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Do you have any concrete examples of successful use of ICTs in sustainable intensification of horticulture crop based systems

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Do you have any concrete examples of successful use of ICTs in sustainable intensification of horticulture crop based systems

Do you have any concrete examples of successful use of ICTs in sustainable intensification of horticulture crop based systems?

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Re-Introduction –week 2- discussion question

Dear   Colleagues, 

Once again, we would like to thank all participants who have already shared their input to this ongoing discussion.

From today you can follow the second question of the discussion that will run until Friday the 17th of March and we would like to invite you all to contribute.

Do you have any concrete examples of successful use of ICTs in sustainable intensification of horticulture crop based systems (mainly fruits, vegetables, roots and tubers), for both smallholder and commercial farmers in your respective localities?

For easier readability of your cases/stories,  may  we suggest that you succinctly describe the following when sharing your  case :

  • Have the ICT technologies / innovative practices you are sharing  proved to work well and produced good results, can they be recommended as models?
  • Are they successful experiences that has been tested and validated in the broad sense and deserves to be shared so that a greater number of people can adopt it?
  • Alternatively, have these ICT technologies / innovative practices demonstrated a high degree of success in a single setting and guarantee the possibility of replication in the same setting?

You may want to further include details on what has been done, where, how, who, when and the results/ impacts of the ICT technologies / practices.

We look forward to receiving your inputs.

On Behalf of the forum moderators. 

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Problems to SCPI in the Caribbean region

From activities via Tech4agri I would like to share these case studies. 

Case Study 1
Signs of Unlimited Love (SOUL) Multi-purpose Cooperative
Location: Dominica 
Contact: Mr. Eber Ravariere - President
Interview 
 
SOUL Multi-purpose Cooperative is a youth based group that seeks to improve the lives of people living in rural communities by creating employment in the Agricultural & Agro-Processing industries. It started off as a social group that did community outreach - after schol programmes, community beautification and upkeep, beach clean ups and other church activities. They were advised to formalise the group to benefit members and so SOUL was born
 
The group focuses on primary production and added value processing as well as the subsequent marketing and sale of products. SOUL Enterprise is officially registered with a board of directors and is based in the North Eastern District of Dominica.
 
Eber states: "Part of our development strategy as social entrepreneurs, we want to use ICTs to scale. We are currently partnering with regional development agencies to create the infrastructure fr our projects"
 
The group is building a greenhouse as a nursey for vegetable production that will have a rainwater harvesting structure which in turn feeds an automated drip irrigation system. They would also like to include a supporting aquaponics system.
 
In relation to Horticulture based systems, the group has an ongoing sweet potato project, done with support from the Caribbean Agricultural Research and Development institute (CARDI) SOUL hope to build a facility that is fitted with solar and wind power which will be used for agroprocessing towards a line of products which will create markets that farmers can access. Excess power generates is to be fed into the local grid.
 
It is clear that this group actively seeks out ICTs for use in their projects however they are in need of technical knowledge, seeking exposure and expertise in order to progress their projects at scale. They are fortunate to access regional support in the form of CARDI, however Eber explained that these increases in production capabilties are tied to the need for funding, of which there are very limited sources in the region.
 
As a multipurpose cooperative they seek to serve a multitude of members and as such the have also been looking for farming apps. 
 
"We want to give access to young farmers the necessary tools and equipment including ICTs in order to access knowledge resources.We aim to ensure youth are able to enter into the agri sector easily" - Eber
 
Eber and his team see mobile apps as an ICT they can adopt much faster than the aforementioned plans. He explained that the group has had interactions with an african developer to produce an app that the young farmers may use to assist with planting and harvesting schedules as well as to access international databases.
 
I explained this was not necessary as there are agri apps made right here in the Caribbean, ready and available for download use now.
 
Therein lies a major problem; that up to date information is not readily available. To clarify, the information which SOUL needs is accesible given the level of mobile and internet penetration that exists in today's world. However it becomes a matter of where exactly to find this information and is it right for use in the caribbean.
 
This is where enterprises such as Tech4agri comes in - to consolidate the information and present it in a form that appeals to youth while keeping them up to date and motivated to try new technologies. 
 
Lack of information is a chronic problem that faces the regional agri sector however it is becoming overturned through the increased uptake of ICTs through a variety of service providers 
 
To conclude, I passed on to Eber a link to the AGRINETT project which he was not aware of. These project resulted in a number of mobile apps for the agri sector details in the next study
 
Case Study 2
The AGRINETT project
Location: Trinidad and Tobago
 
The Department of Computer Science at the University of the West Indies, St Augustine Campus. Embarked on a project to produce several apps and crowdsourced mapping tools for farmers and other stakeholders in the agri sector. 
 
Some apps include the Market Watcher (Agri price) app which provides market information and prices as well as the Agri Maps App which assists with pests, diseases and plath health.
 
 
The program was well received by the academic community winning several awards even at the international stage as part of the World Summit for International. However on the ground, the app was not initially well received. Many farmers did not use smart phones and were not interested in using the app at all.
 
As the video discussion above indicates these apps have great potential to assist local farmers in multiple ways however a simple barrier to this was the technology itself, it was not appropriate for the farmers or rather it was created with their limited input. Fortunately, the apps held the interests of children of these farmers who began using the apps making the entire project benficial to entire farming families. 
 
 
In this case the trial project has been success and the apps are free a available for download.

From these cases, lack of knowledge flow and technology suitability seem to some of the major problems preventing SCPI.Best Regards                                                       

Keron Bascombe
Agricultural Blogger and Writer
Blog: tech4agri.com                                               
------------------------------------------------------------

Country Representative (Trinidad and Tobago)
Young Professionals' for Agricultural Research for Development (YPARD)
Email: ypardtrinidadtobago@gmail.com
Youth Representative - Local
Steering Committee 2017 - 2020
Global Forum for Agricultural Research (GFAR)

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ICTs-SCPI- Five Trends in Horticulture Technology

Repost-

When precision agriculture first erupted in the 1990s, it was targeted primarily to producers of Midwestern row crops, especially corn, soybean, sugar beets, and wheat. When someone said “precision,” most people heard “field mapping, variable rate application, yield monitoring” – solutions that were often big-iron and nearly always big-dollar, and were aimed at reducing input costs and farmers’ environmental footprint. Small-acre horticultural crops generally need not apply.
But the ongoing digitization of the farm is exploding long-held assumptions. When data scientists at companies like Climate Corporation jump into agriculture and begin talking about incredible variations detected by their technologies – like finding 40% variability within soil samples taken just three feet apart, or that 10 rain gauges right next to each other in a field could have as much as a quarter-inch difference among them – suddenly the phrase “site-specific farming,” the original moniker for precision, takes on renewed meaning. The promise of knowing exactly what is happening in any given field down to the foot or even inch, and being able to manipulate innumerable factors on the fly, becomes a near- to mid-term reality. And that’s ambrosia for all growers whether they’re managing one acre of wine grapes or 1,000 acres of commodity grains.
Enter “hort tech.” When growers of tree fruit, citrus, nuts, vine crops, and vegetables can use increasingly affordable digital tools and online platforms to keep detailed, year-over-year production data they can analyze and adapt for the following year’s crop and intensively manage variability across their operations … heck yeah, that’s “precision farming.” And because producers of horticultural crops generally are more reliant on hand labor and are closer in the food chain to processors and end-use consumers than are grain producers, horticulture technology offers them the additional promise of automation and track-and-trace in the field, in the packinghouse, and beyond.
So where specifically are the nearer-term opportunities in horticulture technology, especially in practical usage that growers are likeliest to embrace? Here are five areas to keep a particular eye on, as compiled by editors at Meister Media Worldwide.
1. Yield monitoring in fruits and nuts
Yield monitoring has been done in Midwestern grain crops for years, but look for the technology to move west to the large winegrape vineyards of the Pacific states. The reason is simple: All winegrowers can tell you there is significant yield variability within blocks, but now they will be able to measure it. The advantage is that growers can implement zonal vineyard management. Rather than being managed uniformly, as is now typical, individual blocks can be split into zones in which the management of both inputs to, and outputs from, the production system can be applied differentially. And there’s no reason such yield monitors need be limited to wine grapes. While it would be difficult with current technology to adapt a system for hand-harvested crops, it would seem to be quite a boon to other mechanized crops. California’s big three nut crops – almonds, walnuts, and pistachios – seem to be excellent candidates. Zonal management with the use of yield monitors would enable nut growers to boost per-acre yields – a significant advantage with the cost of suitable land for tree nut crops soaring. The market is huge, as the bearing acreage of the big three nut crops in the Golden State now tops 1.5 million acres.
2. Precision irrigation
A good current example of the potential for this technology is (Fagerberg Produce) http://www.growingproduce.com/vegetables/how-to-maximize-water-efficiency-on-your-vegetable-farm/.  A grower/packer/shipper of about 1,300 acres of yellow, red, and white onions in Eaton, CO, that has figured out how to produce a high-yielding onion crop and save water at the same time. The farm is noted as the first to purchase autopilot GPS to install drip tape within sub-centimeter accuracy. Today, with the help of his smartphone, Rod Weimer, Fagerberg’s farm manager, can check rates, start and stop fertilizer, and water from virtually anywhere thanks to a fully automated drip irrigation system. Since installing drip irrigation, the farm has reduced its water usage by 40% and gone from using 3.5 acre feet of water when flood-irrigating to only 1.6 acre feet using drip.
3. Robotics
Availability and affordability of labor is a perpetual pain point in agriculture, but (Grimmway Farms) http://www.growingproduce.com/vegetables/robots-container-production-and-the-future-of-vegetable-growing/.   in Bakersfield, CA, hopes to be on track to a solution. The company has been testing a concept from the world of ornamental flowers and plants – growing plants in pots – to see if it can work in the broad expanses of vegetable fields. Rather than have teams of field workers handle those pots, Grimmway is piloting the ability of robots to move the plants out into the field to grow then bring them back in at the end of the season for early harvest.
4. Internet of Things wireless connectivity
Systems like Climate’s FieldView Pro http://www.precisionag.com/systems-management/climates-fieldview-platform-is-poised-for-serious-inroads/. already use Bluetooth to digitally display real-time field data on an iPad as equipment passes through the field, then store it in the cloud. But as reported  https://www.ca.com/us/rewrite/articles/application-economy/will-the-internet-of-things-uncork-a-better-bottle-of-wine.html. early this year, small-scale but high-value horticulture operations like Hahn Family Wines in Soledad, CA, can take an Internet of Things approach to monitor a host of environmental and growing conditions in real time. Using 4G cell service provided by Verizon AgTech, Hahn last fall installed sensors every six acres in its vineyards to measure soil moisture, humidity, and temperature. The resulting analytics enable the operation to make better decisions about when to water, how to spot irrigation leaks, when to apply crop protection materials, and when to harvest.
5. Unmanned aerial systems (UAS)
Interest in use of unmanned aerial systems (UAS) is moving from novelty to practical applications in agriculture. With the Federal Aviation Administration providing guidance on the legal use of small commercial UAS, the technology is set to take off in Florida specialty crop production. Researchers have been seeking applications for the aircraft, including identification of greening – a devastating disease in citrus – and the ability to estimate the fruit production on trees. A scientist at the University of Central Florida is developing systems that utilize UAS to scout strawberry fields. When the imagery collected by the UAS identifies a potential problem, it signals a ground robot to autonomously drive to the spot in the field to more closely inspect the area with higher-resolution imagery. Private companies are forming to offer the technology to growers as well. Highlands Precision Ag, http://www.growingproduce.com/farm-management/gennext-growers/more-growers-going-high-tech-down-on-the-farm/. for example, will deploy its UAS on behalf of growers. “UAS is simply a vehicle to collect data on crops,” says Steve Maxwell, CEO of the company. “As cameras become more precise and big data becomes more accessible, the imagery will fundamentally change the agriculture industry both environmentally and even in the marketing of crops.”
Adopted from James Sulecki  who is corporate content director of Meister Media Worldwide. in Phoenix, hope we will be able to get him on the forum.

