The COVID-19 outbreak has created extreme vulnerability in the agriculture sector, impacting farmer livelihoods and resilience, food security, and agricultural market systems. Current disruptions—such as COVID-19—and future crises are presenting threats to the food supply chain. Because of this, global, local, and government organizations are increasing the application of digital tools and introducing new innovations to provide technical assistance to farmers from distance, when traditional in-person agricultural extension is impossible.
While this pandemic presents many challenges, it also creates opportunities for digital tools to better serve farmers, as well as be adapted to assist public health responses, and prepare for new agricultural needs that arise.
This webinar, part of the virtual edition of the ICT4D Conference and ongoing ICT4D webinar series, discussed low cost digital and mobile technologies to support farmers under these unprecedented circumstances.
Discussion topics included:
- Applying digital technology to provide smallholder farmers with customized and actionable information to improve their livelihoods
- How to adapt your services to provide new COVID-related information and provide solutions to COVID-related market disruptions?
- How to better understand and respond to (changing) farmers’ needs with real-time feedback mechanisms?
- How to build trust of farmers/program users at a distance?
- How have you or will you adapt your user-centered design in this rapidly changing context?
- Funding of digital technologies to help farmers weather the COVID storm
- Future outlook: could this be an opportunity to disrupt the traditional agricultural extension system for more effective approached?
- Dr. Anthony Whitbread, Research Program Director, Innovation Systems for the Drylands and Country Representative of Tanzania, The International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT)
- Erna Goudt, Client Relationship Manager, eProd Solutions Ltd Jonathan Lehe, Chief Development Officer and Director of New Programs, Precision Agriculture for Development (PAD)
- Ram Kiran Dhulipala, Theme Leader, Digital Agriculture and Youth, Innovation Systems for the Drylands, The International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT)
- Moderator Sonja Ruetzel, ICT4D Partnerships and Conference Manager, Catholic Relief Services