ICT4agriculture

ICT4agriculture

Senegal:

AN AGRIBUSINESS RURAL TECHHUB TO SUPPORT THE LOCAL TECH INNOVATION COMMUNITY

SenegalSenegal has a huge potential to create jobs in the agriculture sector, especially in horticulture where the country has an advantage in several factors such as the favorable weather and water conditions, the proximity to European markets with the availability of competitive transport by sea and air or the access to quality inputs. As part of a growth strategy based on ICT and telecom services, the Senegalese agricultural sector has in these last years shown an interest to modernize and take advantage of innovative tools to push the development of farmer incomes and job creation and to reduce crop losses, which significantly affect the income of farmers.

The public institutions need to support these kinds of initiatives and put in practice a national e-agriculture strategy, while the youth need to be empowered and trained to this field. Therefore, the aim of the Senegalese country unit is to respond to this need and create a concrete possibility to
explore the agribusiness sector in Senegal through an innovative perspective, where the youth will be the protagonist of the process and the local stakeholder institutions will be actively involved.

A psychical space and a virtual community

The selected pilot area of intervention is the region around Thiès, east of the capital Dakar and the envisioned platform of innovation is represented by Yeesal AgriHub, founded in 2016. The team has handed in the application documents for Yeesal Agrihub as a legally registered association
with 22 founding members, representing the core multidisciplinary community. With the legal identity, Yeesal will now be able to act as an official partner in collaboration and projects with other stakeholders. Their aim is to develop a synergy among young experts in ICTs and the farmers who practice livestock and agriculture in Senegal, in order to help them develop innovative solutions for the local needs of the community. They alsowant to raise awareness and sensitize the youth about the business possibilities in agriculture through the creation of a network to link them with successful local start-ups and training services.

First areas of interventions

A first needs assessment by the Yesaal members among small hold farmers in early 2016 for the agricultural innovations and services yet to emerge from the agribusiness tech-hub still needs to take place in a strong systematic fashion with more resources. But first indications of problem areas were identified as follows:

  • The general situation of the land issues, where lands are abandoned in the countryside while they could very well be exploited by youth who want to practice agribusiness
  • Organic farming and the lack of information for farmers to use alternative fertilizers and products to grow fruit and vegetable. A place of sensitization and a market of these products are also missing.
  • Senegalese people consume imported powder milk at the expense of local fresh milk. There is not a solid value chain of the sector, while there are several breeders around Thiès who could produce and sell milk within the region.

A living network of experts and makers

Several events and activities have been organized in the physical hub and the team is further developing its program for the community, for instance with a summer school on food security together with partner MakeSense and other events and trainings around entrepreneurship and agricultural concepts. They also aim to develop an online community platform providing access to agricultural information to Senegalese youth and representing the virtual space of the Yeesal community. As currently focused next community projects, the team has chosen to further develop a concept for an application as a solution to the aforementioned milk value chain challenge and potentially the development of a market-platform for organic food, requested by a local partner organization.

The Yeesal Agrihub project has within short time garnered a lot of attention through the efficient use of online social media, traditional mass media channels and pro-active networking with local stakeholders both from public, private sector and NGO. Still, the journey has only yet begun – a lot more can be expected from this community driven experiment once it gathers pace.

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...

Effects

  • 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