Regards.

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The YPARD Zimbabwe case study

1.0   The local network 

YPARD Zimbabwe was established in July 2011 with the nomination of a local Country representative by the global unit.  YPARD stands for Young Professionals for Agricultural Development, a global network of young professionals in agricultural research and development. The local network, an independent and autonomous unit, comprises about 250 members who are active online and offline, with some members in the Diaspora. The primary target group of the local network is young men and women who are passionate about agriculture, and under forty years of age.   

A core team of five members met regularly to design the structure, methods of engagement, and to inspire each other during the early years after establishment.  The team members continue to keep in touch through various means such as e-mail communications and Skype calls.  For many of the registered members, there is freedom to contribute to local agricultural development in any way deemed suitable and of value to the mission of YPARD.  

The modus operandi of YPARD Zimbabwe is to conduct as minimum programmes and activities as can be executed because of the rise of complexity and uncertainty in the country.  It primarily assumes the role of a “think tank” organisation.  We promote “knowledge creation" and "critical thinking" in orthodox ways across multiple domains, and sometimes in uncharted territories in agricultural research and development.  One of the reasons for this approach is to promote the use of the change leader’s imagination, creativity, and experimentation in building better futures in agriculture.   

Since its establishment, the local network has partnered with various local organisations and individuals in agriculture in direct and indirect ways.  In one instance, the local network signed a memorandum of understanding with a local network of an international organisation focused on young people and agriculture.   

2.0   The process 

This case study sought to analyse the possible areas of application for Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) in horticulture in Zimbabwe.  The areas are:   

• Production (food and environment)
• Business (incomes and wealth)
• Aesthetic (creativity and lifestyle)

Visually, ICTs can be found at the intersection of the three areas. The research questions in the case study were: How can ICTs be applied in horticulture in Zimbabwe?  What is the envisioned future with ICTs being used in horticulture systems in Zimbabwe?

3.0   Applying the Analysis

3.1   Sustainable intensification

“Sustainable intensification” including that of horticulture crop based systems as one of the suggested solution to meeting needs related to Production (food and environment), Business (incomes and wealth), and Aesthetic (creativity and lifestyle), needs to be addressed within the broader framework of ICTs as an enabling tool/mechanism for horticulture.    

3.2   Multiple uses of ICTs in horticulture in Zimbabwe
 
ICTs constitute the new digital economy where humans and machines/tools are inseparable, and depend on each other for mutual “survival” and “exploitation” purposes.  Each of these purposes brings merits and demerits to horticulture farmers.  In any analysis of ICTs’ applied use, taking into consideration the human species concerns (such as inspiration and courage) and business concerns such as convenience and returns on investment) should be borne in mind. 

One school of thought suggests that farmers will use a particular technology, service, or product if it addresses the problems they encounter as well as suits their needs.  You cannot depend on the excitement concerning ICTs to hoodwink farmers into ICTs adoption and application in their enterprises.  For example, unmanned aerial vehicles and robots use when proven to be practical importance and value farming ventures are most likely to have takers.      

ICTs have been used in the horticulture industry in Zimbabwe includes: setting up of websites for emerging farmers; marketing of horticultural produce using social media (e.g. Face book pages); publication purposes especially for events (meetings and workshops), and dissent.  

Another school of thought suggests that ICTs now epitomize the extent of modern civilization.  ICTs extend the idea that man is able to master his environment under certain conditions.  They have also brought together production and consumer in much more intimate ways.  Adaptable farmers and entrepreneurs must capitalize on this research and development competitive advantages as they relate to horticulture crop based systems. 

4.0  Reflections

In this case study, we convey the "concrete" idea that ICTs have been used in many areas in agricultural research and development, with varying levels of success.  In particular, for horticulture in Zimbabwe, this is seem largely as a domain of knowledge, and thus the issue becomes whether ICTs are perceived to serve the much needed functions, amongst other issues.  

In addition, each area of ICTs application in horticulture – production, business, and aesthetic – needs to be assessed on a case by case basis.  The local context should be considered as well when doing such an assessment. 

We believe as YPARD Zimbabwe that ICTs can serve as a sueful connector in horticulture in Zimbabwe.  All interested individuals and organisations in horticulture and associated enterprises should evaluate in a pragmatic way the use and perceived benefits of using ICTs in production, business, and aesthetic areas.  

The YPARD Zimbabwe Case Study Prepared by Raymond Erick Zvavanyange Email: zvavanyanger3@gmail.com ; ypard.zimbabwe@gmail.com Date: 13.03.2017

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Smart ICT solutions: Practical examples from Bangladesh

mPower Social Enterprises Limited is an ICT4D organization based in Bangladesh which works with ICT solutions for end level beneficiaries based on the approach of Human Centrered Design (HCD). e-Agriculture Unit is one of the biggest domain of mPower which implement different projects with public and private partners. Currently e-Agriculture unit is implementing three large scale projects and multiple small scale projects to reach six hundred thousands farmers and extension agents through technology. These projects has taken different crops into their contribution where horticulture and tuber crops has a majority portion as contents. Smartphone applications, web applications, satellite and remote sensing data driven precision agriculture, IVR/SMS/Voice Dial are some of the key tools developed by mPower for different projects. Today I am going to talk on a specific large scale project which is implementing 'Digital Extension' solutions in Bangladesh.  


Case Study Project: USAID funded Agriculture Extension Project in Bangladesh

This project is implemented by three organizations namely Dhaka Ahsania Mission, CARE Bangladesh and mPower. mPower designed, developed and deployed the ICT solutions here. The objective is to implement capacity building and support creation of a farmer’s demand-driven agricultural extension system, synergized by the use of information communication technology (ICT). After starting the 5 years long project in 2012, the team started to work on solving three specific challenges in Bangladesh extension through digital intervention.

  1. First is the absence or limited presence of expert consultation in rural parts of the country. A total of 16,500 public extension agents named Sub-Assistant Agriculture Officer or SAAO are employed all over the country to provide extension services to around 15 million farming households.
  2. Another challenge is to keep the knowledge base of extension agents up-to-date. With the improving technology and continuous research, nowadays agricultural knowledge gets updated quite often. But there is no specific mechanism in place to regularly train extension agents after a certain interval in a proper learning environment.
  3. Thirdly, there is limited availability of tools for decision-makers to collect real time information from the field while taking decisions or making policies.  

To address these above mentioned challenges in the agricultural sector, project has taken an integrated ICT approach which involves mobile, web apps and multimedia contents for mobile phones. There were plenty of different interventions (Total 8) but I am going to talk on some Key Interventions.

