Agriculture and Rural Development

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12 Νοε 2013 (πριν από 3 χρόνια και 8 μήνες)

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Mobile Applications in

Agriculture and Rural Development

Framing the Topic, and Learning from Experience

Kerry S. McNamara

Scholar in Residence, School of Communication

American University, Washington DC


Workshop on Mobile Innovations for Social and Economic Transformation

World Bank, September 16, 2009

1

Structure of my presentation

1.
Framing the topic: how should we
approach thinking about mobile’s impact
on agriculture and rural development?

2.
Evidence, Scale and Replication: the
ongoing challenges

3.
The ICT for Agriculture Sourcebook:
purpose, structure, topics


2

1. Framing the Topic

Why is the mobile revolution so important

for agriculture and rural development?


The vicious circle of rural poverty


Physical isolation; poor infrastructure; few services; few assets; weak
access to appropriate and affordable inputs


The significant
intangible

dimensions of rural poverty


Weak access to information and communication; poorly
-
functioning
markets and institutions; poor knowledge flows; weak opportunities for
collective action; high information and transaction costs


The growing challenges, and opportunities, of “the new Agriculture”


The growing importance of timely information and response


The increasing integration of regional and global agricultural value
chains


The volatility of commodity markets and the challenge of food security


The
virtuous

circle of access, affordability, appliance innovation and
applications


Access: the growing mobile coverage of developing country populations
thanks to innovations in network design, hardware, financing


Affordability: the combination of pre
-
paid service and cheaper devices


Appliance innovation: multi
-
format, multi
-
function


Applications: the unanticipated virtues of low
-
tech (SMS)



3

1. Framing the Topic

K
ey dimensions of
ICT’s

potential contribution

to agriculture and rural development

(and a few examples)


Increasing smallholder productivity and incomes
(Reuters Market Light, India;
Life Lines, India; Mali
Shambani

interactive radio program, Kenya; National Farmers Information Service, Kenya)


Making agricultural markets more efficient and transparent
(
Esoko/TradeNet
; Jenny Aker research on mobile impact on grain markets in Niger; Kenya Agricultural
Commodities Exchange;
Xam

Marse
, Senegal)


Linking poor farmers to urban, regional and global markets


Improving services and governance for the rural poor


Promoting


and including smallholders in


agricultural innovation


Helping farmers manage a range of risks


Improving land and natural resource management and addressing
environmental pressures


Helping poor farmers participate in higher
-
value agriculture


Supporting the emergence of a more diverse rural economy, and
supporting rural family decisions about their mix of productive
activities

4

1. Framing the Topic

The Best Interventions begin with a proper definition

of the problem and clear design principles


The problem is not “lack of ICT”; focus on the information, communication,
transaction, monitoring and/or networking dimensions of the problem being
addressed, and how ICT


appropriately adapted and sustainably deployed


can assist


When thinking about “M”, focus on mobility, not mobiles


Be clear about when and why mobility is a virtue (timeliness? customization?
empowerment? Multi
-
directionality?)


Focus on applications/services, not devices (“access” to what?)


The importance of “platform agnosticism”


The newest tool or application is not automatically the best


The vital importance of a locally
-
contextual understanding of the
rural
information economy

in a given place and its constraints.
H
ow is information
--

broadly defined
--

produced, valued, exchanged and consumed
in a given context?
How can mobiles and/or other
ICTs

promote innovation and improvement in
that information economy? (
ICTs

don’t produce valuable information; people,
markets, firms and institutions do.)


The importance of thinking about policy and regulation in a cross
-
sectoral

way


many of the key enablers of success in using ICT in ARD entail several
different areas of policy and regulation

5

2. Evidence, Replication, Scale: the ongoing challenges

The Evidence Gap in ICT4D


What works? How do we know?


The relatively recent penetration/adaptation of mobile services in rural
areas means that we still rely heavily on anecdote and pilot “successes”,
although more robust evidence/analysis is starting to emerge (including
the other presentations in this session!)


Shifting the focus of analysis from access and use to impact


The inherent challenges in drawing robust conclusions about
ICT’s

impact (mobile phones are not like vaccines), and the (often
-
difficult)
strategies for addressing these challenges (e.g. randomization)


What lessons can we draw from a “success”?


