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Question 1 (opens 12 Nov.)

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Question 1 (opens 12 Nov.)

 

 Question 1: What roles does ICT play in producer organizations? Support examples with specific reference to an organization, the technology tool(s), and content delivered. 

In particular consider:
  • How can ICT facilitate accountability and transparency among members of an organization and between different organizations?
  • How can ICT facilitate climate change adaptation among members of an organization and the rural communities where the organization is active?

 


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Welcome!

Hello to everyone, and welcome to this new e-Agriculture forum. As the lead facilitator of this forum I am here to make sure the discussion is productive and focused, and to assist you in any way necessary. We look forward to your participation. If you have any questions or suggestions, please don’t hesitate to contact me directly.

Over the next two weeks we plan to discuss many interesting and important issues. Please keep the focus of this forum in mind - how producer organizations and their work can be improved by the use of ICT. We are particularly interested in learning about functions or issues around  ICT and producer organizations that complement or add to the body of information already provided in Sourcebook module 8.

So now, let’s discuss!

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ICT-->Producer company (Case from India)

A producer company managed by AKRSP(India) manages a 4,000-farmer producer company. The company main office struggles to collect various types of information from its farmers. During harvest season, the main office must know how much of each crop the company is expected to harvest, and when. Currently this information is collected manually, in person and over the phone, making it inefficient and expensive. Moreover, the lack of real-time information often results in lost sales and difficulty managing logistics. Using Awaaz.De the producer company has deployed a voice-based survey which farmers call into and enter expected harvest for each crop. The data is aggregated in real time in a report that the main office can access over the Internet, saving them time and money, and ultimately making them better able to execute sales. Complementing the data collection, the producer company will use Awaaz.De to disseminate agricultural locally relevant agricultural advice through a combination of question and answer and message broadcast. This two-way solution can help any producer company or cooperative gain efficiences, and also effectively reach out, connect, and build capacity amongst its constituent farmers.

About Awaaz.De: Awaaz.De provides hosted voice solutions that help people and organizations engage with communities in any language, leveraging the power of spoken voice and mobile phones.  Our goal is to make information and social media accessible to everyone.  We provide products and services that help our customers and their communities become active and informed producers and consumers of knowledge.

http://awaaz.de/home

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ICT-->Producer company (Case from India)

It is great to see a firm delivering services to producers. ITC has certainly a key role in improving the efficency and the quality of the services delivered as the firm will better know the demand. Are the producers servecd by the company AKRSP (India)  members or shareholders of the company??

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my question

it a good thing we are discussing the functions of ICT and Producer Organisation but there should be claerity as to which Producer Organisation, but if it is a general thing then we have alot to do.

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all types of organizations

Hello Osiyoye. In this discussion we want to consider all types of organizations of people involved in agriculture, forestry, fisheries, livestock, etc.

Some of the organizations will be formal and well undestood (e.g. dairy cooperatives) while others may be less formal (e.g. radio listener's groups) or less common.

It is a wide definition, but the innovations found in one case may well be applicable in another. Just keep in mind we are looking for ways these organizations make use of ICT to improve their own performance, or the performance of their members. The forum runs for 2 weeks, so there is plenty of time to consider this!

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Resource Management Associations made up of farmers and fishers

In addition to the organizations that Michael mentioned, I would include resource governance associations as well as federations(i.e. an organization made up of organizations or a network of networks). In the Philippines we have Irrigators Associations, Protected Area Management Boards, Watershed Management Councils representing the former and local, municapal and provincial Agriculture and Fisheries Councils representing the latter. Resource governance associations made up of producers serve a self regulating function particularly in resource poor or limited areas. Their role as such have been highlighted in recent years due to extreme weather events such as drought and floods. And it has been demonstrated, time and again, that ICT, ranging from the humble rural radio to the 3G mobile phone, has assisted their members in sharing El Nino forecasts, disaster alerts, even adaptation strategies such as crop diversification.  

