logo mobile

e-Agriculture mobile logo

Question 1: ICTs for collecting agricultural, socio-economic, or M&E data (Open 11 June)

70 posts / 0 new
Last post
e-Agriculture's picture
Offline
Last seen: 3 months 1 week ago
Joined: 12/08/2010 - 13:04
Question 1: ICTs for collecting agricultural, socio-economic, or M&E data (Open 11 June)

 Question 1: Collecting data the conventional way (through paper and pen) is time-consuming, costly, and difficult to manage. However, digitization and increases in connectivity have created opportunities to improve these processes.

What types of ICT applications or devices are available for collecting agricultural, socio-economic, or M&E data in remote locations? How can you use them?

 

To receive notifications of new posts in this forum, or to post a reply directly from your email, you need to simply click under "Account" > "Notifications" > "Create a new subscription" > "Content type" > "Forum topic". For any questions contact info@e-agriculture.org 

creichart's picture
Offline
Last seen: 5 years 6 days ago
Joined: 02/06/2012 - 06:31
ICT applications or devices are available for collecting agricul

With a focus on disconnected data collection and the ability to capture robust data (smart option lists, photo, audio etc.), we have seen some very cost effective and successful solutions being used by our iFormBuilder users.  While most would think of the iPad, iPhone or Android device as the best tool to capture this type of a data, a common setup is an iPod touch with a dual XGPS 150 to collect accurate GPS data along with each record captured.  The ability to capture multiple records in the field and sync when there is connectivity has worked well for many.

For situations that find users in ultra-disconnected environments for longer periods of times we have found the need to offer a local cloud solution to allow field users to sync data real-time while allowing the data to be assessed and processed locally. The local cloud device can then be taken to a location with connectivity after the project is completed to upload the data to the cloud. This is becoming an effective way to capture good data in a disconnected world that many of our users find themselves in.

eijapehu's picture
Offline
Last seen: 4 years 1 month ago
Joined: 30/11/2011 - 13:52
Could you give a special

Could you give a special example of the iPod solution you mention? Where, what type of data collected, and links or reports available?

More generally, have you or others come across a review of different options for data collection, pros and cons, costs, contexts where they would work best?

 

odashevs's picture
Offline
Last seen: 5 years 1 week ago
Joined: 11/06/2012 - 03:25
Use of iPod devices

We using iPod devices in Central African Republic for managing Seed Fairs. Part of our silution also using barcoded ID cards for Beneficiaries tracking and voucher tracking. One of the improvements that we got from using this solution is a)Reduced time to conduct Seed Fair. It used to take us six hours per Seed Fair and we managed to reduce it to 3.5 hours b)Resources (Staff) its takes to manage Seed Fair.

bkaddom's picture
Offline
Last seen: 1 year 10 months ago
Joined: 07/12/2009 - 22:49
Some review here:

@eijapehu: They look old but will still give some idea -:)

Mobile Phone for Data Collection: Mobile Active - This is 2009

Comparing Mobile Data Collection Tools: Mobile Active - This is 2010

Ben

rob_kib's picture
Offline
Last seen: 1 week 7 hours ago
Joined: 08/12/2009 - 12:05
@creichart

 Thank you for sharing this information. May I know how much that ipod touch costs. Still, such modern gadgets are expesive for we organizations operating in rural communities. Further, they are not at our reach most of the time and accessing a genuine. Also, we lack basic training on how to use them. How do you ensure the elimination of the current challenges mentioned of above among others?

creichart's picture
Offline
Last seen: 5 years 6 days ago
Joined: 02/06/2012 - 06:31
Device selection

Choosing the right device for the your project is an important decision and a major part of the decision is usability.  We have received consistant feedback on the ease of use and low learning curve of using Apple devices.  Many field users have never used the technology before and the intuitive interface has been a major reason the iPod touch and iPad have been the choice for projects requiring more robust data collection. A feature of our platform is an attachment element that allows PDF, .mov or .m4v files to be stored locally on the device after the intitial sync.  This allows for detailed instruction documents or instructional videos to be included in the form itself with or without connectivity leading to higher quality and more consistant data. 

The newest iPod touch can be purchased for under $170 from the refurbished store and 2nd and 3rd gen devices can be found for even less.  We have had customers try to leverage cheaper devices, but bad visibility in the sun, limited capabilities including usability and limited battery life have been common issues, and the fact that you don't need a data plan is also a factor in choosing an iPod touch or an iPad.  

We have chosen to build a native client vs a web based client to take full advantage of the device capabilites and if you require robust data capture including photo capture, audio capture, signature capture and complex logic with no depenability on a live connection while in the field we have seen great success leveraging the iPod touch or iPad.  If your project requires simple data collection I agree there are many other devices that are more cost effective and the ability to leverage SMS may be the ticket, but if you need to go beyond web forms and sms for more detailed data collection, emerging devices like the iPod touch are worth the additonal cost.

rob_kib's picture
Offline
Last seen: 1 week 7 hours ago
Joined: 08/12/2009 - 12:05
Re: [e-Agriculture] Question 1: ICTs for collecting agricultural
Thank you @creichart for these details and all the explanation. If possible, you share with me some of your fieldwork while working with these ipod touch. Also, can one be able to collect coordinates with this kind of technology for use on google maps, etc. Surely, I need to read more on these ipod touch and if you have more information on them I request you to share it with me. Thank you and looking forward to hear from you soon Robert   IF GOD IS WITH US, WHO CAN BE AGAINST US?! BE FAITHFUL UP TO THE END GOD BLESS U         Organization  Network  Bees  Who I am  Gospel  World Campus  ABaCoDe  Peace and Conflict              Blog   Organization Twitter   Personal Twitter   Personal Facebook   Organization Facebook ________________________________ Fr
creichart's picture
Offline
Last seen: 5 years 6 days ago
Joined: 02/06/2012 - 06:31
Re: [e-Agriculture] Question 1: ICTs for collecting agricultural

Hi @rob_kib  You may have seen these in my other post, but there are some great detailed use cases from the CRS ICT4D Event (http://www.crsprogramquality.org/ict4d-2012/).  Particularly The CAR Seed Fair and the KAP Malaria presentations from the Day 2 which show detailed architecture used for the projects. 

