The Rice Advice application is already being used by 17,000

16.06.2017

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Poor farming practices are among the numerous reasons for low productivity in sub-Saharan Africa. However, a major share of farmers only have limited access to information and knowledge, also owing to insufficient numbers of extension workers. The article below uses the example of the rice and cocoa value chain to show how mobile-based ICT solutions can contribute to closing this gap.

Sub-Saharan Africa is one of the poorest regions in the world in terms of living standards. Over 60 per cent of the population are considered extremely poor, earning less than two US dollars per day per person. The population in rural areas mostly engage in farming, and their agricultural productivity is generally low. Thus, enhancing agricultural productivity is essential for improving livelihoods and food security. Reasons for low productivity include biophysical factors (e.g. poor soil fertility, variable weather conditions), constraints related to policies, markets, and institutional arrangements and poor farming practices, the issue this article focuses on.

Having access to information and knowledge is a key driver for improving farming practices. But limited numbers of public extension workers in sub-Saharan Africa mean that farmers often have only poor access to extension services, or none at all. At less than 3,000:1, the ratio between farmers and extension workers does not allow intensive and individual assistance.

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