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New face of ICT

Any organization should have the responsibility to  manage their resources to answer and/or give proposed solutions to the many societal issues which may include climate change.  Corporate social responsibility must not only be used to create a good image for the company or organization, but must be utilized as a venue for a more meaningful social participation.  ICT, just like rural radio, created an impact in society not just for rural development.  The community radio in Laurel, Batangas which I visited years back was commendable (THE TAMBULI PROJECT).  Today, ICT is not just community radio anymore; social media is already ICT.  And the use of social media as a venue for social change has created a new impact to social development.

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Tambuli Project -

I searched information about the Tambuli Project mentioned above by Lalaine; it's below for readers' reference.

Lisa

--------

The Tambuli project aims to the empower people through communication so that they will strengthen their community organisations and seek better opportunities for development.

  1. provide local access to information,
  2. allow villagers to express themselves,
  3. link together as a community,
  4. strengthen the sense of identity, and
  5. transform the audience from mere receivers to participants and managers of a communication system.

How it works?

The engine that makes a Tambuli station work is a multisectoral Community Media Council (CMC). The CMC decides on managerial and programming issues. Most of the members also have responsibility as broadcasters, each one contributes with a programme slot relevant to his or her sector: health, education, youth, agriculture, senior citizens, environment, fishermen, women and legislation among others. In the long run, the CMC should become the owner of the stations.

Source: ICT for Development Network

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The Busuanga Island Experience

Busuanga Island in the Northernmost tipt of the Province of Palawan in the Philippines is a bio-diversity area with rich marine fishing grounds. Divided between the Municipalities of Coron and Busuanga, it is its rice, fruit and vegetable production self-sufficiency that continue to be a major problem despite efforts concerted by the government.

Seed dispersion, water irrigation, bank loans and trainings had been conducted over and over in the past – to no avail. The Borac and the Dipuyai Plains are two areas which can provide self-sufficiency in rice production but remained either idle or under utilized resulting to the heavy importation of rice, fruits and vegetables from nearby provinces and the national capital Manila.

Technology transfer, since the age of VHS to CDs to Power Point Presentations only serve the purpose of the organizers and remained irrelevant to the poor farmers who cannot afford devices to view, study and eventually adopt the knowledge imparted through new technologies.

Lately, the formation of farmer cooperatives initially took off with still relative results. Where does the problem lie?

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challenges

Hello Fernando. Thank you for sharing these thoughts. You bring up the issue of whether or not technology is appropriate - always a challenging subject. We hope to cover this in more depth in Question 4: "Does ICT empower or marginalize women or smallholders in producer organizations?" starting on 20 Nov.

In the meantime, if you and others can bring in examples of where an appropriate technology has been put to a positive use in a producers organization or directly with farmers through the action of an organization.

We're off to a good start!

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Organization and technology transfert

From my experience farmers may form interest group to access new technology. These groups are exclusive in the sens that farmers not interested in the new technology will not join and, very often once the technology has been delivered, the group will stop as he will have no more raison d'etre. It is therefore very rare to see interest groups formed for technology transfert purposes transform in formal groups or cooperatives.

What also exist is existing farmer organizations may deliver services to members, including technology transfert, but this one out of many other activities of the organization.  

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farmer's dilemma

I am glad that ICTs can now raise income by increasing agricultural productivity.  During my late father's time, he had limited crops as our farm was dependent on rain water.  His dilemma then was wether to continue farming or to convert the land into commercial use.  

Nowadays, however, the problem of the rural farmers is how to keep people working in the farmland as the new technology entice them to work in the city. 

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Agricultural problems penetrates people to migrate

Koy it is true, I agree with your brief reflection that during the earliest time, agricultural systems were completely different than this present era.  It is obviously due to the advent of new ideas, knowledge, information, techniques, and above all because of the rapid result of modern technology.  It is no doubt that agriculture is creating and producing economic development in each country.  However, I do not have concrete evidence and data of study of what is the effect of economic growth caused by agriculture during the 70's, 80's and 90's comparing it to this current year.  Probably this would be a motivating fact for some scholars to find out its relation to ICT research work.