Location data is captured with each record and many clients using iPod touch's leverging an external GPS device like a Dual XGPS150.  If you have a connected device with GPS capabilites, locatation data is captured with each record by default.

rob_kib's picture
Offline
Last seen: 1 week 7 hours ago
Joined: 08/12/2009 - 12:05
Re: [e-Agriculture] Question 1: ICTs for collecting agricultural

<html><body><div style="color:#000; background-color:#fff; font-family:garamond, new york, times, serif;font-size:14pt"><div><span>Thank you @creichart for these details and all the explanation. If possible, you share with me some of your fieldwork while working with these ipod touch. Also, can one be able to collect coordinates with this kind of technology for use on google maps, etc. Surely, I need to read more on these ipod touch and if you have more information on them I request you to share it with me.</span></div><div><span></span></div><div><span>Thank you and looking forward to hear from you soon</span></div><div><span><br></span></div><div><span>Robert</span></div><div>&nbsp;</div><div><div style="line-height: normal; font-family: times, serif; " class="yui_3_2_0_2_132283496288846"><font class="Apple-style-span" color="#0000bf" size="2"><b><br></b></font></div><div style="line-height: normal; color: rgb(0, 0, 191); font-size: 13px;
background-color: transparent; font-style: normal; font-family: times, serif; "><font class="Apple-style-span" face="garamond, 'new york', times, serif" size="2"><span class="yui_3_2_0_15_132282909887164" style="font-weight: bold; color: rgb(0, 0, 191); font-family: times, serif; ">IF GOD IS WITH US, WHO CAN BE AGAINST US?!&nbsp;</span><span class="yui_3_2_0_15_132282909887168" style="font-weight: bold; color: rgb(0, 0, 191); font-family: times, serif; ">BE FAITHFUL UP TO THE END&nbsp;</span><span class="yui_3_2_0_15_132282909887172" style="font-weight: bold; color: rgb(0, 0, 191); font-family: times, serif; ">GOD BLESS U</span></font><br><font class="Apple-style-span" size="2">&nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp;&nbsp;<a rel="nofollow" target="_blank" href="http://krcdevorg.weebly.com/index.html">Organization</a>&nbsp;&nbsp;<font class="Apple-style-span"><a rel="nofollow" target="_blank"
href="http://ruralorganizationsnetwork.webs.com/">Network</a>&nbsp;</font>&nbs... rel="nofollow" target="_blank" href="http://www.nzac.co.nz/index.asp?PageID=2145823827"><font class="Apple-style-span">Bees</font></a>&nbsp;&nbsp;<font class="Apple-style-span"><a rel="nofollow" target="_blank" href="http://kevan.org/johari?name=rob_kib">Who I am</a>&nbsp;&nbsp;<font class="Apple-style-span"><a rel="nofollow" target="_blank" href="http://www.jacksequeira.org/">Gospel</a>&nbsp;&nbsp;<font class="Apple-style-span"><a rel="nofollow" target="_blank" href="http://www.worldcampus.org/">World Campus</a>&nbsp;&nbsp;<font class="Apple-style-span"><a rel="nofollow" target="_blank" href="http://www.abacode.org/">ABaCoDe</a>&nbsp;&nbsp;<a rel="nofollow" target="_blank" href="http://www.internationalpeaceandconflict.org/"><font class="Apple-style-span">Peace and Conflict</font></a>&nbsp;</font></font></font></font></font></div><div class="yui_3_2_0_15_132282909887158"
style="line-height: normal; font-family: times, serif; "><font class="Apple-style-span" size="2">&nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp;&nbsp;<a rel="nofollow" target="_blank" href="http://ruralafricafacts.wordpress.com/">Blog</a>&nbsp; &nbsp;<font class="Apple-style-span"><a rel="nofollow" target="_blank" href="https://twitter.com/?iid=am-136815635413228141704961025&amp;amp;nid=23+s... Twitter</a>&nbsp; &nbsp;<font class="Apple-style-span"><a rel="nofollow" target="_blank" href="https://twitter.com/?lang=en&amp;amp;logged_out=1#!/rob_kib">Personal Twitter</a>&nbsp; &nbsp;<font class="Apple-style-span"><a rel="nofollow" target="_blank" href="http://www.facebook.com/robkib">Personal Facebook</a>&nbsp; &nbsp;<a rel="nofollow" target="_blank" href="http://www.facebook.com/kruralcommunitiesdevorg"><font class="Apple-style-span">Organization
Facebook</font></a></font></font></font></font></div></div><div><br></div> <div style="font-size: 14pt; font-family: garamond, 'new york', times, serif; "> <div style="font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'times new roman', 'new york', times, serif; "> <div dir="ltr"> <font size="2" face="Arial"> <hr size="1"> <b><span style="font-weight:bold;">From:</span></b> "info@e-agriculture.org" &lt;info@e-agriculture.org&gt;<br> <b><span style="font-weight: bold;">To:</span></b> rob_kib &lt;rob_kib@yahoo.com&gt; <br> <b><span style="font-weight: bold;">Sent:</span></b> Wednesday, June 13, 2012 7:00 AM<br> <b><span style="font-weight: bold;">Subject:</span></b> Re: [e-Agriculture] Question 1: ICTs for collecting agricultural,
socio-economic, or M&amp;E data (Open 11 June)<br> </font> </div> <br>
<div id="yiv1569532114">

<div>
<div id="yiv1569532114center" style="border-bottom:0!important;border-top:0!important;">
<div id="yiv1569532114main" style="border-bottom:0!important;border-top:0!important;margin-top:0px!important;margin-left:0px!important;padding-top:30px;padding-left:50px;padding-right:50px;background:no-repeat scroll center top #FFFFFF;color:#000;background-color:transparent;background-image:none;">
<div style="margin: 10px 0px 0.9em; border-bottom-width: 0px !important; border-top-width: 0px !important; font-size: 1em; font-family: verdana; "

jolash's picture
Offline
Last seen: 5 years 5 days ago
Joined: 15/06/2012 - 16:05
Hello rob_kib,   Your comment

Hello rob_kib,

 

Your comment caught my attention when you mentioned 'lack of training'  on how to use IT based tools for data capture. While I agree with you that there exist a knowlegede gap when it comes to use of IT tools  you will agree with me that there are some individuals in any group with the capacity to learn faster than others.

