Information and Communication Technologies
for agricultural development
and food value chains
I. What are ICTs? 4
I. 1. An infinite number of technologies and association of technologies 4
I. 2. Different ways of communicating using ICT 6
II. How to apply ICTs in development projects 9
in agriculture and food valuechains? 9
II. 1. Case analysis in agricultural development and value chains 9
II. 2. How to choose the best suited technology for your project? 16
II. 3. Information and services for rural farmers 17
III. Challenges, opportunities and future trends 17
III. 1. Challenges 17
III. 2. Opportunities and future trends 17
III. 3. State of ICTs in Latin America 17
Together the Catholic Relief Services (CRS), the Centro Agronómico Tropical de Investigación y Enseñanza (CATIE), Swiss contact, SNV (Netherlands’ Development Organization) and the Centro Internacional de Agricultura Tropical (CIAT) have engaged in agricultural rural development. Their project of learning alliances focused on the analysis of food value chains that is, theprocess and actors involved in production processing, trade and end consumption of food products. In terms of development, value chains offer various opportunities to improve the living and production conditions of the people involved in the value chains. The learning alliance has been working for the analysis and improvement of various supply chains in Latin America and for small farmers’ betterintegration. This work has led to the identification of key leverage points in the value chain.
In today’s supply chains, companies involve in long-term relationships with their clients and suppliers for competitiveness, superior logistic organization and effective win-win coalition among the partners. In this context, the relationships and integration of all the actors from the farmer to the endconsumer are essential and demand broad communication and information exchange. Additionally, the inclusion of numerous smallholders into the value chain requires farmers to meet standards of quality and consistency. The results of the analysis of the food value chains conducted by the learning alliance demonstrated the lack of information and communication as a major weakness and the lack ofindispensable services provided to farmers. Farmers need Market information, climatic and agronomic real-time surveys, technological advancements and other information and communication services for their integration and an equitable participation in the value chain.
The global improvements of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) offer new forms of managing relations and addressingfarmers’ needs. The learning alliance has now engaged in a new step of the project and proposes to develop an information and communication program by the use of information and knowledge management systems and technologies. Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) have been recently used in a broad range of development projects ranging from emergency management, health care, food security topeace building. They are considered as critical tools to address major constraints encountered by actors of development. Particularly, their use in agriculture focuses on enhancing skills and knowledge of small holder farmers and improving smallholder value chains competitiveness and flourish. It demands the innovative application of adapted ICTs in the rural domain for accurate, timely relevantinformation and services to farmers facilitating an environment for more remunerative agriculture. ICT for agricultural development have been presented and applied in various forms, to address farmers’ needs, in different regions. As a recent and constantly evaluating field, connected agriculture for development has encountered successes, failures, solutions and challenges. The challenges for...