In addition, I also go along with your observation that many of our fellow citizens nowadays prefer to stay in the urban places and developed areas rather than to remain and cultivate their own land to a productive source of economy.  That is why it becomes a common mentality of our beloved country men and women to move from one place to another, from rural to urban sites, and from one region to the city.  Cite for example the thousands of human mobility of the so-called internal migrants from various provinces who migrated to the crowded places of Metro Manila.  It is because many chose to dwell in the progressive place wherein the economic systems and standard ways of living are far different compared to the less fortunate areas.  Progressive regions and cities, naturally can aid these people to economically productive in a quick glance rather than remaining in the farm where they have to wait for months and years to obtain the yearning for economic development and sucess.

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Agriculture and migration

Very true po Sister Eva and Koy. There are production areas in the rural areas being left out because of migration from rural to urban areas. Its not really technology, but there are lot of cases where farmers themselves prod their children to have higher education and get courses on physical and natural sciences because of want to have better quality of life in the future. Take the case of the Banaue Rice Terraces of Ifugao Province (Philippies), there is now an observation that the remaining work forces in the terraces area are the older ones, because most of the children migrated to the urban areas and other countries. But maybe, when adequate interventions (road, irrigtion, technologies, other support structures and services) will be put in place in the rural areas, and agriculture will become scientifically modernized as well as agricultural labor productivity will be comparable to industrial labor productivity, many will remain in the rural areas. 

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Migration, Returnees, ICTs Human Assets ,Production Builders

Hi Susan, thanks for your further support.  Actually I was hesitant to apply the term "migration" in connection with our discussion, since I was thinking that we might go and move beyond the boundary and periphery of the topic of our discussion, but it is true, we cannot avoid talking of migration even we are discussing ICT and agriculture, as what Fr. Gigi said that we are now in the age of "e-migrants and even e-refugees", and so interacting with these vital discussions, we cannot evade thinking of the "cause and effect" of the reality in which human migration is involved on it as far as ICT's migration is concern.

I agree with you Susan with your further exploration and contributing ideas, yes probably on that time it was not the motivation of our beloved citizens to move because of technology per se, maybe during that time radio is enough to acquire information and even this time, probably it is secondary to get hold of modern technologies, one of the main causes basically is actually to uplift economic condition in general, so that is why most of us Filipinos really aspire to finish our education and studies in order to make our lives better and to contribute to the building and betterment of our society (country or region) or to our own native place.

You are right what happened to the majority did not come back to develop their native place, because they found the "greener pasture" in the rural and rich places better than the prosperous natural resources hidden and untold or could be abandoned because still lack of capital, or impossibility to develop the farm, or because no ICT's means that could sustain in a better income opportunity and other many reasons.  

In this case, I can only understand the right and desire of our people to move.  The problem is what happen to the abandoned and underdeveloped lands and lots?  This could be other areas of reflection but #3 question is giving us already a lot of existing possibilities.

One thing that I am thinking now, and this would partly lead to react and engage in  the  #3 question, if we are talking in the level of education, agriculture and ICT, I think we need to consider how to enculturate and educate in the mentality of our "young generations", who could be the potential producers, entrepreneurs, and consumers someday to really value the course of study that could benefit in terms of agricultural development particularly those who are lands holders.  This might also be  in relation to what the other associates here in this forum have already reflected.  Here not to judge the choice of all our beloved Filipinos but to propose that there are other options for advancement.

Going back to those graduates who returned to their native lands, in the (Philippines  context) after acquiring academic and material resources, we can see the positive effect, some of them became the assets of the economy, contributors to the socio-economic advancement in our country, for they are now the producers, capitalists, and famous product consumers.  Sometimes we can reflect the reality in the provinces and some regions and barangays of our country, who among those has the capacity to purchase and introduce television after radio, or cellular phone and i-pad and other modern technologies equipment and devices, and eventually became ICT's advocators and promoters?  Definitely those who can afford, in this case, we can think that somehow there is positive result out of the labors and sacrifices our fellows from other rich and progressive places. 

 

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Tambuli in Busuanga

Thanks for bringing this up, Andy. I do recall that Busuanga was one of the first pilots for the Tambili Project sponsored by UNESCO and DANIDA during the nineties. Tambuli (or conchshell) has been touted as an early ICT success story. The project concept was to provide small farming and fishing communities with low-cost, low-powered FM transmitters that would generate localized community radio programming and would become the voice of farmers' associations, mother's clubs and out of school youth. The project was headed by veteran rural farmcaster Ka Louie Tabing? Based on your post, it appears that it wasn't that effective. Is that the case?

