Information & Telecommunication Technologies for Agriculture

5 05 2009
A woman Illustrated how to use her mobile phone to get updates of farm produce market prices.

A woman farmer Illustrates how to use her mobile phone to get updates of farm produce market prices during a face-to-face meeting.

The question as of whether “Information and Telecommunication Technologies can be used as a major tool in fighting poverty across all sectors in Africa and the rest of the world” is finding answers to itself. The different technologies, software and tools designed with varying sets of functionality where “we are our own limits” have increased on the innovativeness of people who have access to these resources!

Well this is not news really, but if its news to you then you are probably asking yourself how this is possible (Information and Telecommunication Technology for Agriculture?).

Meanwhile, in Uganda today the ICT4 Development, ICT4 Education and ICT4 women have already set off. And many new ideas have been applied in the relevant fields.

Kubere Information Centre is a nongovernmental organization in Apac district (Northern Uganda) established under the project ““Enhancing Access to Agricultural Information using Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs)” whose

Women farmers testing the SMS application.

Women farmers testing the SMS application.

primary target is rural women farmers in Apac District, with partner women groups in Gulu, Lira and Oyam Districts.

The project is one of Women of Uganda Network’s (WOUGNET) activities. This project is conducted with generous financial support from the Technical Centre for Agriculture (CTA) and Hivos is funding one of Women of Uganda Network’s projects under the Kubere Information Centre (KIC) to promote Agriculture in Apac District of northern Uganda.

Most of the farmers under this project were producing on a small scale but now as empowered groups, they produce on a comparatively bigger scale. Their mother language is “Luo” however a few learnt farmers can speak English.  These farmers were divided into small groups according to their area of residence. And each group was given a mobile phone to simplify communication amongst the groups and with the Kubere Information Centre.

Kubere Information Centre was put in place to monitor the activities of these women groups and also to avail them with all the necessary agricultural information. KIC also answers most of the farmer questions through a QAS (Question and Answer System). The centre makes sure that all answers to questions are provided in both English and Luo. KIC has also built a website with “local content” (with two languages; English and Luo) to enable all farmers to harness the opportunities availed by ICTs.

Through partnership with Radio Apac, KIC has also been able to prepare weekly radio scripts and aired live on radio

Women farmers listen to a radio show while Kubere Information Centre staff take their questions.

Women farmers listen to a radio show while Kubere Information Centre staff take their questions.

interactive radio shows/programs with experts in farming/agriculture enabling rural farmers in Apac, Gulu, Lira and Oyam district to share ideas with a wider community.

Other activities include face-to-face meetings with the women farmers, use of SMS to get updates on market prices and the sourcing relevant agricultural information from the internet.

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