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.
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