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Community Radio

 

Sir Sandy, I remember Ka Louie Tabing being here not so long ago. His visit was followed up with a Community Radio Broadcasting Training. They indeed put up a community radio in Coron but I’m not really sure if it is part of the Tambuli Project as this one was funded by the National Nutrition Council. The station was initially located inside the compound of the Palawan State University - Coron Campus but was eventually moved out to the town proper for better audience reception. I participated in the workshop and was actually allotted airtime for my own program (General Information). Indeed, there were segments allotted for farmers and fishermen. In this sense, ICT was serving its purpose of reaching out to the grassroot farmers and fishermen. But still, even with this initiative, self-sufficiency with rice and vegetables production has sadly not been achieved.

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Tambuli

I know Tambuli Project as well..... Nice experience with the people in Laurel.

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My Tambuli experience

I have had the opportunity to visit Laurel, Batangas ad take part in the Tambuli Project when I was taking up courses in UP diliman under Dr. Quirante.  It was such a wonderful experience bonding with the people of Laurel.  This experience became an inspiration to take part in community development projects.  It was in this first experience that developed in me my the passion for community involvement/development.  Currently, I am involved in a community project (Literacy Program) in Botolan, Zambales with an Aeta community.  We train volunteer aeta teachers to teach basic education to young aetas.  I look for funding to support this endeavor for the aeta's education, livelihood projects, and the building of school infrastructure.  To note, interpersonal communication is my specialization, research is my craft, while development communication is my passion--- this i always tell my students in Mass Communication. 

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Effectiveness of the Tambuli Project

Based on my experience, the community radio project in Laurel ws very much welcomed, initially.  Yes, it became the voice of the frmers, the mothers, the youth, etc.  Some of them were even trained, if I am not mistaken, by the KBP to operate a community radio station;  some even had the opportunity to be trained as radio broadcasters.  It was also fun to have experienced to take part in one of their "Baranggayan".  the "Baranggayan" segment's concept is to broadcast via community radio their meeting in the local community with intermission numbers from the kids singing, mother's telling their stories, etc.... By the way, the community radio's  "station ID" was DWTL (TL which means "Tining ng Laurel).  However, the reason for its "ineffectiveness" (based on research) was that there came a time that DWTL was used for political purposes.  the radio station was used by politicians to campaign for themselves.... I also heard that when this happened, the station was transferred to the local parish for operation to avoid "ploticking".  Nevertheless, there came a time the the local parish priest seemd to be supporting another local politician....

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ICT issues

Hi Andy, I believe the utilization of ICTs in agriculture sure supports farmer access to relevant information especially in intensifying within the farming community itself the creation, management, and dissemination of appropriate and pertinent knowledge and information. But, I am sure these ICT initiatives face a number of challenges. It could be a case of inadequate knowledge and skills in modern farming techniques, language barriers (Nong Bry’s comments on materials in the local tongue), telecom connectivity, etc.; there could be a ‘disconnect’ between a certain ICT project and the end users— not relevant to the local needs and the local context (i.e. localized context in an appropriate language), or perhaps this draws attention to appropriate ICT policies?

-Arnel

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Philippine Digital Strategy

Hello Arnel,

This is the main concept of the Philippine Digital Strategy (PDS) for 2011 to 2016.  The PDS lays out what needs to be done in order for the country to progress.  It allows Filipinos to be more than just informed and updated on the latest trends in technology and it also help create citizens who are proactive and innovative.   The government also addresses not only  the needs of our formal sectors but also of our marginalized communities. 

 - Koy
 
Reference:
 
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PDS

That's right; the Philippines, with the Philippine Digital Strategy (PDS), through previous ICT road maps that laid the foundation for its development, will build it up even 'further' and 'farther' given the PDS's aspiration for a citizenry that's knowledgeable and adept on ICT-- digitally empowered.   

