To explore interdisciplinary approaches in ICT4ag for small-holder farmers.

Rural areas in developing countries have been facing new challenges and complex situations in recent years. Food security, lack of access to markets and a lack of access to information and knowledge are among the common problems faced by the rural population, especially small-scale farmers.

But at the same time, information and communication technology (ICT) has become an enabling factor, opening up new horizons and opportunities that enhance innovation and productivity among farmers at a grass roots level. Furthermore, ICT enables innovative enterprises and new business models to be created, together with new means of local development.

Developed countries need to innovate in terms of ICT too, and exchange information with different partners worldwide in order to identify better solutions. The innovation factory is a collaborative effort that brings together initiatives in Ethiopia, Germany, Indonesia and Senegal to develop ICT innovation based on actual needs and localities. As a result, the country units are providing new concepts and approaches in order to propose shared solutions in both a local and a global context.

Prototyping new forms of tech innovations for small scale farming

Young Innovators from Africa, Asia and Europe collaborate to explore ICT for agriculture (ICT4Ag) solutions in each of their specific local contexts. The framework is provided by the Innovation Factory programme.

A main aim of the of the Innovation Factory programme in the field of rural development and agriculture is the creation of innovative concepts of how technology can benefit small hold farmers in the local context of each of four selected target countries Ethiopia, Germany, Indonesia and Senegal. This global initiative is commissioned by the German Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and implemented by GIZ in cooperation with a network of local organizations and individuals. Since October 2015, the teams have set up national networks of experts and stakeholders including members of small-holder farmer communities, working on the ground to identify needs, to share knowledge and experience and to develop ideas for solutions that are suitable and sustainable within each local setting.

The implementation of novel technologies is often a delicate and difficult matter and small-hold farmers in rural areas are a particularly challenging target group as concerns the adoption of ICT services. Therefore, it is important to develop appropriate technologies based on the actual needs, cultural, environmental and infrastructural constraints of each particular target group.

Key to the success of the Innovation Factory approach is the interdisciplinary composition of the local innovation platforms and the bottom-up organization of these same stakeholder networks. Each national team integrates experts from a diverse spectrum of professional fields such as research, business, engineering, design and agricultural production, each contributing with a unique perspective towards the challenge and participating on their own accord in collaboration with each other.

To find out more about the projects, click on the flags below.

Ethiopia ICT4agriculture Ethiopia

ICT Entrepreneurship and the Honey Value Chain in Ethiopia
The Ethiopian Innovation Factory team has examined indepth all stages of the honey production value chain and their related stakeholders with the intent of identifying potentially fruitful challenges of technology-based interventions. The team intends to both support the further development of existing apicultural techniques and traditions, but also to involve the private sector in bolstering of the honey value chain by developing a new ecosystem for entrepreneurship and innovation around the value chain in order to facilitate the sustainable development of context appropriate ICT solutions for the Ethiopian honey production sector.... Read more...

Germany ICT4agriculture Germany

Low-tech for community supported agriculture in Germany
The German country unit of the Innovation Factory programme has chosen to focus on the growing movement of a variety of small groups of citizens who aim to organize local and regional food self sufficiency. Under the terms of Urban Gardening, Transition Town or Community-Supported Agriculture, people with and without an agricultural background gather to realize a “non-industrial and marketneutral” agriculture. In this form of alternative agriculture, the use of large-scale machinery and industrial production processes is not wanted and often not financially feasible.... Read more...

Indonesia ICT4agriculture Indonesia

Indigenous Culture and Rural Techies in Indonesia
While the recent large-scale introduction of new affordable and accessible ICT hardware and software solutions to most economic sectors across the globe promise benefits of prospering economies and rapid societal development, they also carry with them a great risk of destroying prevailing cultural and social structures and thereby pose athreat especially to the continued existence of vulnerable indigenous cultures and traditional rural communities in developing countries. What have made ICTs especially prevalent and interesting recently are their dramatically increased afffordability, accessibility, and adaptability, most notably considering the boom of mobile communication devices and networks. ... Read more...

Senegal ICT4agriculture Senegal

Youth, ICT & Agribusiness in Senegal
Although agriculture is commonly predicted to remain the dominant sector to sustain economic growth in Africa for the coming decades, offering a vast array of business opportunities and sources of income for local youth, large amounts of young Africans still chose to leave their families’ rural farms in search for uncertain success in the city. On the other hand, young urban professionals from the IT- and related tech-sectors have still not been sensitized to the great need of technological innovations in agriculture and food-production. To bridge these awareness and knowledge gaps, a community of young people in the Senegalese town of Thiès had the idea to establish an agricultural technology innovation hub named “Yesaal Agrihub” as a focal point for IT-based technological innovation within the Senegalese agribusiness scene. Read more...


  • Key persons are ready to engage in the innovation factory
  • Competences in project planning and implementation are improved
  • Learn from one another
  • Organisational, financial and human resource requirements are available
  • Self organisation
  • Joint project planning