Where knowlegede transfer is expensive and not locally domicilled , it is advised to focus knowlegde dissemination to this individuals ( in some cases some local farmers have even suggested that thier children be taught how to use these tools  while they focus on what they know best)

These folks can now be saddled with the task of passing the new skills to others at a mutually agreed pace and convinience.

Also you might want to research more alternatives to buying expensive gadgets such as a local cooperative or group coming togther  .

A group usually has higher negotaiation and purchasing power - much higher than the individual.

 

Regards.

 

 

maureen's picture
Offline
Last seen: 5 years 1 week ago
Joined: 14/07/2010 - 12:09
Data Collection using Mobile Phones - the right tool for the job

This blog shares the experience that Text to Change has with regard to data collection using the mobile phone. Please take time to read through and dodnot heistste to ask any questions.

..........................................................................................................................................

Technology is only a tool. Having a free platform to use for data collection does not mean any organization can run a successful data collection program without thinking through the entire process from project design, implementation and evaluation. Text to Change has extensive experience in providing support throughout the complete project cycle, from developing the initial concept to doing data analysis and evaluation. Formhub plays an important part in this process as we will see in this example.

More details: http://www.texttochange.org/blog/data-collection-using-mobile-phones-rig...

Thanks

With kind regards

Maureen

bkaddom's picture
Offline
Last seen: 1 year 10 months ago
Joined: 07/12/2009 - 22:49
You may want to browse through this

We have initiated this at Global Broadband and Innovation (GBI) of USAID but there is a shift in the program focus and therefore the work on the database is currently suspended. I however have a longer list which is not available online - ICTs for M&E at GBI Portal. Note this portal will be taken down by the end of this month.

Thanks

 

Ben

Arjen - TTC's picture
Offline
Last seen: 5 years 6 days ago
Joined: 11/06/2012 - 17:32
We at Text to Change make

We at Text to Change make extensive use of mobile technology to monitor and evaluate projects for topics in the sectors Health, Education, Economic Development and Governance/Advocacy. By using SMS, supported by voice for the (technological or alphabetical) illeterate, and data collected through the Open Data Kit (ODK) app we can gather data for many different purposes in many remote settings. Despite the coverage of mobile internet, there is usually a mobile connection that allows to send and receive SMS messages. We can set up the survey in the form of a quiz, still keeping in mind that maximum length of messages is 160 characters. The advantage of SMS that every mobile device, regardless of brand or age, can send and receive text messages. The end-users send and receive the text messages for free, the Telecom provider bills the partner or us for all messages send and received. Technically you need to connect the Text to Change platform to all the networks, or only one specific network when all users are on the same network. Additionally you can think of an incentive-based system, where monetary incentives, like airtime, are distributed next to social incentives, like the knowledge that you give away. The data can be collected 24/7 and displayed on a website, or accessed by a stakeholder real-time through our platform that runs online. Subsequently a detailed report can be created and shared with stakeholders. Some advantages exist, besides earlier mentioned advantages, but especially the accessibility and empowerment for base of the pyramid users. Would be happy to discuss usability and method in further detail.

PDey's picture
Offline
Last seen: 2 weeks 4 days ago
Joined: 09/04/2011 - 13:54
Economics is important

Are these SMS services free for inclusion of common mass?

Arjen - TTC's picture
Offline
Last seen: 5 years 6 days ago
Joined: 11/06/2012 - 17:32
Hi PDey.  I'm not sure if I

Hi PDey.  I'm not sure if I understand your question correctly, but if you ask if the SMS is free for the end-user the answer is yes. The respondents interact with the platform through SMS at no cost at their side.

zine_falouti's picture
Offline
Last seen: 5 years 1 week ago
Joined: 11/06/2012 - 17:32
About NTIC and my personnal experience

      Thank you firstable to make an e-platform for agriculture , for NTIC injection in agriculture we must assure that farmer's around the world have a media tool's minimum just a laptop or simple computer to use software's for software we are here like an agro-tech scientist i worked 2 year's ago to make app's just for farmer's exactly in fruit's and vegetables production , with a simple app's for irrigation,fertilizer science and crop's protection data .

     I hope that the world and FAO like a world wide organisation must interest and use the power of new technology of informations .

    I invite you to see my free app's collection's in  http://www.hortisoft.ae.ma

 

 

TUCA's picture
Offline
Last seen: 5 years 3 days ago
Joined: 11/06/2012 - 18:13
Monitoring with iFormBuilder and/or ODK systems

Thank you all for your participation in this forum.  For those that have implemented iFormBuilder or ODK M&E systems, can you tell us a little more about the system architecture and output?  I am particularly interested in understanding how you use the data uploaded to your system to monitor your project.  How do you query the data or create simple reports?  Do you move your data into Excel or Google spreadsheets?  Or do you have some kind of "front-end" application that enables you to do basic data analysis/visualization/reporting?  Thanks!

 

creichart's picture
Offline
Last seen: 5 years 6 days ago
Joined: 02/06/2012 - 06:31
Data Visibility and Access

There are some great detailed use cases from the CRS ICT4D Event (http://www.crsprogramquality.org/ict4d-2012/).  Particularly The CAR Seed Fair and the KAP Malaria presentations from the Day 2 presentation show detailed architecture used for the projects.  

iFormBuilder and many ODK implementations allow for easy access to data.  iFormBuilder's admin console gives users access to field data via Data Views for simple reporting and Data Feeds in the following formats: XLS, XML, JSON, ATOM and RSS and also provide and XML post functionality along with filtering tools to easily create feeds that only have relevant data.  With the emergence of new visual BI tools like Klipfolio, Gekoboard, RoamBI and Google to name a few, live data feeds can populate these tools for real-time visulaization of the data.

odashevs's picture
Offline
Last seen: 5 years 1 week ago
Joined: 11/06/2012 - 03:25
Data visualization

For couple of our project we build custom data aggregation interface to pull data to dashboards and GIS mapping platform. In one of our project we used build in export feature to Excel from iFormBuilder to pull data into Google table app that provides user with flexibility of create custom analysis reporting and GIS representation. Currently we are working on M&E projects that would aggregate data from multiple projects into a single data store and will provide features to user to build project specific reports and will have agency standard M&E reports.

cropster's picture
Offline
Last seen: 5 years 1 week ago
Joined: 05/03/2009 - 18:11
Cropster's Online Platform

I would like to briefly introduce Cropster (www.cropster.org). We provide online tools for sustainable supply chains - including producers, traders and processors of agricultural products. As of this year we include also an M&E tool (additionally to farm, production and quality control) enabling efficient data collection and exchange within producer groups and between producer groups and NGO's or commercial partners. The novelty is, that this tool is not a classical M&E platform where data is only available to the questionnaire managers, but also to the ones, who are providing their answers and valuable insights. This creates more a bottom-up approach. The tool also combines data generated through commercial processes (production, quality, price) with questionnaire data. I am excited to see the different approaches here in this forum and open for discussion.   

