219. Building e-Extension Platform to Develop African Agriculture
In many African countries, agricultural extension workers provide technical guidance to farmers but the agricultural extension system has not been established yet due to lack of government budget and other challenges such as the insufficient skills and knowledge of agricultural extension workers. Furthermore, restrictions on the use of public transportation and movement under the COVID-19 pandemic not only further limited the extension workers’ routine contact with farmers, but also in providing farmers with input materials such as seeds and chemical fertilizers that are indispensable for agriculture.
In recent years, there is an increasing expectations on digital technology as a means of providing weather, technology, and market information to farmers in Africa, and the corona crisis is likely to be an opportunity to accelerate trials for the digital transformation.
The winter 2020 issue of the magazine "AFRICA" featured the pilot project of the Sasakawa Africa Association (SSA) to build the e-Extension platform for small farmers in the context of the corona crisis and future prospects. Taking advantage of more than 30 years of experience in establishing a local dissemination system, SAA launched this project focusing on e-Extension and e-Learning services to mitigate the effects of COVID-19 and strengthen the resilience of the African food system. In the event of the corona crisis, the three priority areas of support are "technology transfer" and "labor-saving agriculture" using ICT to reduce contact between people and secure social distance, and "access to input materials" as a response to the stagnation of logistics due to the effects of lockdown. Furthermore, looking ahead into the post COVID-19, the ideal e-Extension platform envisions not only improving agricultural productivity, but also resolving the "information asymmetry" that can occur in the entire value chain by actively utilizing ICT technology.
Sasakawa Africa Association website: https://www.saa-safe.org
Voices from the Field https://www.saa-safe.org/news/news.php?nt=2&lng=usa
Contributor: IIYAMA Miyuki (Research Strategy Office)