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Agricultural Development and Value Chain Enhancement (ADVANCE II) Case Study

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The Agricultural Development and Value Chain Enhancement II (ADVANCE II) case study is part of a series of case studies by the USAID to highlight how digital technologies are integrated into agricultural programs. The adoption of digital technologies continues to increase within the agricultural domain. We are now accustomed to the use of mobile phones and internet-based digitals tools within the farming practices.

The ADVANCE II case study attributes to this diffusion of technology to, (i) the wider adoption of mobile phones in developing countries; and (ii) to the spread if 3G and 4G connectivity. Coincidentally, on a global scale mobile subscriptions stands at 7.74 billion, exceeding the world’s population (Source ITU, see this blog). The impact has been the quick adoption of digital technologies and information and communication technology (ICT)- enabled extension services. Other emerging services include, precision agriculture, mobile payment systems, better data collection through drones and satellite technologies and weather information services.

ADVANCE II: Focus on Ghana

The particular case focuses on Ghana under the USAID/Ghana’s Feed the Future program, which as project that aims at improving the livelihoods of 113,000 small holder farmers by increasing the productivity of rice, maize and soya. The interesting aspect being that ADVANCE II has integrated a set of digital tools within its life-cycle and programming.

Ghana’s digital landscape 

  • Unique mobile subscribers stands at 67% 
  • Mobile network coverage is 85% ( by 3G) and 46.10% (covered by 4G) ( Source GSMA Intelligence)
  • 9 Mobile operators, including MTN, Vodafone, Tigo and Airtel
  • Mobile money introduced first in 2009

ADVANCE II use of digital tools

ADVANCE II is integrating more digital tools when compared to its predecessor ADVANCE I and these have been classed into 3 camps – (i) operational use, (ii) extension and information delivery and (iii) financial inclusion. Review the diagram below to see the specific breakdown of these digital tools. 

Operational Use Mobile data collection and analysis Use of Magpi, and later Datawinners, to collect data for annual surveys via tablets
Operational Use Smart Cards Smart Cards assigned to farmer beneficiaries to easier track attendance at trainings
Operational Use Geospatial Analysis Geographic information systems (GIS) used to visualize and analyse project data; helps with understanding of data, decision-making
Extension and information delivery Text and voice-based information delivery to farmers Through a number of partnerships (ignitia, Esoko, VOTO Mobile, Farmerline), a subset of farmers receive daily messages, including agricultural tips (GAPs), market prices, nutritional messages, pest outbreak/control, and weather, initially through SMS but recently transitioned fully to voice messages (VM)
Extension and information delivery Smartex Application – integrated ICT solution for extension provision Grameen Foundation designed "Smartex”a tablet-based application that enables Out grower Businesses (OBs) and their agents to provide interactive and tailed extension services to out-growers (OGs)
Extension and information delivery Interactive agricultural radio programming and listenership groups ADVANCE has provided 1000+ listenership groups with solar powered radios and is partnering with various ratio stations across the country to launch or enhance interactive agricultural radio programs.
Financial inclusion Digital financial Services Supporting growth of agent networks by identifying nucleus farmers to serve as agents; on boarding farmers to mobile money and supporting Village Savings and Loans (VSLAs) in developing savings practices.

 Source: USAID,2017

Read more information here

Sources: USAID.2017. The Advance II Case study report