Harrison Rware's picture
Offline
Last seen: 5 years 1 week ago
Joined: 07/06/2012 - 13:24
Web based Monitorign and Evaluation of medium scale project

<p>This is very interesteing topic. I am invoved in M &amp; E in a research for development projects and we are in the process of developing web based M &amp; E system to monitor a project in three states, any ideas on how I should approach it?</p>
<p>Considering the volume of data to be collected by use of the monitoiring tools is larger than what can be handled by teh mobile technology?</p>
<p>&nbsp;</p>

hasib124's picture
Offline
Last seen: 3 months 3 weeks ago
Joined: 07/06/2012 - 08:41
Mobile based data collection and realtime decision making

We mPower Social Enterprises Limited are working in Bangladesh, India and in the Middle East (http://www.mpower-social.com/) using mobile technology to get realtime information from the field and the beneficiary gets instand feedback.

We are planning to track the agricultural information of the farmers, agri market and monitor the growth of the seeds. That's why planning to develop an android application to get the information. Frontline staff/worker of NGO's/Organizations will collect the data from the field.

We developed and implemented mobile based public health module and health of livestock animal. Frontline worker goes from door to door of beneficiaries carrying Android mobile handset. An application is installed in the mobile handset and there are customized questionnaires based on the NGO activities. The frontline woker ask the beneficiary/client about their health status or livestock animal health status. The collected data is sent using EDGE/GPRS and a dashboard is created in the web for each and indivisual beneficiary. The doctor or the vatenararian can see the complexity of the beneficiary or the livestock animal and can suggest or give instruction to the fronline staff and then the frontline staff convey the instruction to the beneficiaries at realtime basis.

jolash's picture
Offline
Last seen: 5 years 5 days ago
Joined: 15/06/2012 - 16:05
Sounds interesting. Have you

<p>Sounds interesting. Have you done any project(s) outside Asia?</p>

laurawhudson's picture
Offline
Last seen: 4 years 11 months ago
Joined: 11/06/2012 - 18:57
FrontlineSMS

I think that "digitalization" is an important element here. At FrontlineSMS (free software which assists with the management of SMS) we've seen many ways that people using SMS as "faster paper." The software can send/receive but you can also store or export data to keep records of interaction over time for M&E purposes. Take, for example this project in Cambodia where the Cambodian Ministry of Agriculture Forestry and Fisheries is using data collected through FrontlineSMS to track and contain animal diseases. Village chiefs and animal health workers report livestock deaths weekly via SMS to monitor mortality offering timely and accurate reports. 

For a slightly more advanced data collection, checkout this project in Tanzania where Technoserve used FrontlineForms (which requires a Java encrypted phone to send encrypted SMS) to follow up after training sessions to monitor impact.

@PDey we agree "economics is important" but also recognise that context is king. FrontlineSMS is a free software with free support available so is designed to be relatively "out-of-the box." But we must recognise that there are costs involved depending on where you are and what messages you plan on sending - this may be the messages themselves but also the staff and resources invested in running a communications service. 

@Harrison working in 3 states may well bring its challenges. When we think about scale, we consider horizontal scale to work more efficiently than a verticle model. By this I mean rather than having one central hub for communications, it may be best to consider running local hubs which then share information with each other. That way you may avoid/reduce any international roaming fees for SMS/calls too. 

The great thing is that SMS is a lowest common denominator for communications- all phones have that functionality and with 6bn active subscriptions we're all aware of how ubiquitous they are. We continue to be inspired by the ways projects take ownership by using FrontlineSMS to and help facilitate messaging.

Amy ODonnell's picture
Offline
Last seen: 5 years 1 week ago
Joined: 06/06/2012 - 15:55
Mobile in Hybrid with other communication tools

I've been interested in following the way other communications tools - like radio, TV and newspaper - can be used in combination with mobile to expand their reach. There's a project callled "The Organic Farmer" in Kenya who started with a magazine on agricultural advice but realised it didn't reach the most remote farmers. So John Cheburet started a radio program on Milele and KBC to expand reach. At one stage many farmers highlighted a disease killing chickens and sent in SMS evidence and also MMS picture messages. Using FrontlineSMS to organise messages, John gathered evidence and presented it to farming experts on the radio who diagnosed it as "Newcastle" disease and he also involved an MP in organising vaccination schedules.

I think this shows the power in using radio to expand reach to widen the net for gathering even more evidence and how powerful community contributons can be. Radio also closes the feedback loop as farmers tune in to hear advice explained fully and this ensures that even those who did not SMS can still benefit. Read more about this project here

Its something which Farm Radio International have been looking at in depth and have kicked off some discussions on their new Barza site.  

rabiu's picture
Offline
Last seen: 5 years 2 days ago
Joined: 21/04/2008 - 11:57
Radio Mobile Hybrid

It is quite obvious radio will always increase relevance and benefits of ICT devices such as mobile phone when it comes to improving the livelihoods of the smallholder farmers at least in rural sub-sahara west Africa, where pockets of isolated cases of connectivity and operational inept still exist amid enourmous justification to alleviating the problems. Unfortunately, smallholder farmers affinity to radio communication is grossly underrated as cheap effective tool for improved livelihood of the smallholder farmers because in many parts of the region say Nigeria private license for farmers radio is expensive and unforthcoming. In addition there is the issue of source and relevant content to broadcast that which will benefit the diverse farming comunities, fear of misuse of the radio service during political campaigns and limited frequency coverage. However, it is interesting now when I listen to interactive non-agricultural phone-in programme in state-owned radio involving rural people but yet the concept is not adequately employed to serve the agriculture sector. In Kano state for example, a fully equipped extension unit of World Bank Agricutlural Development Programme (ADP) has been upgraded to 'Farmers Radio' but the main issue is that of capacity enhancement of the outfit to tune in the radio services towards effective empowerment of the rural farming communities. This confirms that no matter how propsepctive the radio/mobile hybrid may be to smallholder farmers transformation still policy framework, training and investment remain major challenges.