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Interesting Observations

Hi, Andy you have highlighted some interesting observations regarding the reality of our agricultural situation in the country (Philippines), specifically in your area.  I can picture out the circumstances of what you have elaborated in your post.  Likewise, I can also see the point of what you have said that transferring the "know how", the knowledge of ICT to the potential recipients is still difficult and ineffective.  To reflect on the question as to "where does the problem lie"?, I think there are many factors to be considered.  These might be other important related topics to include in our  discussions in this forum. 

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On Technology Transfer

One strategy that we employ in our agency for an effective technology transfer is conducting "School-on-the-Air" over the radio.  Through this "school-on-the-air", we taught farmers the appropriate agricultural technologies.  The farmers are being given examinations to assess the extent of knowledge they have gained through studying in the "school-on-the-air".  After the farmer-students successfully completed the module, graduation ceremonies are being held.  You coud see the happy faces of the farmers receiving their certificates of completion.  I could say that technology transfer using this strategy is effective.  Farm visit is another means to diffuse technology to the farmers but due to inadequate personnel in the field, this could not be religiously done.  To remedy this situation, local farmer technicians (LFTs) are being developed.   They are being trained extensively for them to become effective extensionists/disseminators of knowledge to their fellow farmers in their respective communities. To compensate them, they are being granted monetary incentives.  These LFTs are members of farmer cooperatives or associations. - Joyce Wendam        

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LTFs

Thanks for sharing this Joyce. It is interesting to see cooperatives moving in to fill the void in extension services. Do you know if the LTFs are trained in the use of ICT, or if ICT are part of their service provision?

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LFTs

Hi Sir Michael.  ICT is not part of the service provision of the LFTs.  These LFTs are being trained on the application of appropriate agricultural technologies, cultural practices, pests and diseases, Integrated Pest Management (IPM), palay check, organic agriculture and other relevant courses.  However, training as to the use of ICT like computers,  etc. are not part of the curriculum. But they know how to access the Farmers' Contact Center through the use of their mobile phones since this is widely disseminated to them.  Some of these LFTs are really asking to be trained on the use of computers.  When I attended  a farmers' forum few months ago, the LFTs in a certain municipality were requesting their Local Chief Executive to provide them with a training on the use of computer especially this internet thing.  They want to gain additional knowledge through the use of internet.  According to them, they need to know even the simple thing of turning on and off the computer.  A local State University was also there in the forum and the President of the SUC volunteered to train these LFTs.  Partnership and collaborative undertaking now come into the picture.  Instead of these LFTs going to the school to learn, it will be now the SUC bringing their cyber bus to the rural communities to conduct hands-on training on the use of computers. - Joyce Wendam

 

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On Technology Transfer

Aside from the Farmers Contact Center (FCC), we have another known as the Farmers Information Technology Services (FITS) Center.  Generally, the FITS Center aims to serve as a viable tool to facilitate faster access to information to fasttrack the delivery of services to clients in agriculture, forestry and natural resources

The FITS Center offers services on Rice Knowledge  Bank (RKB) utilization, information on Short Message System (SMS) utilization, video conferencing and other Information and Communication Technology (ICT)-based online transactions.

The center is also equipped with informaiton in print, techno CDs and other IEC materials.  FITS Centers also called Techno Pinoy Centers provide farmers and researchers fast access to information and technologies.   Technology services include technological training, technology clinics, linkage of clients with experts and financial institutions, technical assistance and consultancy and support for enterprise development.  Information services include technology information, exhibits of new products and technologies, internet, SMS, and FITS databases. 

The FITS ICT program provides infrastructure (computer with internet connection, printers, fax machines, camera, cellphones) for FITS researchers, clients and farmers.  It is the modality which provides immediate response to current problems and frequently asked questions.  It provides opportunities for capability enhancement through training and enables quick inquiry available from FITS-IS through the internet. 

As of January 2010, there are 630 FITS Centers around the country.  However, sustainability is the major issue here.  Unfortunately, some of the LGU-beneficiaries of the FITS Centers lack available funds to maintain the facility.  This project operates on a public-private partnership scheme with PCARRD providing the facilities and the LGUs with maintenance and operating expenses, etc. 

