Policies, Markets & ICTs

Projects

Promoting the application of ICTs for value chains development and ARD policy and strategy processes

Project overview

ICTs can play a critical role in both supporting stakeholders in influencing ARD policy processes and strategies and value chain development. While conventional media such as print publication, radio and TV are still very much used in ACP countries, the ubiquity since ten years of ICTs - in particular mobile devices - has considerably transformed the way in which people exchange information and interact with each other. Indeed, the new ‘ICT4D’ environment has been dominated by two major developments: (i) the explosive growth and proliferation of mobile phone technologies and supporting wireless infrastructures and (ii) the further penetration of the Internet and the rise of social media. 

These new tools offer great opportunities for sharing experiences and information, for giving a voice to the public and for creating economic opportunities for rural communities, including to women and youth. However the latter only marginally benefit from the potentials linked to the adoption of ICTs. Therefore CTA, as leader in this particular area, will continue to promote the accessibility, and the strategic and effective use of ICTs among its direct beneficiaries to stimulate their active participation in policy processes (including climate change adaptation and mitigation) and agricultural value chains.

The project will be implemented through three interrelated components:

Enhancing institutional and grassroots ICT capacity to influence ARD policy processes and value chain development (VCD)

M-Apps for agriculture, web 2.0 and social media are now widely available and play an increasingly important role in ARD policy processes and VCD. Participatory spatial information management and communication (PGIS) has proved to be extremely effective in giving a voice and authority to grassroots concerns and aspirations when it comes to spatially defined issues (e.g. climate change adaptation, land use planning, land grabbing). The adoption of participatory Geographic Information Technologies (GITs) coupled to acquired skills in using Social Media has proved to enable grassroots communities to add value and authority to their local knowledge and to ‘have a voice’ in policy processes.

Web 2.0 and social media allow development actors to easily relating to peers and other stakeholders, strengthening networks, having selective access to information, producing and publishing own content and redistributing content released by others. M-Apps for agriculture play an important role in connecting the nodes and supporting actors along the VC in taking informed decisions.

This component builds on the broad experience CTA has gained over the last years in supporting the adoption and institutionalization of Web 2.0 and Social Media, and introducing PGIS practice. Its support to the adoption of ICT-related innovation has contributed to CTA’s worldwide reputation in these domains.

Fostering ICT-enabled innovation and entrepreneurship in agriculture by young men and women

Youth currently make up 125 million of rural ACP population and two thirds of the population of Sub-Sahara Africa are under 25.  Unemployment and working poverty are major problems among youth. While agriculture is still the largest job provider in Africa in particular, the younger generation is not attracted to it because of its image, insecurity and lack of competitiveness. The enhanced development of ICT services in the agricultural sector has the potential to improve that image, the competitiveness of the sector and to attract more young people. ICTs have proved effective to stimulate young people’s interest in agriculture and created added value at various levels: for instance, ICTs offer new marketing tools to enhance more than in the past (youth-led) agricultural businesses; and brings about ICT-enabled agricultural value chain opportunities (mobile applications, market information systems and other related services).

This component will build on activities successfully implemented in the past while focusing on support and facilitation of youth ICT innovations and entrepreneurship in agriculture; it will take into account key recommendations on the CTA youth strategy (2013-2017) and CTA Gender Strategy 2014. 

Promoting Enabling Environments and Uptake of ICT Solutions 

While ICTs can play and are playing a critical role in both supporting stakeholders in influencing ARD policy processes and strategies, and value chain development, the uptake of these technologies by millions of smallholder farmers, pastoralists, fishers, etc. remains very low in many developing countries. The promotion of enabling strategies, better infrastructure, and low-cost, low-energy products and services that ensure affordable ICT access by ARD stakeholders, is also an important concern.

This component therefore intends to facilitate access to thriving ICT solutions by promoting sound enabling environments, and increased uptake of the solutions by ACP stakeholders through a series of activities to address the problems mentioned above.