Thinking about which lessons to draw from the Kerala fisheries case
study


The challenge of teasing out the contribution of other enabling
conditions


“Success” of a pilot does not automatically equal “solution” to the
problem the pilot was trying to address


6

2. Evidence, Replication, Scale: the ongoing challenges

“Replication” and its ambiguities: cautionary questions at
the design and implementation stages



Is replication applying the same ICT intervention, effecting
the same desired change (e.g. in resources, capacities,
networks), or achieving the same outcome (e.g. productivity,
incomes, price stability) ?


How much do local context, local enabling conditions and
local practices matter?


The importance of making explicit the “theory of change”
behind an intervention (and of having one in the first place!)


The added challenge/opportunity of rapid innovation in ICT
devices/applications/services and the peril of replicating
yesterday’s success


Duplicating innovation or re
-
creating the conditions for
innovation elsewhere?



7

2. Evidence, Replication, Scale: the ongoing challenges

The puzzle of “scale”


Since many ICT interventions begin as pilots, the challenge of
knowing what and how to “scale” is particularly troublesome


At the pilot level, was the intervention a “workaround” of a
problem that, at scale, should be addressed differently?


Will the impact change (or wash out) at scale?


At scale, would a different intervention be more effective at
achieving the desired result? Even a non
-
technological
intervention? (e.g. policy changes, shift in public finance priorities,
institutional capacity, etc.)


Letting the market (for innovation) decide: creating the conditions
for multiple solutions to emerge and compete (particularly given
the rapid pace of technological change)


engineering the enabling
conditions for innovation rather than engineering the innovations

8

3. The ICT for Agriculture Sourcebook

Overview


Modeled on several other successful ARD Sourcebooks
(Agriculture Investment Sourcebook, Gender in
Agriculture Sourcebook)


A Resource for Task Teams and Bank staff


and their
country counterparts


seeking to integrate ICT
effectively in ARD operations, country programs and
policy dialogue


A synthesis of good practice, key design principles, data,
evidence and examples across a range of sub
-
sectors


Status: PCN approved; module teams being formed;
funding (Government of Finland TF) being finalized; first
modules expected Spring 2010; goal to complete
Sourcebook in FY11

9

3. The ICT for Agriculture Sourcebook

Structure, format, modes of delivery


Composed of a series of Modules on specific sub
-
sectors, along with
an Overview/Framework chapter and related resource materials


Each Module consists of:


Module overview (6
-
8 pages) giving the general context;


A series of Topic sections, each consisting of:


A 6
-
8 page Topic Note


A 4
-
6 page Innovative Practices Summary


Sourcebook will be delivered in both print and electronic formats, and
provisions will be made for ongoing updating of the electronic version
(including community/Wiki tools)


Each Module (and each Topic within a module) will be separately
downloadable, so users can pull out those sections most relevant to
them


Overall Sourcebook project co
-
managed by ARD (
Eija

Pehu
) &
infoDev

(Tim Kelly); a Task Force including colleagues from across the Bank
Group plus selected outside experts will guide the overall project


Teams from across the Bank Group are being recruited to take
leadership on individual Modules

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3. The ICT for Agriculture Sourcebook

Proposed Module Structure

1.
Introduction/Framework: the contribution of
ICT to developing country agriculture

2.
Design and Implementation of Effective ICT
-
for
-
agriculture projects: principles and tools

3.
Improving Smallholder Productivity with ICT

4.
Strengthening Agricultural Markets with ICT

5.
ICT and Rural Finance

6.
Strengthening Rural Governance, Institutions and
Collective Action with ICT

7.
Making ICT infrastructure, appliances and
services more accessible and affordable in rural
areas


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3. The ICT for Agriculture Sourcebook

Proposed Module Structure (continued)

8.
Anytime, Anywhere: mobile devices and services and
their Impact on agriculture and rural development

9.
Strengthening and diversifying agricultural research,
extension, advisory services and innovation through
ICT

10.
Building stronger and more inclusive agricultural value
chains

11.
Global Markets, Global Challenges: improving food
safety and traceability while empowering small
producers

12.
ICT for Land Administration and Natural Resource
Management

13.
Managing environmental risk in agriculture: ICT for
monitoring and early warning

12

Thanks!

Questions, suggestions, follow
-
up?

mcnamara@american.edu

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