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Radio is strongly relevant in some context

Sometimes there is a tendency nowadays to disregard the functions of radio in the social media practice, because it seems that it is becoming obsolete in the urban sites due to the effect of more attractive and fascinating results of modern devices such as computers, televisions, and e-digital information systems.  However, reading some posts, it gives an impression that radio has still played indispensable role in bringing information especially to those distant and remote areas which other modern technologies can hardly be accessed and operated.  So we cannot disregard the use of it, depending indeed on the contextual reality.

I can recall my short radio program for the Filipino migrants abroad and it is also catering Filipinoseafarers' listeners on board, those who are being reached out with the short wave of Radio Veritas Asia (RVA).  Truly, there is an option in employing ICT in order to connect with the target beneficies of the program.

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Query

 I just would  like to ask,how can we help the farmers improved by the use ICT  if most of them are techno peasants?

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ict for farmers

such a tough question you have there, but I think, technology does cater to the needs of every possible individual, just as the first advertisement I saw on TV (if i remember it right) about cellular phone was catered for the deaf-mutes. now, it's not only them using celphones, but almost everyone out there, especially, in the Philippines!

what I'm trying to say is that, technology can and should be catered to the needs of its intended user to enable him/her to benefit and take advantage of the technology in whatever field of work he/she is in. 

 

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Education Is A Process

Like what SANSU said, imparting knowledge or sharing education is a process.  There is always a time for the beginners to recognize, appreciate, and learn the value of information, knowledge, and teaching.  There is also a time for harvesting and producing such investment of education.  Thus, I think, it is primarily the responsibility of the ICT educators to create suitable and effective methodologies that would be applicable to the so-called "techno peasant".  But then who are the "techno peasant"? As what previously being asked "what is techno peasant"?

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Query

Can you explain what ypou call a techno peasant???

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"Techno Peasant"

Hi Mr. Rondot:

I do agree with Dolores in her definition (the post below) of "techno peasant" and in relating it to the education perspective.  However, anyone could be a "techno peasant" for as long as the opportunity of learning modern technologies is still faraway.  Hence, "techno peasant" is not only the product producers or the farmers but it could be addressed to those who are unfamiliar with the knowledge and use of any of the high and advanced technology.

 

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ICT and techno peasant from a teacher's point of view

If what you mean by techno peasant is that farmers being not so well-versed with technology moreso, techno illiterate by virtue of lack of opportunity that is not formally being educated, then, I should say all the more ICT could help facilitate learning on the part of the farmers. I am actually thinking from the point of view of a teacher. Let's take the case of pre-schoolers. When they first stepped inside the four corners of the classrooms they could be likened to an empty vessels waiting to be filled. The creative teachers then start pouring in learnings done through colorful, meaningful, spirited activities then wala, the eager pre-schoolers learn! The point that I'm trying to drive here is that, multimedia presentations facilitated through the use of technology can now present complicated concepts in the simplest yet very interesting manner. If the little kids get to enjoy colorful and animated presentations and learn in the process, I strongly believe the techno peasants would definitely learn! (I just hope I'm making sense here.)

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Appropriate ICT

Thank you Dolores,

 

Thanks for bringing up the fact that diverse ICT technology exists and can be tuned to the diverse needs. For example, low cost videos for introducing/building awareness on new production practices or e.g., farmer testimonials on use of new things. Farmer interest groups and the likes have been provided with an access to low cost videos - these have generated interest and discussion, particularly if such discussion has been held in the presence of a resource person. DigitalGreen has good examples of this.

 

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DigitalGreen

I heard of this DigitalGreen from a colleague from India as a non-profit org that uses video as a medium in disseminating agricultural practices. Does DigitalGreen provide open source database of videos? Thanks.

-Arnel

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Open source?

Hi Arnel,

 

Thanks for the question. DigitalGreen has several vidoes in Youtube but at the moment I do not know whether all the videos are accessible. I'll find out.

 

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Access to DigitalGreen materials

Hi Arnel,

I received a response from DigitalGreen to my query.

Yes, all of our videos are available online for free. Its easier to
search/browse through the videos via our website
(http://videos.digitalgreen.org/) but they're also on our YouTube
channel (http://youtube.com/digitalgreenorg).

