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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

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Jenny C. Aker, 2011. " Dial “A” for Agriculture: A Review of Information and Communication Technologies for Agricultural Extension in Developing Countries - Working Paper 269," Working Papers 269, Center for Global Development.
  • Handle: RePEc:cgd:wpaper:269
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    File URL: http://www.cgdev.org/files/1425497_file_Aker_A_for_Agriculture_FINAL.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Jenny C. Aker & Isaac M. Mbiti, 2010. "Mobile Phones and Economic Development in Africa," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 24(3), pages 207-232, Summer.
    2. 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, September.
    3. 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.
    4. 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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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Evita Pangaribowo & Nicolas Gerber & Pascal Tillie, 2013. "Assessing the FNS impacts of technological and institutional innovations and future innovation trends," FOODSECURE Working papers 11, LEI Wageningen UR.
    2. Van Campenhout, Bjorn & Vandevelde, Senne & Walukano, Wilberforce & Van Asten, Piet, 2016. "Agricultural extension messages using video on portable devices: Increase knowledge about seed selection and seed storage and handling among smallholder potato farmers in southwestern Uganda," IFPRI discussion papers 1573, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    3. Babu, Suresh Chandra & 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).
    4. Fisher, Monica & Holden, Stein T. & Katengeza, Samson P., 2017. "Adoption of CA technologies among Followers of Lead Farmers: How Strong is the Influence from Lead Farmers?," CLTS Working Papers 7/17, Norwegian University of Life Sciences, Centre for Land Tenure Studies.
    5. Sekabira, Haruna & Qaim, Matin, 2016. "Mobile Money, Agricultural Marketing, and Off-Farm Income in Uganda," Discussion Papers 234998, Georg-August-Universitaet Goettingen, GlobalFood, Department of Agricultural Economics and Rural Development.
    6. Larochelle, Catherine & Alwang, Jeffrey & Travis, Elli, 2016. "Did you really get the message? Using text reminders to stimulate adoption of agricultural technologies," 2016 Annual Meeting, July 31-August 2, 2016, Boston, Massachusetts 235423, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
    7. 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.
    8. Davis, Kristin & Babu, Suresh Chandra & Blom, Sylvia, 2014. "Building the resilience of smallholders through extension and advisory services:," IFPRI book chapters,in: Fan, Shenggen & Pandya-Lorch, Rajul & Yosef, Sivan (ed.), 2013 Global Food Policy Report, chapter 15 International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    9. Frank Phillipo & Magreth Bushesha & Zebedayo S. K. Mvena, 2015. "Adaptation strategies to climate variability and change and its limitations to smallholder farmers. A literature search," Asian Journal of Agriculture and rural Development, Asian Economic and Social Society, vol. 5(3), pages 77-87, March.
    10. Lambrecht, Isabel & Ragasa, Catherine, 2016. "Do development projects crowd out private-sector activities? A survival analysis of contract farming participation in northern Ghana," IFPRI discussion papers 1575, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Agriculture; agricultural extension; information technology; program evaluation;

    JEL classification:

    • D1 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior
    • I2 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education
    • O1 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development
    • O3 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights

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