Agriculture Knowledge Bank (AKB)

Agriculture Knowledge Bank (AKB) is an interactive web knowledge portal managed by Agriculture Information Service (AIS) of Government of Bangladesh, containing information on agricultural content and recommendations of multiple crops. it will be live for public very soon.  Its a Web based portal where there are some features such as 

  • ICT based web platform for centralizing agro knowledge in one portal; Now there are more than 30 crops including HORTICULTURE. Another 20 crops content will be included within some time. 
  • Access to this platform can provide interactive agricultural extension message;
  • Intelligent search function and filtering option require less effort to access information;
  • Easily updatable through admin module by non-ICT Expert;
  • Field level farmers and extension agents can access content through mobile;

Logic behind developing AKB

A lot of information on agricultural content is available on websites of various government and agricultural research organizations of Bangladesh. Attaining these scattered information seems quite difficult for general people let alone farmers. Most importantly farmers and other relevant stakeholders are not even aware about the available agricultural information and ways of accessing them. To reduce this information gap, Agriculture Knowledge Bank was developed with the support of AIS under Ag. Extension project to ensure farmers and relevant agricultural stakeholders can access crop related information in one single web platform.

Sustainibility

It will be managed by the Govt.'s Agriculture Information Service Department (AIS) as public portal, so it is accessible by anyone.

Farmer Query System (FQS) - Remote Agro Advosory Service

Farmer query system is a smartphone application based technology solution that allows quality and timely provision of remote agro consultations and solutions for farmers in Bangladesh. It is a mobile app used by infomediary who collect queries and send the collected data to the agriculture experts who then reviews all the information on a web dashboard and send the recommendations and solutions to the local intermediary through SMS, Voice Message or Phone call which is then passed on to the farmers. Thois application is being used by more than 4000 users as infomediaries which serves more than one hundred thousands farmers in Bangladesh. So far 55000 queries have been solved through this application. The users are farmers, extension officers (Both public and private), input sellers and tele centre agents.

Benefits of FQS

  • Deliver quality agro recommendations to farmers’ on-demand by linking them to remote agro consultation services;
  • Ensuring agriculture experts provide proper recommendations since FQS Smartphone application captures farmers’ need systematically;
  • Ensure timely and effective digital extension service where there is scarcity of extension agents in the field;
  • Real-time data of farmers’ need, provide avenue of decision making to policymakers, researchers and extension workers. 

Logic behind developing FQS

It is quite impossible for the small number of public extension agents to serve this large number of farmers. As the country’s mobile network penetration is almost 99% and smart phone penetration is also on the increase, mPower Social Enterprises Ltd. came up with the idea of providing agro consultation to the farmers in remote areas by taking advantage of this advanced technology. Basically FQS application was developed to reduce the existing gap between limited public extension workers and large number of farm households in providing agro consultation.

Sustainibility

  • As a public partner of the project - Govt's Agriculture Information Service (AIS) will host the service.
  • mPower will try a business model where farmers will be able to get agricultural solution by paying a certain amount of monthly subscription. Another model is to charge input selling companies so that they can have that as an added extension service to sell their products.  

Public Extension Agents (SAAO) Digital Diary Application

SAAO Digital Diary is a smartphone application which is developed to help Sub-Assistant Agriculture Officers (SAAO) to log in their daily visits or services provided to the farmers digitally. Through SAAO Diary application, Sub-Assistant Agriculture Officers can put their daily activity information which can be viewed by their supervisors for monitoring purpose. To ensure accountability and transparency, a web dashboard was developed to be used at supervisors (Sub District Agriculture Officer/UAO) end through which UAOs will be able to monitor daily activities of the SAAOs working under their supervision. This whole process was initiated to reduce the lengthy administrative process that takes place between UAO and SAAO usually over paper based documents. Total 130 SAAOs  got smartphones along with this application from the project and are serving thousands of farmers from their extension centres and field.

Logic behind developing SAAO Digital Diary

Before initiating ICT interventions in USAID funded Ag. Extension Project, mPower Social Enterprises Ltd. conducted a need assessment on project stakeholders (Farmers, extension agents) at the project locations. The findings derived from the assessment revealed that the daily paperwork for conducting field visits consume a significant amount of time of SAAOs. This activity reduces their time to provide agricultural extension service to the farmers. In order to save more time and to ensure smooth extension service delivery, SAAO digital diary is developed which takes very less time to record daily activities and saves them digitally to be monitored by their supervisors.

Sustainibility

At the end of Ag. Extension project, SAAO digital diary will be handed over to Department of Agricultural Extension’s (DAE) ICT department to maintain the service beyond project cycle because SAAOs are the direct employees of DAE who manages them at the field level to provide extension service to the farmers

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FjHqyM-EfkQ&t=109s
 

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Case of Strawberry production in the West Bank

Greetings from Jerusalem and many thanks for keeping us in the loop. It is definitely a great opportunity to participate in the e-Agriculture platform on this important topic.

A short answer to question No 2, comments are welcome:

Sustainable intensification of strawberry production in the West Bank and Gaza Strip using computerized control system (WBGS)

In the WBGS, farmers are achieving a threefold increase in yields with only 70 percent of the water use compared to traditional greenhouse production by growing hanging strawberries. The strawberries are grown in soil-less media using a computerized system controlling the quantity and frequency of irrigation and application of fertilizers.

FAO has facilitated knowledge transfer between farmers in the West Bank already applying this technique, and Gazan farmers. As a result, small-scale farmers in the Gaza Strip have now established 10 dunums of hanging strawberry production. A comparison of production data for strawberries grown in open fields, traditional greenhouses and hanging:

Strawberry Production Open Field Traditional Greenhouse Hanging Strawberries
#seedlings/dunum 8,000 8,000 18,000
Production (tons/dunum) 3 4 12
Water use (m3/dunum) 900 1,000 700
Season Mid-Sept-Mid April (yield after 60 days) 1 Sep -1May (yield after 65 days) Mid-Sep -1 June (yield after 50 days)

Below is a picture of the Strawberry Production

Dr. Azzama Saleh │ Head of Programme

Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO) │ West Bank and Gaza Strip

Mount of Olives St. 26, Sheikh Jarrah │ P.O. Box 22246, Jerusalem 91513

Mobile: +972 (0)54 802 6712 │ Tel: +972 (0)2 5339 402│ Fax: +972 (0)2 540 0027

Email: azzam.saleh@fao.org │ Skype: azzam271 │ Website : www.fao.org

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Thank you Dr Azzama for

Thank you Dr Azzama for sharing this interesting  and intriguing case -ICTs- for Hort  production system. The comparison in terms of inputs and outputs gained is self-explanatory and justifies further the significant role of ICTs tools and innovative farming practices in intensifying crop production. I would like to kindly ask if you have tried this with other horticultural crops, if yes can you specify and will appreciate if you can share the production-productivity comparison as above, is this being done under small scale or its entirely commercial. Besides decreased water use , are there any other ecosystem based approaches/ environmentally friendly aspects which are included in such a localised farming system- thinking more on the sustainability   part of  running such a system. Can you comment on the use of  chemicals – is it organic - cost of operation ? Etc . Are the technical aspects of running such a soilless greenhouses public, i.e. can they be accessed and recommended to be practised  in other regions. We would really want to try it here in Africa. Thanks again Azzama.

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On Behalf of Dr.M.Pandey et al-ICT System for Apple-Value Chain

On Behalf of Mukesh Pandey et al  Research Paper -ICT System for Increasing Efficiency of Apple-Value Chain.

Abstract.

Horticultural crops being high value crops are important in raising the incomes of the farmers besides creating employment opportunities. Apple is one of the most widely grown temperate fruit crops grown in Himalayas of Northern India. Almost all the apples grown in India come from its three mountainous states i.e. Himachal Pradesh, J&K and Uttarakhand. The supply chain of apples, which is one of the main temperate fruit crops of the Himachal Pradesh, is laden with inefficiencies across the entire value chain leading to poor price realization of growers on one hand  and exorbitant prices paid by consumers on the other. A major share of this consumer rupee goes to a miniscule number of market intermediaries who exploit the farmers due to poor marketing linkages, virtually non-existent cold chain infrastructure and processing facilities. The growers still follow the age old cultivation practices and have noidea of consumer needs and preferences, market prices,various government schemes, scientific agronomical practices especially agri-inputs, sources of timely and adequate credit availability and market linkages. The apple farmers of Himachal Pradesh suffer due to inadequate infrastructure especially cold chains, absence of demandforecasting and meagre value-addition. They also lack information on scientific cultivation practices, market prices, consumer preferences and market linkages.

The purpose of this research paper, as such, is to integrate the information platform for various stakeholders and design an ICT enabled apple supply chain that will benefit millions of apple growers, processors, distributors, dealers, exporters of fresh & processed apple products and above all consumers. The study will also provide an action plan to the policy makers and private players like HPMC and Adani thus creating spin-offs which will stimulate social, economical and sustainable development of India.

Full paper available here:

 

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Success stories on ICTs for Development

Thank you very much for the informative debate and also for the detailed case studies above. I have no specific examples of case studies, but l read recently on the Success Stories on Information Communication for Rural Development case studies, http://www.fao.org/3/a-i6733e.pdf .

Specifically l was intrigued by the Nano Ganesh Case study no 7 which is intto irrigation. This can be applied in horticultural settings especially in green houses which are under irrigation. There are more than 60,000 units installed in India, Nanp Ganesh equipment allow farmers to control and monitor water pumps by accessing them through a mobile phone.

Looking forward to learn more

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Why ICT for Irrigation is crucial element...?

