Increases in agricultural production benefit both the local farmer and helps food supply keep pace with population growth. Agricultural support services assist farmers in adapting to climate change with new cultivation techniques, follow market prices and understand prevailing weather conditions.
Through traditional extension services information is slow to permeate. In Uganda there is just one extension officer for 46,000 farmers. Mobile telecoms offer a way to support rural agricultural development by providing information direct to farmers. As a complement to extension workers mobile phones and applications can act as a conduit for locally relevant information to farmers who do not have either physical or financial access to these resources through the current extension services.
As of 2010 the mobile phone penetration rate in Africa was 68% - over 3.8 billion subscriptions. This figure continues to grow every year as network coverage expands and prices for data fall.
SIANI, the Swedish International Agricultural Network Initiative (www.siani.se) is organizing a seminar looking into the future potential for scaling up these services. Specifically, can the technical hardware cope with greater user demands? Is it possible to provide locally relevant content over an increasingly wider area? And how can these entrepreneurs develop a sustainable business model for the long term. There are huge opportunities in this sector for improvements in agricultural productivity and livelihood resilience and future food security if the support is right. The event will be an opportunity to bring together African actors with the Swedish development and private sector.
Date: 29th May 2012 09.00 – 12.00
Location: Hörsalen - Sida, Stockholm,
You can download the Seminar Programme here: http://www.siani.se/images/stories/SIANI_Events/Invitation_Mobile_phones_and_agriculture.pdf
Please contact Matthew Fielding for more information