blog via e-mail so that any new post will be sent to your inbox.

    I really appreciate your comments.

  5. ogundipe samuel says:

    Its a nice slide and it encourages young graduating farmer. Thank you

    • kalusam says:

      Mr. Samuel,
      Thanks for reading the post. I encourage you to subscribe to my blog via e-mail to receive any new post direct to your inbox or if you own a Blackberry smartphone or Tablet you download my Blog’s App here: http://ow.ly/siONZ

      Thank You

  6. Pingback: My ICT4Ag Journey…the story so far!(Part 1) | Kalu Samuel's Blog

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