In many countries, the heart of the economy is the agriculture income......the heart of the agriculture is appropriate inputs in which water is the crucial element. So, the water machinery is of prime importance to be connected to the farmers and the governing platforms. Here, ICT like Nano Ganesh plays an important role as an intelligent end device connected to the water machinery like pumps, water tanks, and sensors for control and monitoring purpose. It saves water, electricity, time, labor, fuel and prevents the soil minerals from diluting due to overwatering.

Please refer to the following presentation:

The use of Nano Ganesh ICT has two main purposes - 

1. A farmer can control and monitor the irrigation with the help of a mobile phone and free from the headache of frequent visits to the water machinery saving huge expenses on fuel and energy resources. His comfort level is increased and he can focus on to important farm activities

2. Data of irrigation made available to Cloud for analytics e.g. power consumed, pump on-off schedule, daily-monthly reports of the quantity of water, savings in electricity etc. This can be made available to farmers as well as government bodies and research organizations.

In a broader sense, Nano Ganesh ICT has been useful as a daily Agro tool for the farmers as well as a crucial device for Data analytics.

Worldwide there are so many intelligent software platforms available to provide different services to the farmers. The task of BIG data analytics, intelligent automation, reports etc. can be well done by these platforms provided they receive proper inputs from the field deployed ICTs. So, the successful and scalable deployment of ICT end devices connected to the farm machinery in the hazardous fields is a crucial factor in the overall success of ICT for the horticulture intensification.

There may be any type of crop or fruit production, the precise use of a single drop of water is a must. So, ICT role in Irrigation proves to be an essential factor and needs to be paid much importance in the agriculture policies.

 

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Videos and Horticulture

Production of Agriculture information and sharing it using appropriate technologies such as videos has the most pervasive influence on attitudes and opinions in contemporary life especially in this century. In 2015 the Video production team of National Smallholders Farmers Association of Malawi (NASFAM) went to film a smallholder farmer Eletina Cosmas working with her pigeon peas and maize. They hoped that by the end of the day they will have a farmer-training video to pass on to other farmers. Eletina lives in one of the most remote rural areas of Malawi in Kasungu district, where water is a borehole away and electricity is something never heard of. On a 2.5-acre farm, she grows pigeon peas, soya and maize. These food crops sustain Eletina and her children throughout the year. Right before the camera rolled Eletina seems to be confused and she asks “How do I get to watch this video after you are finished doing it?” Eletina like most of smallholder in Malawi farmers are constantly on look for right quality information, at right time and right medium. In Mulanje district 600 Kilometres away from Eletina, there is a farmer called Mr Matola who has harvested nine bags of rice and before that he used to harvest only three bags. Before planting rice, he watched rice videos five times on the phone with about seven people, including men, women and children. The Videos were produced in Bangladesh by the partners of Access Agriculture. http://www.agtube.org/en/content/rice-videos-phones

How information flows in Malawi?

As the volume of digital information expands, the need for its logical organization is critical for purposes of information retrieval, sharing and reuse. In a 2014 study we learned that the DJs in Malawi distribute movies and music videos to a large rural audience. The DJs are mostly young men who are based in small towns and put videos on people’s cell phones and on DVDs (Bentley et al. 2014, 2016) (http://www.agroinsight.com/blog/?p=581) . Following that scoping study, in 2015 Ronald Udedi distributed three DVDs in English, Chichewa and other Malawian languages to 95 DJs in southern Malawi.

The DVD compilations were:

• Rice Advice (11 video modules)

• Fighting Striga (10 video modules)

• Chilli (7 video modules)

These were DVDs compiled from videos that Access Agriculture curates on www.accessagriculture.org. Each DVD has a language menu, where viewers can select a language (e.g. English or Chichewa) and then select which videos they want to watch. In September 2016, Jeff Bentley and Udedi visited as many DJs as possible, of those who had received the DVDs, to learn about their experience. This was also the first study where we sought out farmers who had watched the videos distributed by the DJs. It was learnt that 21,800 rural people watched some Access Agriculture videos as a result of Udedi’s efforts to distribute DVDs to 95 DJs in 2015.

How do DJs distribute videos to farmers?

DJs are young men who run shops called “burning centres”. These DJs rip off DVDs of Malawian music videos, Agriculture videos, movies from Hollywood, Bollywood and even Nollywood and format them into 3gp. 3gp is a video format for phones. During market days the farmers visit burning centres. The farmers can get his or her memory card filled up with Access Agriculture films to watch on the phone. These phones are not smart phones but the basic GSM phones with memory card slot (http://www.agroinsight.com/blog/?p=592) . This is exactly how Mr Matola got hold of rice videos.

ICT and farmers

Extension through government and farmer organisations is good, but do not reach all farmers, and all extension officers require quality support tools to get the message across in a way that speaks to farmers Farmers watching videos on their cell phones seem to be an ideal solution to the challenges such as lack of TV screens, DVD players and electricity. Though farmers like Eletina can be off internet grid but through intermediaries like the DJs they are able to access to quality videos at a small cost. But to enable rural learning without a personal facilitator, the videos need to be in the local language. For further reading check out: http://ictupdate.cta.int/2016/10/01/shave-haircut-and-a-video/

About Access Agriculture

Access Agriculture is an international NGO based in Nairobi, Kenya. It showcases farmer to farmer training videos available for use as agricultural extension tools in cross cultural languages at www.accessagriculture.org. Audio files are available for use by radio stations. Dissemination is done by partners and organisations who realise the benefit of the videos to their members. Access Agriculture has strengthened partners’ capacities in producing farmer to farmer video training. Videos and promoting them across Africa further work may be done on improving the translation of videos into multiple languages.

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Big data for improving farm productivity

~Dear all,

Thanks to the organisers of this forum! Let me start by mentioning that, Worldwide- India is a top producer of fruits and vegetables, second only to China.  However, as demand for fruits and vegetables increase in India and beyond India,  mainly due to a change in  eating habits , there is a need to sustainably produce more fruits and  vegetables with less harm to the already depleted environment, if we are to  meet the required quantities without jeopardizing the future generation in doing the same. This discussion will indeed allow the exchange of the practices, tools and innovative technologies used in different places for intensifying production, as we embrace ICTs into sustainable intensification of crop production. Find below some of the cases, which have been done in India in an attempt to embrace ICTs into horticulture production.

A) BIG DATA FOR IMPROVING FARM PRODUCTIVITY

Farm productivity in India is one third to one half less than the world average. This is in part due to poor soil health. Soil analyses show the NPK (Nitrogen, Phosphorus, Potassium) ratio of Indian soils is significantly skewed in favour of N due to high usage of Urea. Developing farm-specific, data-driven diagnostics to determine soil health is a big opportunity area as well as biotechnological solutions to help improve soil health like soil amendments even in horticulture crop based systems. There are also a growing number of big data technologies aimed at improving the efficiency of farming and in supply chain such as drones, sensors, and other IoT technology, and data analytics to provide decision support to farmers and other players in the supply chain. CropIn (http://cropin.co.in) , AgRisk, AgNext , Skymet  www.skymetweather.com , Stellaps http://www.stellapps.com/ , and Airwood http://www.airwood.in/  are some of the examples that are working on this theme.

b) Market linkage models for Horticultural farmers
Indian agriculture is supply driven and less market-driven compared to other markets. This is the primary reason for seasonal food inflation as well as significant food waste and value loss along the supply chain. Though demand is becoming more predictable in India given the homogenization of consumption trends, supply is less predictable.

A farmer’s decision on which crop to plant each year is often driven by the price of that crop the previous year. Government policy in supporting the price for certain crops also plays a role in that decision. This presents an opportunity for developing market linkage models for farmers. This in turn could require innovations to help farmers with the timely and accurate estimation of sowing and harvesting in the context of patterns in consumer demand. The way forward will probably be hybrid models involving Big Data and Aggregation. Sabziwala, MeraKisan, Dehaat are some of the start-ups who have demonstrated successful aggregation in horticulture.

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Hurudza Case Study:Paprika Growers' Scheme 2016-17

Agricultural Reference Bureau

Value Chain Linkages Management

Background

When Zimbabweans talk about being into farming, the crops that spring to mind are typically; maize, sorghum, pearl millet, soya beans, wheat and tobacco, plus different types of livestock. On the horticulture side, one finds; onions, tomatoes, brassicas and peas. Not much is said about paprika, or “red gold”, as it is sometimes referred to. However, Zimbabwe’s climate is very well suited to growing high-quality paprika, as it is relatively drought resistant, and so has the potential to be a high-profit margin crop for both commercial and smallholder farmers alike.

The Makoni Paprika Growers’ Scheme was conceived in 2015 by African Farming Solutions (“AFS”) and Goodrich Analytix (“G-analytiX”) in order to fulfil an opportunity presented by AFS to sell paprika grown in Zimbabwe to an international buyer, Extractos Vegetales S.A. (“EVESA”), while improving the livelihoods of smallholder farmers. Under the scheme, AFS would provide the agronomic expertise while the farmers and other stakeholders would benefit from using a system, called aGrnomiX when applied to depending on the level of finance that could be attracted to support the scheme, up to 1,000 hectares of paprika could potentially be grown in the first season using good agronomic practices that would be implemented under the guidance of AFS in order to deliver an expected 5,000 tonnes of paprika.