Hope this helps.

Riikka

 

 

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This is what knowledge should

This is what knowledge should be. Free and available to all...

Michael Riggs's picture
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availability and cost

Very good points. Can we build on these ideas with examples in practice?

How can ICT and organizations (like cooperatives, self-help groups, professional associations, etc.) together ensure that the information needed is available and accessible?

And how can ICT and organizations do this in a way that is affordable and sustainable?

Lucy Jasmin's picture
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Re availability and cost

Hi Michael,

I am inclined to think that availability and accessibility could be mainly a function of infrastructure which also largely determines affordability. There are many drivers of infrastructural improvements – policies that offer incentives to those in the telecoms industry to invest in more and better infrastructure; deregulation that will allow for more market competition which can result in more and affordable choices; private sector companies finding opportunities in bottom-of-pyramid marketing (e.g. paid SMS services to farmers on market prices such as the MFARM example in Kenya); etc.

Smallholder farmer organizations can form a network or link up with NGOs to advocate for such policies to be adopted by governments. They can also try to work with IGOs or funding institutions, or pursue partnerships to get support for ICT facilities and training that can facilitate information access and dissemination, education, and also the development of ICT-based solutions that address some of their farming concerns.

Most farmer organizations, as could be gleaned from the examples, share the costs and benefits of ICT access. The farmer who invested in a 3G mobile phone to access agricultural information on the Internet and who shares this via traditional modes of communication with the community is one such case.

Sustainability is also a factor of capacity (access) and capability (skills, competencies). Farmers will need to be educated or trained in ICT for its use to be sustainable. And again ICT private sector companies can be tapped for this as it is in their interest to develop and expand markets for their product and services.

At the intergovernmental level, capacity building in agriculture, as part of the broader issue of food security, is also being addressed whether in funding support, technology transfer and infrastructural development, including ICT.

 

Thanks,

Lucy

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Paradigm shift for agricultural workers

I agree with all your points and I do believe in them. I would just like to add that in every farming/fishing/agricultural community we work with, we are certainly dealing with "digital migrants or even digital refugees" unlike the urban people in any country who develop and/or born as digital natives. And yet in education there is this principle of readiness which has to be considered. Would these people be ready to shift their paradigms and proceed to new ways of thinking in contrast to their accepted traditional ways wherein they would have to spend more time, money, effort with the former? How could we adjust ICT to the fabric of their daily living? Would training them to use computers, tablets, phones be enough to spark an ICT revolution in agriculture?

Those are some of my questions I ask myself as I try to find solutions to what seems to be very obvious problems in e-agriculture.

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the "Why?" of e-Agriculture

Gerard, you ask the questions that are the reason the e-Agriculture Community came into existence 5 years ago. We hope that through the networking, information sharing, and focused discussions such as this forum, piece by piece we will find all the answers.

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Thank you Michael for putting

Thank you Michael for putting me in perspective, it makes me realize all the more the need for me to work harder to find pieces to the puzzle.

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Re: [e-Agriculture] Question 1 (opens 12 Nov.)

<html><head></head><body bgcolor="#FFFFFF"><div>My Inbox is getting flooded with info@e-agriculture emails containing individual participants comments. Since I read all those comments on your website, I have no need for the emails. Is there any way you can turn off that service, at least for me?<br>Regards,</div><div><br></div><div>John<br><br><div><br></div></div><div><br>On 17 Nov 2012, at 10:16, <a href="mailto:info@e-agriculture.org">info@e-agriculture.org</a> wrote:<br><br></div><div></div><blockquote type="cite"><div>

<meta http-equiv="Content-Type" content="text/html; charset=utf-8">

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Availability and cost - multistakeholder partnership solution

Hi Michael,

Here’s an example of how individuals, NGOs, private sector and community groups can come together to address the issue of availability and cost (and one more example of how the increasingly ubiquitous mobile phone is being used) this time focusing on smallholder farmers in the Amazon.