Amy ODonnell's picture
Offline
Last seen: 5 years 1 week ago
Joined: 06/06/2012 - 15:55
Hi Rabiu, Great to hear about

Hi Rabiu, Great to hear about your experiences and agree that certain contexts may present challenges to the application of using radio. I suppose if there is any benefit, agricultural advice is a relatively uncontraversial topic for the airwaves but its shocking to hear how little coverage it gets in your experience.  Why do you think the interactive state run programming doesn't cover agriculture - is to do with the audience who tunes in? 

I was wondering your thoughts on HAM or amateur radio? Many innovators I have heard about set up their own agricultural advice programmes - like Joseph Seikiku in Tanzania or in the case of The Organic Farmer I mentioned above, John actually records programmes which are broadcast via larger stations including the national Kenyan Broadcasting Coorperation.

In addition, do you hear about people listening to diaspora radio or international broadcasts via shortwave? 

 

I know Community Radio across Africa grew over 1,000% from 2000-2006 but many face challenges of financial sustainability. For me, its important to ask: how can stations tap into sensible revenue streams relevant to listeners (especially farmers) to ensure survival?

rabiu's picture
Offline
Last seen: 5 years 2 days ago
Joined: 21/04/2008 - 11:57
Still on radio, Amy

Hmmn!, virtually several radio stations surely exist in my area but they all have weekly repeat farmers programme that either airs outdated information or too sophisticated unrealistic to make the desired impact. I think it doesn't make sense to broadcast new research finding on how to grow Irish potatoes in nutrient bag hanging in the air to a subsistent rural farmer who struggles to concur immediate local challenges of climate, globalization, ICT, free market to survive the day. So content of the broadcast is critical.The interactive radio programme is purely social or religious aired both through private and public stations.

Amy? are you aware that my area has the highest transistor listeners of international broadcasts such as BBC, VOA, Dutch Welly, Radio France, China radio, radio Iran, etc in the world?. That is one of my worries, that local authorities failed to tap this potentials for a coordinated agricultural extension and advisory broadcasts from the international stations even in partnership with local stations.

I am scanning resources emerging in this forum to enable me set up my own version of amateur radio programme for smallholder farmers in my region. The answer to your last question on stations' survival revolves around population of the consumer or users of the farmers output. In my own case that is no problem at all. We are talking about minimum of 20 million listerner farmers, users and consumers chunked in two states only.

Kindly put me through setting up the amateur farmers radio, the ICT devices I need including required software to use for streaming into a local radio station, IF THAT APPROACH WOULD BE PRACTICEABLE IN MY COUNTRY

  

 

Amy ODonnell's picture
Offline
Last seen: 5 years 1 week ago
Joined: 06/06/2012 - 15:55
Thanks so much for this

Thanks so much for this insight, Rabiu. I agree that agricultural advice needs to be inherently local - local weather, local prices, local challenges - so the relevance of programming is imperative. There is also such a need to be accurate and up-to-date. Maybe thats why the need for participatory dialogue is so important so listeners have opportunity to guide and contribute content, ensuring its appropriateness. But it sounds like the challenge is a central place for the organisation of this? Would the stations ever offer airtime to someone interested in leading this? 

Thats so interesting to hear about international broadcasts - do you worry that being international that this "local relevance" is lost? Are they popular with local people?

I'm no expert on setting up a radio but could put you in touch with Joseph if you are interested to hear his experiences? Otherwise resources like the following might help: 

http://www.hamuniverse.com/setuphamstation.html

http://www.hamlife.co.uk/categoryRender.asp?categoryID=3654

http://voices.yahoo.com/how-set-own-fm-radio-station-licensing-274533.html

http://www.clydebroadcast.com/img/bank/SettingStation.pdf

 

 

rabiu's picture
Offline
Last seen: 5 years 2 days ago
Joined: 21/04/2008 - 11:57
setting up own farmers broadcast

Good day Amy, already I am enjoying this wonderful forum because it is drawing me near some kind of breakthrough to helping 'resource poor' smalholders in my region. You see, luckily enough local stations are very cooperative and willing when it comes to airing innovations to rural farmers. It all depends on the approach, clarity of the project and clear benefit matrix to both authority and its subjects - farmers.

About international broadcasts my worries are that local authorities failed to align their potential to improve local listeners farming occupation. The international broadcasts tried to air farmers content in a broader perspective as against practical approaches that narrows down to local community specifics. Moreover, it is usually a flash farmers programme of 15 minutes maximum per week by the international stations. While we are talking of about 60 minutes per day of farmers broadcast as minimum by local provider. But then the target communities are large in number and diverse,  different local resources, exposure, needs and capabilities.

The popularity of international broadcasts to farmers in my region is so enormous. In many instances local news reach local farmers via international broadcasts several hours in advance. Some local news never heard of through the local stations.

Thanks for all the resources links. Sure I am exploring possibilities in wider perspective. Will appreciate linkage to Joseph though.

jolash's picture
Offline
Last seen: 5 years 5 days ago
Joined: 15/06/2012 - 16:05
Hello Rabiu,   Just read your

Hello Rabiu,

 

Just read your post on software for streaming.

 

IT / Software is my forte and I might just be able to pitch in one or two things with regards to implementation for your project.

 

I hope things work well with regards to the impact you want to make.

Are you reaching implementation stage anytime soon?

ALso You mentioned '20 million listeners in two states at least ' listen to the radio- is that an estimate or you can  quote from relaibale sources ?

 

All the best.

 

jolash's picture
Offline
Last seen: 5 years 5 days ago
Joined: 15/06/2012 - 16:05
Well said rabiu,   But I

Well said rabiu,

 

But I believe the future remains bright for agriculture in Nigeria - after all , 160 million (plus) people have to feed- and feed others

 

Besides , technology has also helped us with the concepts of geo-location and geo-mapping. I can broadcast messages to a select target audience without the need of a extensive state owned machinery - as long as it is within the confines of the law.