In 2016, some 12 months after conception, the scheme was finally given life through Virl Rural & Social Financial Services (“Virl”) securing US$ 1.26 million in finance from the Zimbabwe Microfinance Fund (“ZMF”), as part of the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (“DFID”) US$ 72 million four-year Livelihood & Food Security Programme (“LFSP”), managed by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (“FAO”), which aims to; increase agricultural productivity, increase incomes, improve food and nutrition security, and reduce poverty in rural Zimbabwe.

The US$ 1.26 million funding, would enable 400 hectares of paprika to be grown by between 400 and 600 smallholder farmers organised into appropriate groups with large enough combined plots of contiguous land, such that the requisite agronomic practices needed in order to achieve the desired yields could be implemented.

Scheme Objectives

The Makoni Paprika Growers’ Scheme represents a quantum leap for smallholder farmers in the district. Many of the farmers being targeted and applying to participate in the scheme would not otherwise have qualified for the level of credit being provided for, nor have appropriate collateral, and equally would not have enjoyed the reduced interest rates and insurance premiums being charged under the scheme.

The scheme is built around a comprehensive package of; inputs, services and asset acquisitions at a cost of US$ 3,152.- per hectare that is designed to ensure the farmers graduate out of a cycle of subsistence farming and into a prosperous existence that improves livelihoods and food security. The funds are being lent through Virl to the farmers, unsecured, at an annual percentage rate (APR) of under 22%, which is typically half the rate microfinance institutions would charge and exceptional in terms of requiring no security from the farmer.

Based on 600 farmers participating, the average cost to the farmer would be US$ 2,659.- (loan plus interest).

The financing of agriculture in Zimbabwe, like many developing countries, particularly smallholder farming, faces significant challenges. One of the key difficulties is the lack of confidence in the other parties in the value chain. Lenders don’t have confidence in farmers. Farmers don’t have confidence in lenders. Suppliers of inputs don’t have confidence in either lenders or farmers. Off-takers / buyers don’t have confidence in farmers and vice-versa.

This lack of confidence typically manifests itself in the form of unrealistic collateral requirements and unsustainable interest rates that severely limit the opportunity for smallholder farmers to; either access finance at all, or do so at an affordable interest rate, that would allow them to climb out of the poverty-cycle of a subsistence existence.

aGrnomiX, the Agricultural Reference Bureau & Value Chain Linkages Management system designed and developed by G-analytiX, is an innovative system, combining technology and business models, that establishes, or re-establishes, trust in ring-fenced farming value chains.

In Zimbabwe, the aGrnomiX solution was marketed using the name Hurudza, meaning “super farmer” in Shona. By linking each stakeholder in the value chain and incentivising loyalty, visibility over the activities of each counterparty is increased and accountability improved. As a result, many of the risks associated with working with farmers, particularly smallholders, are mitigated and confidence is rebuilt.

In terms of the Makoni Paprika Growers’ Scheme, aGrnomiX performs two fundamental roles:

  • Firstly, aGrnomiX was used to assist with; the processing of farmer applications, the subsequent selection of those that represented the lowest risk and determining the amount of land, and therefore credit, that each farmer or farmer group would be offered as part of the scheme.
  • Secondly, during the life of the scheme, aGrnomiX is being used to record and help manage every physical, financial, virtual or intellectual transaction or movement of goods or services related to the scheme with regard to the stakeholders and participants in the value chain.

Farmer Selection

Over 1,000 applications representing over 1,000 hectares of land were processed using the aGrnomiX system. Each application form, designed in collaboration with Virl, comprised of circa 60 data points regarding the individual smallholder farmer and the group that they belonged to.

In conjunction with expert input from agronomists, G-analytiX developed a judgemental scorecard, to assess the risk level of each applicant. The final iteration of the scorecard implemented was based on seven key elements of information:

  • credit history
  • production history (quantitative)
  • Production history (qualitative)
  • Land usage characteristics

Initially, given the objective of maximising the positive social impact of the scheme, it was decided that the G-analytiX aGrnomiX score would no interestingly, the necessity of excluding about 20% of the farmers presented an opportunity, even before production had begun, to back-test the predictive nature of the aGrnomiX score in identifying suitable farmers by comparing the results from the two samples.

As can be seen in the distribution analysis, the aGrnomiX score was shown to be theoretically quite effective at predicting which applicants would have been suitable and, therefore, also efficient at optimising the use of the funds available.

If farmers with a score greater than the average, or mean, value and less than the 2nd standard deviation, i.e. excluding upper outliers, were selected then they would have made up the majority of those actually selected in practice.

The other observation that can be made is that the fatter tail on the distribution curve of the excluded farmers suggests that those who scored well in those groups may have actually embellished their applications as these scores make up a disproportionate percentage of the upper outliers.

Value Chain Management

Being able to manage the value chain and providing visibility to the stakeholders was an important prerequisite to achieving the confidence level required to secure the US$ 1.26 million funding for the scheme.

The scheme is based on a multi-tier structure. Funds are disbursed directly to the suppliers of inputs and services as aggregated bulk payments at the level of the scheme as a whole in order to take advantages of economies of scale and the negotiating power of large orders. However, the borrowing is based on individual lending under a group structure whereby each member of the group is jointly and severely liable for the total of the individuals’ loans within the group and scheme as a whole. Likewise, when the paprika is sold to the off-taker the individual contributions will be recorded and then consolidated at the group and scheme level.

The aGrnomiX system is able to establish the multi-tier structure and record; both the bulk transactions for inputs and services at the scheme level that need to be apportioned to the groups and individuals within each group, as well as the individual loans and outputs from production within the groups so that at each level it is possible to manage and report on the physical, financial, virtual (e.g. expected yield data from satellite monitoring) and intellectual (e.g. hours of mentoring received) positions or balances and query the transactions or movements that contributed to them.

For the off-taker, aGrnomiX facilitates the buying process by using the linkages established between individual farmers, each group and the scheme as a whole, to record the production outputs of each farmer in terms of the grade and quantity of paprika delivered and then aggregate at the scheme level to calculate and make the appropriate bulk payment(s) to the lender.

In the event that there is an insurance claim, aGrnomiX is also able to manage the insurance payment to the scheme and the proportional impact on the credit balance of each individual farmer in the scheme as well as record the specific details of the loss and claim against the individual farmer(s) and group(s) for future assessments and scoring purposes.

Conclusions

The Makoni Paprika Growers’ Scheme uses an implementation approach that dramatically improves the livelihoods of smallholder farmers by promoting a graduation model and transforming the style of farming from poverty-prolonging small-scale ways into poverty-alleviating commercial practices.

The implementation approach, combined with the aGrnomiX system and technology, addresses the key challenges of establishing confidence between the various parties in the value chain. Lenders can have confidence in farmers and mitigate the repayment risks. Farmers can have confidence in lenders and can access levels of finance at improved interest rates that would previously have been out of reach. Suppliers of inputs and services can have confidence in both lenders and farmers as disbursement of funds is direct to the source. 

Further information

Alan Goodrich

Managing Director

Tel: +263 (0)779043180

Skype: alangoodrich

alan@g-analytix.com

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World Vegetable Center: mobile survey tools for household garden

Deploying Vegtable Seed Kits to Tackle Malnutrition in Cambodia

World Vegetable Center in partnership with local collaborators have developed appropriate vegetable seed kits along with participatory training systems for the production of nutritious vegetables through home gardens. Significant attention has been focused on women as managers of home gardens and household diets through campaigns including nutrition awareness and sound household sanitation.

This is a USAID Feed the Future initiative with the objective of contributing to behaviour changes which reduce malnutrition especially of women and children, through diet diversification, by promoting the production and consumption of nutritious vegetables containing essential vitamins and micronutrients such as iron, folate and zinc, and vitamins A and C.

Successful use of ICT

The project has partnered with Akvo to utlize Akvo Flow as the survey tool of choice to monitor the training, technical assistance and uptake of technologies of agriculture and nutrition concepts by household garden project clients. 

In Year 1 (2016) over 1300 households took up improved agriculture and nutrition activities and were monitored through Akvo. This resulted in the accumulation of over 13,000 individual data records captured about client characteristics, training activities and importantly the technical assistance they received and sort from the project. 

Using this tool we were able to capture an enormous amount of data in a short period of time which allowed us to understand quickly what was the immediate situation in the field. One key example included the high demand from clients for technical assistance in IPM techniques and a low demand for continued assistance with garden bed preparation and variety selection. This immediate feedback enabled the project to adjust internal resources to focus more on IPM technical awareness, to quickly reflect requirements on the ground. A traditional paper based survey would not be so responsive.

This Immediate responsiveness is an example of what is needed in developing rural communities if horticulture is to be sustainably intensified for both nutrition and commercial purposes. Lessoned learned from Year 1 have led to an increased use of Akvo with more detailed monitoring to occur in Year 2 to quickly record and respond to garden production and nutrition issues as they occur. 

Upcoming open data approach

The project is committed to open data access for our project partners. With this in mind we are currently developing data cleaning, analysis and visualization resources primarily through R (RStudio and associated packages) for the stream of data that will flow in from regular field surveys by our project partners in Year 2. 

Our project partners will have access to "snapshots" of the data for their own immediate response strategies in the field and for longer term planning and reporting. These snapshots are being developed in R through the opensource web application data visualization framework called Shiny to provide our partners with interactive views of the collected data.

Too often data is hidden or inaccessable to the most important in-country project partners. The sustainabale intensification of horticulture in the developing world requires open access to data in a format that is accessible and timely to promote immmediate action rather than delayed responses when the issue at hand is often a rapidly evolving concept.