Brazil records one of the highest densities of mobile phone usage in the world where even remote areas of the Amazon River basin are provided 3G coverage. Building from a donation of smartphones made by Vivo, Brazil’s largest wireless provider, to residents of the Tapajós-Arapiuns Extractive Reserve, Harvard master’s student, Jeffrey Mansfield, has been exploring how these mobile phones can help communities in the Amazon, including agroforestry farmers.

The Tapajos-Arapiuns include fishermen, artisans and farmers who practice agroforestry, manage beehives and grow maize, onions, cassava, and tree fruits. These Amazon forest residents are also at risk of livelihood displacement by large-scale soybean operations that clear wide areas of endangered forests.

Mansfield has launched the Taking Charge project that will donate to the Amazon farmers mobile phones loaded with helpful apps as well as a user guide with information such as tips on beekeeping, husbandry, irrigation, trade, and new methods of sustainable agroforestry. Mansfield sees the project eventually enabling Amazon farmers to search the Internet for advice on do-it-yourself engineering projects (like tractor repair); to document their livelihoods and their lands, and any risks they face in relation to these; to receive weather information that can help predict rising water levels; to explore markets and know the best prices for their goods; and even to share their stories with the rest of the world.

As power supply in the region is costly and inadequate, Mansfield has partnered with an Amazon-based non-profit group called Portable Light Project. This NGO promotes the use of a lightweight, flexible solar fabric that comes with a rechargeable battery pack and a USB port which can power mobile phones, lights, and other USB-powered devices.

With inexpensive solar power and available 3G networks, Mansfield believes he has the “double confluence of factors” that could help to protect rain forests, improve the lives of farmers, and grant them some political voice.

 

(Source: http://news.harvard.edu/gazette/story/2012/11/taking-charge-with-cellpho...)

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access

Exactly, Andy; Take the case of DigitalGreen, I checked on DigitalGreen (thanks to Riikka for the link), a non-profit organization that works through a video-based platform in disseminating agricultural practices,  and I found out thousands of videos accessible for free on its web.

One of the sources I checked RE DigitalGreen is the case study of Glendenning and Ficarelli (2011) on content development and management processes of ICT initiatives in Indian agriculture; the study noted DigitalGreen's open access policy- videos are upoloaded on its website and on the social media- Youtube. Field data are uploaded and freely available through COCO- an open source website. Of the ICT initiatives they studied, only DigitalGreen and aAqua are openly available- DigitalGreen that provides open source database of videos and aAqua which stores archived Q & A.

This is certainly a matter of concern for the future development of ICT in agriculture- lack of access to digital repositories of agricultural information.

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aAqua

In my previous post on access/availability, I mentioned aAqua (almost ALL questions answered)- it is a free online multilingual, multimedia agricultural portal that provides agricultural and weather information and advisory through a farmer to expert Q & A service, the aAqua knowledge bank. Basically, it works through a Q & A service on an open online forum. Questions are posted by registered users to experts over the different spaces provided by the portal; anyone can answer questions, but this ICT project employs experts from Farm Science Centers, International Crops Research Institute, and several universities. Most of the questions raised are related to crop production.

Other ICT projects in agriculture:

- RML (Reuters Market Light), a private mobile-based service which sends SMS about market prices, weather and other agro-advisory to subscribed farmers' phones.

- IKSL (IFFCO KIsan Sanchar Limited), a value added service of the cellular service provider Airtel, in partnership with IFFCO (Indian Farmers Fertiliser Cooperative Limited), which delivers voice messages with similar information and also operates a helpline.

- Lifelines, a donor-funded project based on a question and answer (Q & A) interactice voice response system (IVRS).

- e-Sagu, an Asia Media-lab project that requires local staff to take digital photos of farmer fields, which are sent to experts who, in turn, provide the necessary advice.

 

Source: Glendenning, C.J., & Ficarelli, P.P. (2011). Content development and management processes of ICT initiatives in Indian agriculture. Information Development, 27(4), 301-314.

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access

Thank you very much. It's very interesting to know that more than 2 thousand videos have already been produced and are all accessible, and DigitalGreen partners with NGOs in the different states in India featuring farmers or farmer groups explaining or describing a particular technology or practice. I think this NGO partnership helps a lot in understanding user demands and in providing relevant content.

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