 

Also break throughs in m-learning and elearning gives cause for cheer- as long as we dont want to get left behind.

 

I come from an IT based back ground but practiced substinence farming as a teenager.

  I am playing with the idea of doing a research of mobile/radio proliferarion in rural farming areas in the country  which states would you recommend I narrow my survey / fact finding excercises to ?

 

Thanks.

 

rabiu's picture
Offline
Last seen: 5 years 2 days ago
Joined: 21/04/2008 - 11:57
mobile/radio proliferation

Hello Jolash,

that is great to have some expert close by to work with. I would very pleased we start working on the ground along the line of discussion.

First, make sure we clear the legal requirements that may not neccessarily be there regarding the latest mobile/radio technology but then trust authorities too, with our sudden appearance in the air and with heavy impact on rural farmers we appear to make, a nearest clause distortion in the legal provisions of the country would be changed instantly changed to curtail our operations. so..

About m-agriculture, currently with my little ICT devices and field work with farmers I document my training/research works in one area for viewing in a different area for effects.

Where else would I recommend for collaboration to work with you than my local environment that I know best. That is rural Kano state, 44 local government areas, heavy irrigation of vegetables, intensive cereal production (rice/maize/cowpea), livestock rearing, over 8 million smallholder farmers etc, I have little work I did in 2009 called RURAL DIGITAL BRIDGE (RDB) is along the line you want to start it might be usefull to you. 

LisaCespedes's picture
Offline
Last seen: 4 years 4 months ago
Joined: 03/08/2010 - 11:10
acronyms and abbreviations

Dear all,

Welcome to the this forum! it is great to read these engaging posts.

Just a kind reminder to everybody about acronyms and abbreviations: if you use them, please provide a definition first, so that it is clear to everybody.

Regards,

Lisa
e-Agriculture Team


 

prottas's picture
Offline
Last seen: 5 years 1 week ago
Joined: 12/06/2012 - 18:25
 Can anyone speak to how well

 Can anyone speak to how well these different options work when part of your data collection is still done by hand? While eventually we might move all surveys to mobile collection, the transitional period would likely include both paper and mobile collection. How easy is it for this data to be consolidated (off-line) in a database and then accessed and queried through the cloud when internet access is available? To the latter point, what solutions have folks used as the backend for both database management, data visualization, report customization, etc.?

laurawhudson's picture
Offline
Last seen: 4 years 11 months ago
Joined: 11/06/2012 - 18:57
I'm wondering how

I'm wondering how sophisticated your data collection is? How many questions are in the survey and how many are branched options (e.g. if A answer questions 1-5, if B answer questions 6-10)? 

We're always stressing that "context is king" and its important to consider those tools people you're communicating with have access to - sometimes appropriate tech can mean a crayon, sometimes it is paper surveys. When you move to mobile collection do you envisage your staff to gather and return results, or will it be direct from communities? Will they need a certain type of handset?

Speaking to the way FrontlineSMS works, it can operate offline and SMS can be exported in csv (excel) or pdf, or even forwarded to SMS or (if you are online) connected to an internet site or database via http trigger. The new version released yesterday is browser-based so we are starting to build some more sophisticated frameworks. 

rabiu's picture
Offline
Last seen: 5 years 2 days ago
Joined: 21/04/2008 - 11:57
FrontlineSMS

Laurawhudson,

so fascinated and interested to try the FrontlineSMS software free download from your domain but my laptop warned me seriously of the uncertified status of the tool and possible danger of damage to my system therefrom that eventually I shelved the idea of installing/running it in. I still have it dumped in my system though

Appears you have two versions already in use? which one is most suitable for a trial start?

Any re-asuarance?

Thank  you alot

rabiu

laurawhudson's picture
Offline
Last seen: 4 years 11 months ago
Joined: 11/06/2012 - 18:57
 Hello Rabiu,Great to hear

 Hello Rabiu,

Great to hear you're trying out the software! As far as the warning message, FrontlineSMS v1 runs as a Java application, and it's a good idea to be sure of the source of Java applications before installing them, as it is possible they contain malicious code. I can assure you, though, that as long as you are downloading the software off of a FrontlineSMS.com domain [v1 here, v2 here], there shouldn't be anything to worry about.

As far as which version of the software is better to use, it probably depends on the scope and timeline of your project. Version 2, which is just launching, is a total rewrite of our software, with a more intuitive user interface, smoother operation, and increased stability. However, as it has just launched, it is still lacking some of the more complex data analytical features of v1, specifically integration with FrontlineForms, though these integrations are coming soon. You might download both versions, to familiarize yourself with the full suite of data collection functionality in version 1, and then to get used to the interface of version 2, in preparation for full feature integration by the end of this year. If you are hoping to field-test FrontlineSMS in a data collection project in the very near future, though, v1 will probably be your best bet.

On the pages linked above, you can read more about the specific differences between v1 and v2, as well as our schedule for a complete transition to Version 2.

rabiu's picture
Offline
Last seen: 5 years 2 days ago
Joined: 21/04/2008 - 11:57
FrontlineSMS trial

That is better Laura and many thanks. Wish us good trial of your material.

Bye for now

jpayne@usaid.gov's picture
Offline
Last seen: 5 years 1 week ago
Joined: 24/11/2008 - 18:10
Paper and digitized data...