Further information:

Stuart Brown
Project Manager
World Vegetable Center
Email: stuart.brown@worldveg.org

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Deploying Vegtable Seed Kits to Tackle Malnutrition in Cambodia

Greetings to honorable Stuart Sir for your valuable Sharing, Open Data access to remove malnutrtion as well as increase public awareness,i think of seed collection matter from Growing  Food for Nine billion'

Plant Breeding Techniques and particularly modern biotechnology, have aroused public debates in the last decade. Yet,technology speaking ,relevant modern biotechnology has the potential to speedup the development of improved crops,which may increase yields,improve crop and food quality and or decrease crop losses,not only crops but also vegetables and its seed's Research & Development sector , BioTechnology would be more effective solution .

Once again thanks for valuable sharing and Best Regards.

 

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HORTIVAR database supporting Sustainable Crop Production Intensi

Information and Communication Technologies (ICT), in support of Sustainable Crop Production Intensification (SCPI) are a means to help people for easily accessing information and gaining knowledge to make SCPI happen, with information related to the different components of the value chain from site selection to marketing and consumption. Information and Communication Technologies can greatly facilitate the access to and exchange of information. It also enables people to extend their studies and broaden their knowledge. These technologies are also widely used as tools and processes that help people store and easily retrieve information including databases, smartphone applications, and thematic national, regional or global networks.

The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) uses a wide range of Information and Communications Technologies to provide open-source access to up-to-date information about hunger and malnutrition challenges and solutions.

In support of Sustainable Crop Production Intensification (SCPI), FAO launched HORTIVAR, a geo-referenced database on the agronomic performances of horticulture cultivars in different agro-climatic environments. It contains information about the cultivation of vegetables, roots & tubers, fruits, mushrooms, ornamentals and herbs and condiments. FAO manages and updates the software to meet users’ requirements. It is accessible Click here 

HORTIVAR contains information about horticultural crop cultivars, production and protection practices aiming to assist growers in making the appropriate cropping choices in a specific site and agro-ecological environment.

HORTIVAR also provides access to a network of individual scientists and growers who have contributed with horticulture production data uploaded in the database. It also provides easy access to seed sources worldwide. To date 90.000 entries (datasets) have been uploaded by 1354 individual partners and 76 partner institutions from all over the world.

In order to foster and facilitate the use of HORTIVAR by growers, traders and scientists, it is suggested to develop digital applications to better fulfil its role as an informative tool for horticultural practitioners, an initiative which is quite feasible reading from the contributions made so far.

By Wilfried Baudoin -Senior Agronomist /Horticulture Specialist- Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO)

 

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Spraying calibration web-app

Hi,

While working as a Production Research and Education Manager with the California Strawberry Commission I designed this simple web-app for sprayer calibration.  The code is written in R and it can be found here. In my experience, RStudio and Shiny are a great (and free) platform to create simple apps and visualizations.

The app can be accessed here or bit.do/calibrating.

Best,

Ariel Zajdband (ariel.zajdband@gmail.com)

 

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Re: Spraying calibration web-app

Thank you Ariel for your contribution

Do you have documentation of this app, have it been used somewhere. We would like to get also narrative of what it can do, so others learn about it?

Thembani Malapela ( On behalf of Moderators)

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Formation en W2.0 pour soutenir la production maraîchère dans le

Des exploitants horticoles Congolais apprennent à produire les légumes de qualité exigées par les supermarchés. Ils reçoivent ainsi des informations sur l’utilisation rationnelle des produits phytosanitaires, le compostage, les pratiques horticoles via diverses technologies de l'information et de la communication (TIC).

Quelques organisations dans le pays utilisent les TIC pour offrir aux agriculteurs des services de conseils en matière de climat ou de commercialisation. Ce sont entre autres CIAAD, CSAYN et CARITAS.

La Radio-rurale (RTNC), par exemple, en collaboration avec deux de ses partenaires du système de radiodiffusion, asoutien la production d’une série radiophonique interactive, chaque matin de 5h30-6h00.

L’objectif était d’aider les petits agriculteurs dans l’accès à l’information en temps réel sur l’agriculture et développement rural. La série radiophonique a renforcé les ateliers de formation organisés par les organisations de la société civile et les services spécialisés sur les bonnes pratiques agricoles.

Les séries de formation web.2, organisées par CSAYN et CIAAD ont présenté aux jeunes agriculteurs un certain nombre d’outils basés sur les TIC pour faciliter leur participation et leur engagement, à la fois avec les radiodiffuseurs et dans les échanges qu’ils ont entre eux. La valeur des NTIC

Le système interactif de réponse vocale est l’une des principales technologies participatives. Ce système permet aux maraîchers d’accéder à des messages et alertes importants, de réécouter certaines parties d’émissions radiodiffusées et d’enregistrer et partager des messages

Avec les stations de radio, tels les enseignements tirés de la mise en œuvre de nouvelles méthodes sur le terrain. Le CIAAD, offre des formations et des téléphones portables à des organisations sélectionnées d’agriculteurs, ce qui permet à leurs membres d’avoir accès à des informations vocales sur les cours du marché et les conditions météorologiques, entre autres, ainsi que des conseils en matière d’horticulture urbaine et périurbaine. Le contenu est fourni par le CIAAD, un organisme d’information sur les marchés ; il est alors enregistré par le CIAAD et envoyé aux stations de radio.

Clement-TENGE TENGE

Democratic Republic of the Congo

Centre d'Initiatives et d'Actions pour l'Auto-Développement " CIAAD"

SENAHUP '''

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Training in W2.0 to support vegetable production

(Translation provided by e-Agriculture team)

Congolese horticultural farmers learn how to produce quality vegetables required by supermarkets. They receive information on the rational use of plant protection products, composting and horticultural practices through various ICTs.

A few organizations in the country are using ICTs to provide farmers with climate or marketing advice. These include CIAAD, CSAYN and CARITAS.

The rural radio (RTNC), for example, in collaboration with two of its partners in the broadcasting system, supports the production of an interactive radio series, every morning from 5:30 am to 6:00 am.

 

The objective was to assist small farmers in accessing real-time information on agriculture and rural development. The radio series strengthened the training workshops organized by civil society organizations and specialized services on good agricultural practices.

The Web.2 training series organized by CSAYN and CIAAD presented young farmers with a number of ICT-based tools to facilitate their participation and involvement, both with radio-broadcasters and in the exchanges they have between them.

The interactive voice response system is one of the main participatory technologies. This system allows vegetable producers to access important messages and alerts, listen to parts of radio broadcasts and record and share messages with radio stations, such as lessons learned from the implementation of new methods in the field. CIAAD provides training and mobile phones to selected farmers' organizations, enabling their members to access voice information on market prices and weather conditions, and advice urban and peri-urban horticulture. Content is provided by CIAAD, a market information agency. It is then recorded by the CIAAD and sent to the radio stations.

Clement-TENGE TENGE

Democratic Republic of the Congo

Center for Initiatives and Actions for Self-Development "CIAAD"

SENAHUP '' '

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Des paniers horticoles " PPI" pour nourrir la ville

Contexte de l’expérience dans lequel les innovations ont été développées Dans le cadre de la promotion des bonnes pratiques horticoles « produire plus avec moins », le CIAAD, soutien Les potagers familiaux (Groupe des ménages de jardin parcellaire pour accroître la consommation de fruits et légumes). Ensemble, ils proposent un nouveau mode de commercialisation mettant directement en contact les maraîchers parcellaires et les consommateurs du quartier et communes voisines, évitant ainsi les intermédiaires. Les contrats de vente directe entre les maraîchers pratiquant la production et protection intégrée(PPI) et les consommateurs s’inspirent de l’expérience du projet FAO GCP/DRC/028/BEL. . Quels types de changements ont été apportés par les innovations via NTIC ?

Le contrat, via un préfinancement de cycle de production de maraîchère, sécurise les revenus de femmes chef de ménages. Celles-ci disposent ainsi d’une visibilité mensuelle et d’une faible incertitude de marché, puisque les prix d’achat des légumes avec label PPI sont garantis et sont supérieurs aux prix de marché du quartier.

Cette approche renverse ainsi l’image traditionnelle de la femme maraîchère disposant d’un faible pouvoir de négociation, dans une chaîne alimentaire composée de nombreux intermédiaires captant l’essentiel de la valeur ajoutée au détriment des producteurs. Ce modèle économique plus équitable permet une meilleure valorisation des produits frais proposés. Les consommateurs ont quant à eux accès à des fruits et légumes « labellisés » PPI, dont ils connaissent le producteur. Le mode de production PPI répond à une demande croissante des consommateurs urbains Kinois, qui dénoncent les mauvaises utilisations des produits chimiques dans les sites maraîchers de la capitale Kinshasa, et soucieux de leur santé et de la protection de l’environnement. Il évite le recours à des pesticides et autres herbicides coûteux et dangereux aussi pour les producteurs. Grâce à des formations qualifiantes et à l’accès aux innovations techniques/technologiques appropriées via les téléphones mobiles, les maraîchers ciblés ont ainsi adopté des techniques alternatives de lutte contre les ravageurs et de fertilisation (bio pesticides, compostage des déchets ménagers, culture hors sol, etc.), Un système de certification, associant producteurs et consommateurs urbains (CPCU), est actuellement en cours de mise en œuvre attestant le label PPI des produits écoulés.

