ICT4Ag: The Experience Of Gnucoop

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Intoduction on ICT4Ag Photo Credit: Marco Marche

Agriculture is the mainstay of national economies and household incomes in many African, Caribbean and Pacific countries. The role of information and communication technologies (ICTs) in agriculture is truly significant in everything, from conserving water use to helping secure the livelihoods of rural women. The huge potential of ICT for agriculture (ICT4Ag), from increasing agricultural yields to helping farmers to get a fairer price for their produce, is well documented. Technologies such as SMS applications, mobile banking and satellite data have been used successfully in order to give agricultural stakeholders access to farm mapping, weather data, marketing tools, financial credit, advice from extension workers, and social networks, among other things. What Gnucoop can offer:

SMS-based service: We propose the use of an SMS-based platform providing agricultural advice, weather forecasts, market prices, markets location and calendar to farmers. It uses data and insights on farmers, crops, markets and prices to provide commercial data and intelligence services to agribusinesses and financial organisations. SMS trade and market information service is a simple, convenient and cost-effective service that is helping farmers in rural areas to search for market for their produce at better prices within their regions and beyond Market information services (MIS) delivered through mobile phone SMS platforms help to increase household incomes, to reduce marketing costs and to improve the social welfare of small-scale farmers.

Data Collection Web and Mobile Platform: Our web-based platform allows to collect, store and manage any kind of data. This application allows to collect data and compile entry forms in a user-friendly way, analyse and generate reports at different levels: from single sites to country offices up to regional and HQ level. Data collection is done using different tools, from paper to digital forms and mobile apps. The last version of our platform provides a more advanced, modern and modular software; only one interface for data entry; data safety and clear user management structure; a user-friendly and customizable interface; a modular and extendible system. Thanks to the use of Angular JS 2 it can work offline guaranteeing offline updates if no connection is available but it would also make the whole system more uniform and centralized, therefore reducing the maintenance costs and the incidence of bugs, increasing the quality of the web application. Though the web app it’s possible to generate standard and customized reports, where users can define what information to include as well as the layout and format to display it. It is possible to analyze data and display related graphs or info-graphs for a better monitoring of the project activities.

GIS Platform: GIS application in agriculture has been playing an increasingly important role in crop production throughout the world by helping farmers in increasing production, reducing costs, and managing their land resources more efficiently. GIS application in agriculture such as agricultural mapping plays a vital role in monitoring and management of soil and irrigation of any given farm land. Gnucoop developed a webGIS platform, called Yago, to locate resources, identify critical issues, design urban plans and understand local vulnerabilities in order to increase population preparedness towards natural disasters and help managing crisis. It’s a modern and light software that can also run on smartphones and tablets, developed using the Google framework Angular 4 Google and libraries for the development of mobile-friendly Leaflet interactive maps. Yago is a webGIS application that allows uploading and overlapping geo datasets in order to identify vulnerable areas, risk and hazards. We’re developing a new functionality who allows to enter directly some data on a map, through a specific interface.

Gnucoop can also been carry out field missions to test the application, and monitor the roll out and deployment of the developed application, as well as to train local staff on the use of the system. The system will be implemented in many different countries with thousands of users.