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Dial “A” for Agriculture: A Review of Information and Communication Technologies for Agricultural Extension in Developing Countries - Working Paper 269

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  • Jenny C. Aker
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    Abstract

    Agriculture can serve as an important engine for economic growth in developing countries, yet yields in these countries have lagged far behind those in developed countries for decades. One potential mechanism for increasing yields is the use of improved agricultural technologies, such as fertilizers, seeds and cropping techniques. Public-sector programs have attempted to overcome information-related barriers to technological adoption by providing agricultural extension services. While such programs have been widely criticized for their limited scale, sustainability and impact, the rapid spread of mobile phone coverage in developing countries provides a unique opportunity to facilitate technological adoption via information and communication technology (ICT)-based extension programs. This article outlines the potential mechanisms through which ICT could facilitate agricultural adoption and the provision of extension services in developing countries. It then reviews existing programs using ICT for agriculture, categorized by the mechanism (voice, text, internet and mobile money transfers) and the type of services provided. Finally, we identify potential constraints to such programs in terms of design and implementation, and conclude with some recommendations for implementing field-based research on the impact of these programs on farmers’ knowledge, technological adoption and welfare.

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    File URL: http://www.cgdev.org/files/1425497_file_Aker_A_for_Agriculture_FINAL.pdf
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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by Center for Global Development in its series Working Papers with number 269.

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    Length: 37 pages
    Date of creation: Sep 2011
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:cgd:wpaper:269

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    Web page: http://www.cgdev.org

    Related research

    Keywords: Agriculture; agricultural extension; information technology; program evaluation;

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    References

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    1. Arega D. Alene & V. M. Manyong, 2006. "Farmer-to-farmer technology diffusion and yield variation among adopters: the case of improved cowpea in northern Nigeria," Agricultural Economics, International Association of Agricultural Economists, vol. 35(2), pages 203-211, 09.
    2. Jenny C. Aker, 2010. "Information from Markets Near and Far: Mobile Phones and Agricultural Markets in Niger," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 2(3), pages 46-59, July.
    3. Anderson, Jock R. & Feder, Gershon & Ganguly, Sushma, 2006. "The rise and fall of training and visit extension : an Asian mini-drama with an African epilogue," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3928, The World Bank.
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    Cited by:
    1. Adamides, G. & Stylianou, A., 2013. "ICT and Mobile Phone Use for Agricultural Knowledge Sharing by Cypriot Farmers," AGRIS on-line Papers in Economics and Informatics, Czech University of Life Sciences Prague, Faculty of Economics and Management, vol. 5(2), June.
    2. Babu, Suresh C. & Joshi, P.K. & Glendenning, Claire J. & Kwadwo, Asenso-Okyere & Rasheed, Sulaiman V., 2013. "The State of Agricultural Extension Reforms in India: Strategic Priorities and Policy Options," Agricultural Economics Research Review, Agricultural Economics Research Association (India), vol. 26(2).

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