De plus, les légumes de l’horticulture intelligente sont moins chers que ceux proposés sur les principaux marchés de Kinshasa et qui eux ne sont pas cultivé en mode PPI.

Principaux résultats •50 familles de consommateurs PPI sont affiliées au CIAAD dans les communes de Mont Ngafula, Lemba et Mbinza-UPN, dont 3 couvent de Religieux. •2 5 Maraîchères, dont 15 femmes, ont pu préfinancer leur production et augmenter leurs recettes de 10 à 20 % •5 postes d’ouvriers horticoles et 3 emplois créés dans la distribution •Chaque mois, près de 100 kg de légumes et fruits sont commercialisées dans 3 points de vente de produits horticoles. Types d’innovation principaux : • Organisationnel : - contractualisation directe producteurs / consommateurs • système de certification participative des produits biologiques en cours de mise en œuvre, associant producteurs et consommateurs • Institutionnel : - partenariat entre le et l’institut de le Centre de Recherche et de communication en Développement Durable • Social : - implication active des consommateurs dans la chaîne alimentaire • Financière : - préfinancement de cycle de production maraîchère par les consommateurs

Description des processus vecteurs d’innovations « NTIC » formation Web 2.0 En 2015, cinq facilitateurs endogènes du CIAAD étaient formés à l’horticulture intelligence, NTIC et aux circuits courts de commercialisation sur les marchés de quartiers, lors d’un atelier de capitalisation des acquis du projet HUP-FAO organisé par le Consultant Expert en Horticulture : Clément TENGE TENGE.

Ils ont été initiés à la production et utilisation du compost et ont appris les bonnes pratiques de production horticoles durables, avec application des outils de NTIC pour l’échange des informations et innovations technologiques. Grâce aux échanges d’expériences et de connaissances un groupe des ménages de potagers parcellaires a ainsi émergé dans les quartiers Kindele, Kimbondo et Ngansele dans la commune urbano rurale de Mont Ngafula.

Si à l’origine, les GMPP se constituent pour la promotion de la consommation des légumes dans les ménages, aujourd’hui à la demande des consommateurs avertis sollicitent un partenariat auprès des potagers parcellaires de proximité afin de consommer qualité. Et, dans la phase actuelle, ce sont les femmes maraîchères et le CIAAD qui ont proposé la mise en place de paniers horticoles, en vue de commercialiser des produits PPI à des prix raisonnables pour les consommateurs, tout en assurant une rémunération équitable des femmes maraîchères, en évitant les intermédiaires.

Ce circuit court de commercialisation repose sur un engagement réciproque entre producteurs et consommateurs, formalisé par un contrat renouvelable d’une durée de 6 mois. Tandis que les maraîchers peuvent financer plus facilement leur production et s’assurent un débouché stable et régulier, les consommateurs s’engagent à préfinancer la production en connaissant à l’avance la provenance et les conditions de production, tout en bénéficiant, de produits de qualité à des prix très compétitifs. Par ailleurs, le système participatif de garantie du mode de production PPI constitue un dispositif innovant grâce aux applications des outils de la NTIC, et à l’implication des consommateurs.

Pour diversifier leurs paniers de produits, les femmes maraîchères ont noué des relations avec l’Association des revendeurs de fruits horticoles, afin de proposer un approvisionnement de fruits frais. Complétant les besoins de portions « fruit-légume » des consommateurs, les femmes vendent également vend également des épices, des produits horticoles transformés, notamment des confitures et des jus de fruits locaux (ananas, papaye, goyave, citron, etc.).

Principaux acteurs impliqués

Acteurs Statut Rôles Contribution CIAAD ONGD Fondateur de l’AMAP Organise des parcours de formations qualifiantes pour les ménages et potagers familiales. Promeut la consommation des fruits et légumes, la production horticole et les circuits commercialisation de proximité à travers les partenariats locaux solidaires Ménagers Producteurs jardins potagers parcellaires Producteurs Produits fournit les produits labélisés PPI Adoptent des pratiques bonnes durables de production et utilisent les outils et applications NTIC Consommateurs Kinois Individus/familles Client partenaire des producteurs Préfinancement de la production horticole Dotation des parcelles non battues de terres pour le maraîchage Participation à la mise en œuvre de la promotion de consommation de fruits et légumes. CERED Centre de Recherche et de communication pour le Développement durable Appui à la certification participative Apporte un appui technique et méthodologique sur le processus de certification.

Défis L’expérience pilote du CIAAD fonctionne bien et doit faire face à une forte demande urbaine. L’augmentation de l’offre des légumes PPI est tributaire des facteurs de production disponibles, l’accès au foncier sécurisé constituant un frein important à son essor. Particulière sur les sites maraîchers de Kimwenza, Funa Campus qui sont actuellement occupés par des constructions anarchiques, non résilientes aux changements climatiques. Parallèlement, la formation des futurs ménages potagers sur les bonnes pratiques horticoles et les applications de la NTIC en maraîchage et au circuit de distribution contractuel et concerté de type CIAAD revêt un caractère stratégique, d’où le CIAAD, sollicite l’appui de la FAO pour soutenir un projet de formations qualifiantes. Enfin, la maîtrise des outils et applications de la NTIC dans un système de communication participatif opérationnel garanti est essentielle pour assurer la durabilité des acquis.

Facteurs favorables Obstacles à surmonter Ménages et femmes maraîchères volontaires pour adopter des bonnes pratiques agro écologiques (après la prise de conscience des problèmes de santé causés par les pesticides) Insécurité foncière pour les terres de maraîchage Forte demande des consommateurs urbains Insuffisance des points de distribution Formations des producteurs dispensées par l’ONG CIAAD (ancien bénéficiaire du projet FAO-HUP-RD Congo) Absence de centre de formation continue pour les jeunes et futurs ménages potagers familiaux maraîchers

Changement d’échelle Le CIAAD en RD Congo illustre le transfert d’une innovation organisationnelle concernant la mise en marché de produits horticoles de qualités dans le cadre d’un système de transfert des innovations techniques et technologiques grâces aux applications de la NTIC. Cette innovation est en phase de vulgarisation à grande échelle dans les principales agglomérations urbaines du pays, dans l’optique de Développement des Villes plus Vertes en RD Congo

Cette adoption des applications de la NTIC s’en distingue toutefois par un pilotage plus orienté depuis les jardins potagers familiaux. Généralement présenté comme un moyen d’initier les plus jeunes en famille, et d’encourager l’utilisation accrue de fruits et légumes dans les repas journaliers. Le CIAAD cherche à rendre accessible au plus grand nombre des ménages urbains dans les quartiers défavorisés de la capitale.

Principaux enseignements Ce système organisé de paniers de fruits et légumes PPI permet de revaloriser le métier de producteurs horticoles dans une ville où il est généralement synonyme de déclassement social. L’horticulture constitue un vivier potentiel d’emplois pour reclasser les jeunes. Au-delà de l’échange de denrées alimentaire, le CIAAD a innové en mettant en place un commerce équitable de type participatif, les consommateurs se portant acquéreurs de terres destinées au maraîchage. Enfin, cette expérience propose un nouveau système d’innovation et connaissance agricoles où prennent part des acteurs professionnels, institutionnels et associatifs, en particulier avec les consommateurs impliqués dans la NTIC.

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IPP horticultural baskets to feed the city
 (Translation to English provided by e-Agricuture Team)
 
Context of the experience in which innovations have been developed 
 
In the context of promoting good horticultural practices "producing more with less", the CIAAD, supports family gardens (groups of small gardens from households to increase fruit and vegetable consumption). Together, they propose a new mode of marketing directly bringing together the market gardeners and the consumers of the neighborhood and neighboring communes, thus avoiding intermediaries. Direct sales contracts between market gardeners practicing production and integrated pest management (IPP) and consumers are based on the experience of the FAO GCP / DRC / 028 / BEL project.
 
What kinds of changes have been brought about by innovations via NICT?
 
The contract, via pre-financing of market gardening production cycles, secures the incomes of women heads of households. They thus have a monthly visibility and low market uncertainty, since the purchase prices of vegetables with IPP label are guaranteed and are higher than the market prices of the neighborhood.
 
This approach reverses the traditional image of the market gardener with low bargaining power in a food chain composed of many intermediaries who capture most of the value added at the expense of producers. This more equitable economic model allows a better valorisation of the fresh products proposed. Consumers have access to "labeled" fruits and vegetables, of which they know the producer. The IPP mode of production responds to a growing demand from urban consumers in Kinshasa, who denounce the bad uses of chemicals in the market gardens of the capital Kinshasa, and are concerned about their health and the protection of the environment. It avoids the use of pesticides and other herbicides that are costly and dangerous for producers. Through qualified training and access to appropriate technical / technological innovations via mobile phones, targeted vegetable producers have adopted alternative pest management and fertilization techniques (bio-pesticides, composting of household waste, above-ground cultivation , etc.). A certification system, involving urban producers and consumers (CPCU), is currently being implemented, attesting to the IPP label of the products sold.
 
In addition, vegetables from intelligent horticulture are cheaper than those offered in the main markets of Kinshasa and are not grown in IPP mode.
Main results: 
 
•  50 families of IPP consumers are affiliated to the CIAAD in the communes of Mont Ngafula, Lemba and Mbinza-UPN, including 3 religious convents 
• 25 vegetable producers, including 15 women, were able to pre-finance their production and increase their income by 10 to 20%
• 5 horticultural workers and 3 jobs created in the distribution
• Each month, nearly 100 kg of vegetables and fruit are sold in 3 horticultural outlets. 
 