As USAID's ICT Advisor for Agriculture, I was just in Senegal learning from our Feed the Future Project (called PCE) about how they collect data on paper and electronically.  To keep things simple, they have lead farmers collect basic data from 10-20 farmers in their village.  An field advisor from the AG association then checks it quickly for quality and keys it into an Excel spreadsheet.  This spreadsheet is then shared with millers (buyers from these farmers) via free accounts on DropBox.  The spreadsheets are automatically synched up and shared (with anyone with permission to see the data) anytime a PC with the spreadsheet is connected (via a mobile phone network).  Theoretically it would be best to capture the data first in digitized form but the PCE team argues that the lead farmers carry around small notebooks and pencils anyway and can easily jot down the information as they see "their" farmers often.  It seems this is a good example of pencil and digital coming together and the use of DropBox (which offers free accounts for a few Gig of storage -- plenty for a spreadsheet) makes this work well even when connectivity is sporadic.  

mckenziegal's picture
Offline
Last seen: 4 years 12 months ago
Joined: 08/06/2012 - 17:29
Integrating paper data with digital data

One solution for converting paper data to digitial you may want to consider is: http://captricity.com/ 

As for backend data management, the best choice will depend upon your organizations particular needs, technology capabilities, and constraints. Can you provide more information to help address this question?

rabiu's picture
Offline
Last seen: 5 years 2 days ago
Joined: 21/04/2008 - 11:57
FERTILIZER DELIVERY MONITORING

Diverting fertilizer meant for smallholder farmers by market forces has been major source of smallholder agricultural failure in sub-sahara west Africa, particularly in Northern Nigeria. Thanks to the apparition of ICT devices notably mobile phone and iPad. In a recent episode in Kano state where government revived a local public fertilizer (NPK) blending company (KASCO) that is in full production now. Priority is given to supplying smallholder farmers in the state's numerous local government areas with the fertilizer at 62% subsidy. But the critical factor is ensuring that intended vulnerable smallholder farmers really get the fertilizer consignment intended for them.

The fertilizer factory locates in the state headquarter (Kano) and delivery is made to community wards across the state where some wards are up to one hour journey from Kano. Serveral monitoring measures have been employed including trailer escort from the factory; delivery feedback note, public radio announcement regarding despatch and collector from the factory on daily basis. Almost half way through supplying the 484 wards each with a trailer fertilizer load for the smallholder farmers, a mobile phone call communicated fertilizer illigal deal in one of the wards. The phone reported illigal sales of the fertilizer at a market stall not intended originally for off loading the consignment.

The mobile alert went straight to the local police station that later on report to the supply source. The critical point of the mobile significance is the point where official monitoring of the fertilizer ended with off-loading with properly signed delivery feed note (DFN). iPad imaging of the affected fertilizer and the market stall completed the full story for reporting to the higher authorities for correction. It appears that within the remote smallholder local ICT context, mobile phone and iPad duo holds significant promises for simple yet effective means of achieving inputs distribution monitoring for improved smallholder farmers livelihoods.

phanis9's picture
Offline
Last seen: 4 years 11 months ago
Joined: 26/08/2010 - 06:33
ICT

ICT covers any product that will store, retrieve, manipulate, transmit or receive information electronically in a digital form. For example, personal computers, digital television, email, robots.

The Digital Purjee Information Service via SMS ensures both timely harvest and enhanced income for farmers and consistent supply of raw materials for sugar mills. This is a result of a joint initiative between the UNDP-supported Access to Information (A2I) Programme, set up by the Prime Minister's Office, and Bangladesh Sugar and Food Industries Corporation of the Ministry of Industries.

Pablo Ruiz's picture
Offline
Last seen: 4 years 1 month ago
Joined: 09/06/2012 - 23:34
How this apply to farmers?

 How do you work the M&E with farmers? Because it is very interesting to see the use of text messages and Ipod, but we collect data and more by the technician team, what happend with farmers? do we transfer this new technology to them? are they set to work with this after we have gone with our projects? 

Let me know your thoughts, 

Pablo

laurawhudson's picture
Offline
Last seen: 4 years 11 months ago
Joined: 11/06/2012 - 18:57
Existing Technology

Pablo, I agree with your question about whether projects are sustainable after the funding has finished and the staff have left. Something important to consider is how to utilise technology already in the hands of farmers - avoiding the challenges of maintaining new technology if it breaks down or sustains a cost. Its important to consider capacity building in terms of what resources it takes to run a project - an information advice system for example - to make sure it has potential for longevity and draws on support which is available. 

Check out this CAHNET project which set up a livestock information system in Eastern Africa, including data collection and surveying. It relies on basic mobiles already in the hands of beneficiaries who are able to take part via SMS.

Another point is what incentivises people to access these services? As @Arjen points out some SMS short codes can be organised to be free for communities to text, but what about those which require farmers to spend some (often limited) disposable income to participate. For us this comes down to offering information which has a transformative impact, such as market price information which can save time, money and even lives. Here's some examples: Fishing in Indonesia, Cashews in Cote d'Ivoire,  Potatoes in Argentina and advice from farmer to farmer in El Salvador


Pablo Ruiz's picture
Offline
Last seen: 4 years 1 month ago
Joined: 09/06/2012 - 23:34
 Very interesting, I will try

 Very interesting, I will try to contact with the people from El Salvador to see what we can work in the area that we cover.
Regards,

Kantiza's picture
Offline
Last seen: 1 week 1 day ago
Joined: 19/05/2011 - 09:21
The robust data collection is needed to boost farmers not dbase
It is practically sure that iPod or iPad are the cheapest tools to be used in the collection of data  instead of using pens and papers or laptops nevertheless I think that the cost of those tools remains too high for the common small farmer of developing countries who have a hard journey and have no time to learn how to input features in EpiSurveyor; iFormBulder which involve to purchase the costly iPhone or into FrontlineSMS which implies a minimum of instruction even if this software should be available for all mobile phone .
I think that even if the robust data collection is useful to researchers or to the headquarter of providers of the project for monitoring the actions taken in order to boost small farmers of developing countries, when the opportunities are given to the beneficiaries in ending the project to choose between to be granted iPhone or  to get the equivalent of one iPad or iPod for each small farmer of Burundi, I am sure that this one should select to acquire the equivalent, i-e almost three hundred of thousands in Burundi Francs which should be used to buy the selected seeds, fertilizers and medicines against tropical diseases known due of report of agronomics or veterinaries disseminated in the interior of Burundi country instead of buying that iPhone with immediate effects of reducing hunger and poverty in the country, nevertheless, such  project does not exist again in Burundi where the radio media is piloted more and more through mobile phones and is still on the frontline of communication and where web or mobile based data collection is unexploited even in the urban area.
Also, I try to understand furthermore the question of Pablo Ruiz and I find it very relevant, so I wonder why the project framing the data collection have to be closed and the workers of the project have to leave, it means that the goal has been reached and so anyone should ask if the fundamental goal is to build a big data of agriculture concerns or to boost directly the agriculture and livestock in the rural area framed by the project and who could go on as supervisor in maintaining the database in case it is dropped? 
By the way, I remember that we learned only in high school how to interpret maps or to evaluate statistics data, it means that the exploitation of big data collection is reserved for well educated persons, consequently, even if it could be possible to beneficiaries to collect and to send data through mobile phone, the difficult is manifest for small farmers of developing countries to exploit and to interpret the big data collected through mobile phone and I am delighted to listen that the appropriation of monitoring and evaluation of the collected data  has succeeded in East Africa among farmers framed by CAHNET project as ensured by Laura Walker Hudson and I have no reason to doubt the relevance of the report and if so, it should be better to extend this kind of project in other areas of rural community.
 
