The Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTA) confirms closure by end of 2020.

Extent of ICT adoption by ACP farmers: the case of Somaliland

This working paper is a summary of the recent adoption of ICT for agriculture for effective production of honey and promotion of linkages between producers and consumers. The adoption of beekeeping practices and its application technology has expanded. To date, a number of honey producer cooperatives and companies are serving more than a million consumers. This case study provides a clear view of the benefits, challenges and limitations of ICT and the progress in smallholder farmers’ development.

ICT is important for Somaliland agriculture development and requires a long-term effort for its development. However, ICT and other technology for farming development are limited due to the instability of the Horn of Africa, particularly Somalia. ICT use has increased especially in terms of use of farmer mobile phones for communication and a few other applications. Expanding use of ICT has moved forward in the last two decades for smallholder farmers, although there has been inadequate provision of communication materials in training and mobilisation sessions in most development projects.

The Marketing Assistant Product Promotion project funded by the EC has promoted the application of ICT, including introduction of trade fairs, honey shows and radio clips, as well as fact sheets, biweekly business journals translated into both English and local languages. Trade fairs and their participation by smallholder farmers has become a regular event since then.

A beekeeping project funded by the EC and implemented by PI that used ICT in the project implementation included a number of honey trade fairs, beekeeping training courses, field visit days, honey shows, hand-outs, posters, films, videos, audio cassettes and publications with illustrations and translation into local languages; more than 5,000 beekeepers succeeded in starting beekeeping activities in the country through this initiative.

Honey trade fairs improved the price of products from US$8/kg to US$10/kg and audio-visual training materials received from project trainers were used to teach smallholder farmers lessons and activities on beekeeping. Simplifying technical topics and translating the material into local languages worked well for training of smallholder farmers. Both visual material and audio with illustrations training materials were used in the Somali region for the first time and were very effective. Proper application of all learned lessons from project trainings resulted in improved production of honey and bee products in the Horn of Africa.

Publishing of articles on beekeeping in local newspapers is continuously increasing; the readership are mainly people in urban areas and smallholder farmers in the main towns. During a trade and NGO fair in Somaliland some information paper/publications were distributed to visitors free-of-charge. Provision of technical assistance to develop the productivity of the agricultural sector through the use of ICT were tested and sharing of knowledge between farmers was increased. The aim was to provide skilled technical assistance to farmers in the short term. We held discussions to come up with solution to farmers’ problems.