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World Bank Group Report: Supporting Women’s Agro-Enterprises in Africa with ICT. A feasibility study in Zambia and Kenya

Pietro Aldobrandini's picture

A new generation of information and communication technologies (ICTs) is finding a small foothold among poor, small-scale farmers in developing countries. Even so, many barriers still prevent poor rural people from accessing, using, and bene fi ting from new ICT tools and platforms, and those barriers are arguably higher for rural women. The relationship between gender and agriculture has been studied intensively over the years, and many agricultural interventions now include gender as a crosscutting issue or “mainstream” gender throughout their operations. Studies of the relationship between gender and the use of ICTs in agriculture have started to appear only quite recently, however. The Africa Region of the World Bank views ICTs as potentially transformative technology for rural development and seeks to incorporate the use of ICTs throughout its portfolio of projects. The present study was designed to examine the feasibility of integrating ICTs into two large investment programs: the Irrigation Development and Support Project (IDSP) in Zambia and the Kenya Agricultural Productivity and Agribusiness Project (KAPAP). The speci fi c goal was to examine how ICT-based interventions might be designed to strengthen women’s participation in commodity value chains under the two projects. IDSP, implemented by the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock in Zambia, was o ffi cially launched in November 2012. During the fi eld research for this study, IDSP was conducting its own feasibility studies, discussing the land consolidation and resettlement process for developing the irrigation schemes, establishing public-private partnerships related to the schemes, and creating Participatory Site Committees. In contrast, KAPAP, coordinated by the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, and Fisheries, was in its second phase (2010–14) of operation, scheduled to end in December 2014. IDSP operates at three sites: Mwomboshi (Chibombo District, Central Province); Lusitu (Chirundu District, Lusaka Province); and Musakashi (Mufulira District, Copperbelt Province). KAPAP operates in 20 counties, where it supports 4,216 Common Interest Groups (CIGs) in 36 commodity value chains, with the goal of aggregating those groups into larger farmer cooperatives or societies. This study focuses on three of those counties: Makueni, Kwale, and Gucha/Kisii.