Prof Antoine KANTIZA, Master Uticef,-
TomGrp's picture
Offline
Last seen: 3 years 5 months ago
Joined: 08/03/2012 - 00:20
Smartphone vs existing technologies

 First, thank you for organizing this "online forum".

We, at SmartAgro, saw an opportunity in the arrival of “low-cost’’ smartphone and the advantages they bring as compare to regular mobile phone. The GPS allows to measure and localize a field, the camera to take observational pictures and you can collect data ‘offline’ (which is interesting when, in remote areas, no network is available) .

Implementing a project based on smartphones and make it a scalable solution is obviously harder than with SMS based services. But some projects like the Community Knowledge Worker Initiative or the mFisheries project have already shown some interesting signs of success.

SmartAgro is a smartphone application that allows farmers or agronomic experts to collect in real time data about the field (type of products, operations carried out on the field, use of inputs, quality of soil, inventory of tools and machines, pictures of diseases on the crop…). We did a lot of effort on the design of the App to make it easy to use, even by people not familiar with new technologies or illiterates.

The data can then be synchronized on a computer (which can be shared or personal) on which the farmers can see an historical report of his operations, communicate with other stakeholders and access content send by NGOs or experts, and reply to call for tender published by buyers.

Finally a Web app allows NGOs, public and private organizations to interact with the farmers, send them information on the best farming practices, weather forecast et.

We are currently based in Chile and several agricultural organizations want to implement the solution to better understand the farmers needs, track the spreading of diseases and send them advice on best farming practices. The interesting thing is that those organizations are often ready to buy smartphones to farmers as they think such a solution could greatly improve the way they work and save money at the end.

What are your thoughts on solution based on smartphone? I agree with @laura when she says it is important to utilise technology already in the hands of farmers, but I think both type of projects should be developed at the same time .

For the people interested you can see a demo of the prototype here: https://vimeo.com/43577313 or get in touch with me, I’ll be happy to tell you more about it and hear about your experience !

 twitter: @TomGrp

 

 

sean's picture
Offline
Last seen: 5 years 1 week ago
Joined: 01/12/2008 - 15:13
Last Mile Data Collection and Analytics

Hi everyone,

It is a pleasure to take part in this virtual event!

I thought I would outline the solution we have built to address real-time data collection and analytics but first I wanted to provide some context as to the problem we were trying to solve when be launched our first data collection solution in 2010 and have since iterated it many times as we learned along the way. 

The social impact we set out to achieve was to help transform the economic lives of the world's most impoverished farmers by providing them with on-demand agricultural extention information and also create a stronger link between what was happening in field vs what was happening in the agricultural research institutions.

Furthermore, we saw data and data collection as a way to cross-subsidize keeping the outbound ag information free of charge. After all, well heeled people do not feel like they are paying for a Google Search because the adwords business model pays for your attention. In our case, the contract with the local communities is as follows: we will provide ag extension information in return for your time spent answering surveys.

To date 800+ Community Knowledge Workers (CKWs) or village level info-mediaries have all been trained as enumerators in Uganda and have collected more than 38,000 surveys (see our dashboard). They are also flanked by data validators who back-check and cross check their work. Furthermore 64% of our our CKWs earn less than 1.25 USD per day and thus this work provides them with a meaningful source of income - essentiallly a business in their pockets.

The technology soution is part of our 'Africa in the Cloud' vision and thus we have built our data collection toolkit into salesforce.com and put alot of effort into making complex survey creation (with skips and repeats) easy to create for a non-technical M&E people. 

We also worked to optimize the smartphone application (based upon ODK) to work in 'last mile' conditions in which our CKWs live, namely off the grid - both power and network. And we worked hard to build GPS into the background, made photo capture easy and integrated our progress out poverty (PPI) index into the registration forms such that we can ensure that we and our partners can meet their social performance goals.

What we noticed along the way was that many other organization that are trying to reach last mile communities faced the same challenges of getting real-time data to help further their organizational missions and thus we began to offer our software as a service solution to other organizations. Today, organization in Uganda, Kenya and Columbia are also benefiting from these tools including organizations who are not agriculture specific. 

But I think the most exciting part of this journey has been our most recent efforts to understand how 'big data' could be used to not only help strengthen the ag extention system but also be used to help small holder farmers access credit, inputs and even provide insights to macro-economic analysts who are deciding on large scale investments into the ag sector.

We recently worked with a NASA data miner to dive into our data. We found rich data about the meeting behaviour patterns with farmers. We also worked with Palantir to look into how we can use ag information queries to identify crop and animal disease outbreaks by using heatmaps on particular disease queries (below is a visual representation of the CKW data set - also see a video on this from the following link). 

With the above insights we can begin to become proactive in our information campaigns. Now that we have built a call center, integrated our systems with community radio and have local partners (including the national ag extention service) in all districts where operate, we have the potential to actually use 'big data' in real-time to alleviate the potential for massive crop and animal disasters by alerting farmers to the risk and helping to take action.

A recent, differences in difference study showed that our famers in Eastern Uganda are increasing their knowledge of ag extension information and are also receiving 17% higher maize prices when compare to those who do not have access to CKWs.

The data is telling us that indeed knowledge is power. So where else can we use 'big data' to solve some of the world's most pressing problems?

 

 

mckenziegal's picture
Offline
Last seen: 4 years 12 months ago
Joined: 08/06/2012 - 17:29
Why Salesforce.com?

Sean - You mentioned integrating Salesforce.com into your platform. Can you provide additional information about how you are using Salesforce.com and why you chose this option? Also, what is the cost for using Salesforce.com in this manner?

 

Pages

Topic locked