Information and communication technologies (ICTs) can facilitate access to timely and accurate information for an improved agricultural production. Access to information is crucial in family farming, which is known to be heterogeneous, primarily family-based labour, production of highly diversified products, and limited access to productive resources.
ICTs, especially mobile applications, are playing key role in facilitating access to these resources by the poor. The "digital financial services" revolution has huge implication on family farmers.
Photo Credit: Marco Marche
With the increasing penetration of mobile phones in remote parts of the world, efforts should then be made to strengthen the innovative use of mobile technologies by family farmers. Combination of mobile technology and geographic information system provide accurate, specific/micro information of soil, water, nutrient etc. on farmers' field for decision making.
Creating the enabling environments for rural ICT connectivity through sound policies and strategies and ensuring thereby affordable and quality access to the technologies, especially in rural areas, will support smooth exchange of agricultural information for family farms. ICT strategies and platforms that increase involvement of farmers' organizations in policy development, policy debates, and influencing policy implementation have to be promoted.
In 2013, Gnucoop developed for Action Contre la Faim a mobile-web application to monitor prices of basic food items available in Central African Republic markets. Food prices are usually collected by different organizations working in different areas.
This platform, based on ODK data collection application, gathers information from different sources into a unique system.
Find out more on ODK website