Main types of innovation:
• Organizational: - direct contracting between producers and consumers
• Participatory certification system for organic products under implementation, involving producers and consumers
• Institutional: - partnership between the Institute and the Center for Research and Communication in Sustainable Development
• Social: - active involvement of consumers in the food chain 
• Financial: - prefinancing of the vegetable production cycle by consumers
 
Description of the "NIC" innovations
Web 2.0 Training
 
By 2015, five CIAAD facilitators were trained in intelligence horticulture, NICT and short marketing channels in neighborhood markets, at a workshop to capitalize on the achievements of the HUP-FAO project organized by the Consultant Expert in Horticulture : Clément TENGE TENGE.
 
They were introduced to the production and use of compost and learned good sustainable horticultural production practices, with the application of ICT tools for the exchange of information and technological innovations. Thanks to the exchange of experiences and knowledge, a group of households of partial gardens emerged in the Kindele, Kimbondo and Ngansele districts in the urban commune of Mont Ngafula.
 
Although GMPPs were originally set up to promote the consumption of vegetables in households, today, at the request of informed consumers, they are seeking a partnership with local plots of vegetable plots to consume quality. And in the current phase, market gardeners and CIAAD have proposed the establishment of horticultural baskets, with a view to marketing IPP products at reasonable prices for consumers while ensuring equitable remuneration for market gardeners, avoiding the intermediaries.
 
This short marketing circuit is based on a reciprocal commitment between producers and consumers, formalized by a renewable contract lasting 6 months. While market gardeners can finance their production more easily and ensure a stable and regular outlet, consumers undertake to pre-finance production by knowing in advance the provenance and production conditions while benefiting from quality at very competitive prices. Moreover, the participatory guarantee system for the IPP production mode is an innovative device thanks to the applications of the ICT tools, and the involvement of consumers.
 
To diversify their product baskets, market gardeners have established a relationship with the Horticultural Fruit Resellers Association to provide a supply of fresh fruit. Supplementing the needs of "fruit-vegetable" portions of consumers, women also sell spices, processed horticultural products, including jams and local fruit juices (pineapple, papaya, guava, lemon, etc.).
 
Key players involved
 
Actors Status Roles Contribution : CIAAD ONGD Founder of AMAP organizes courses and training for family households and gardens, promotes fruit and vegetable consumption, horticultural production and local marketing channels through solidarity-based local partnerships.
Households Producers partial plot gardens Producers Products provides IPP-labeled products, adopt good sustainable production practices and use tools and ICT applications
Consumers Kinois Individuals / families Client partner of producers Prefinancing of horticultural production Endowment of unburned plots of land for market gardening 
Participation in the implementation of the promotion of fruit and vegetable consumption. 
CERED Center for Research and Communication for Sustainable Development: Support for participatory certification Provides technical and methodological support on the certification process.
 
Challenges 
 
The pilot experience of CIAAD works well and faces strong urban demand. The increase in the supply of IPP vegetables depends on the factors of production available, access to secured land constituting a major obstacle to its development, particularly on the market gardens of Kimwenza, Funa Campus which are currently occupied by anarchic constructions, not resilient to climate change. At the same time, the training of future kitchen garden households on good horticultural practices and the applications of ICTs in market gardening and the contractual and concerted distribution system of the CIAAD type is of a strategic nature, hence the CIAAD, seeks the support of the FAO to support a qualifying training project. Finally, mastering the tools and applications of ICTs in a guaranteed operational, participatory communication system is essential to ensure the sustainability of the achievements.
 
Obstacles to overcome 
 
Voluntary households and market gardening to adopt good agro-ecological practices (after awareness of pesticide-related health problems) 
Land insecurity for market gardening 
Strong demand from urban consumers and insufficient distribution points Training Of the producers provided by the NGO CIAAD (former beneficiary of the FAO-HUP-DR Congo project)
Lack of a continuing education center for young and future household gardeners
 
Upscaling of the activities
 
The CIAAD in DR Congo illustrates the transfer of an organizational innovation concerning the marketing of quality horticultural products within the framework of a system for transferring technological and technological innovations thanks to ICT applications. This innovation is being widely disseminated in the main urban agglomerations in the country, with a view to developing Greener Cities in DR Congo.
 
This adoption of the applications of the ICTs differs, however, by a more oriented steering from the family kitchen gardens. Generally presented as a way to introduce the younger family, and encourage the increased use of fruits and vegetables in daily meals. The CIAAD seeks to make accessible to the largest number of urban households in the disadvantaged neighborhoods of the capital.
 
Main lessons learned 
 
This organized system of IPP fruit and vegetable baskets enables us to upgrade the horticultural industry in a city where it is generally synonymous with social decline. Horticulture is a potential source of employment for the upgrading of young people. Beyond the exchange of food, CIAAD has innovated by setting up a fair trade of participatory type, consumers buying land destined for market gardening. Finally, this experiment proposes a new system of agricultural innovation and knowledge in which professional, institutional and associative actors participate, in particular the consumers involved in the ICTs.
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Geodata to control potato late blight in Bangladesh (GEOPOTATO)

Late blight (Phytophthora infestans) is the most common and highly destructive, fungal disease in potato, tomato and other solanaceae crops in Bangladesh. Annual potato yield losses due to late blight have been estimated at 25-57%.

Late blight can be controlled but only by frequent and costly applications of fungicides. Moreover, the degree of control heavily depends on the timing of the fungicide application in relation to local weather conditions, crop development and disease pressure. So, the efficiency of late blight control can be improved considerably by informing farmers in time about predicted infection periods of the potato crop and the effectiveness of past spray applications.

GEOPOTATO will develop and implement a decision support service (DSS) in Bangladesh for an optimal control strategy of late blight in potato. The DSS will provide farmers with preventive spray advice when a late blight infection period is predicted to occur. The DSS also evaluates past sprays, which may result in curative spray advice when, despite past sprays, infection is likely to have occurred in the past few days.

Information based upon satellite data and using various models are important aspects of the DSS, which continuously measures and forecasts weather and biomass growth of potato crops in relation to the late blight disease cycle. The DSS evaluates this information to provide farmers with a timely spray advice.

Target user group

GEOPOTATO aims at becoming the preferred agricultural advice service for over 750,000 small farmers in Bangladesh that grow potatoes on 450,000 ha in the dry winter season.

Business proposition

The late blight alert service will be provided on a subscription base to farmers, through SMS or voicemail during the potato growing season. Expected farmer benefits range between 100 and 250 Euro per hectare - depending on the farmers’ current agricultural management and disease control.

Partnership

The GEOPOTATO consortium consists of seven public and private organisations, each with their own expertise:

  • Agriculture Information Service (Bangladesh): Farmer groups and ICT solutions for farmers
  • Bangladesh Centre for Advanced Studies (Bangladesh):Remote sensing and GIS
  • ICCO-Cooperation (Bangladesh): Farm business groups and development
  • mPower (Bangladesh): Data integration and mobile communication
  • TerraSphere (Netherlands): Remote sensing and GIS
  • Wageningen University (Netherlands): weather forecasting, late blight risk model and crop growth mode

Lead contact : Wageningen University and research , Huib Hengsdijk and  JOOst van Uum

 

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Forum Closure: ICTs in the horticulture crop based systems

Dear Participants,

The online discussion on, “The role of Information and communication technologies (ICTs) in the Sustainable Intensification of Crop Production (SCPI)” has officially ended.

This has been a very fascinating discussion, looking at the intriguing, qualitative and insightful contributions from all of you. The sharp increase in the number of people joining the e-Agriculture platform over the course of the three weeks as well as the remarkable enthusiasm, with which you discussed the various issues put in evidence the significant role of ICTs in sustainable intensification of horticulture crop-based systems.

Indeed, reading from your contributions, there has been many ICTs in use and many more will emerge, all adapted to different contexts, scale and cropping systems. This shows us that we cannot have “a one size fit all solution” for all the issues in the sustainable intensification of horticulture crop systems. Quite a number of you agreed that, to increase horticultural production sustainably there is an need of embracing ICTs, as it offers and promises a multitude of advantages towards achieving our global goal, ending hunger by sustainable intensification of crop production, amidst of the changing climate.

We received a total number of 75 contributions from participants from the following countries: Argentina, Australia, Bangladesh, Benin, Cambodia, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ghana, India, Indonesia, Iran, Italy, Kenya, Malawi, Namibia, Netherlands, Nigeria, Philippines, South Africa, Tanzania, Togo, Trinidad and Tobago and Vietnam.

Below you can find the short summaries from each week for those who had no time to follow the entire discussion.

Discussion Week Summary of discussion
Week 1 ( The role of ICTs in horticulture) Read here
Week 2 (ICT case studies in horticulture)  Read here
Week 3 (Challenges for ICTs adoption in horticulture) Read here
  • All the contributions received have been archived and remain accessible here.
  • For a short overview of the cases shared during this forum you can read here

On behalf of the moderating team, allow me to express our gratitude once again to all who actively participated in this forum. Thank you for your time, your dedication and efforts to share your experiences with the Community of Practice. We hope you have also learnt a lot from the discussions.

We look forward to welcome you all in future online discussions.

With best wishes,

Forum Moderators

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