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From motorbike to mobile phone: new extension services for rural farmers through mobile ICT

With 40 million people pushed into poverty since 2010, and a world population predicted to rise to 9 billion by 2050, the demands on already diminishing finite resources are growing. Countries such as Brazil and the U.S. have maintained a constant rate of yield increase since 1949, whereas in poorer countries productivity has dropped in-line with soil fertility and water availability, among other causes. The research and development has been done: new seed varieties, fertilizers and cropping systems exist, all of which can boost harvests that are currently one fifth of those in the U.S. What is missing in sub-saharan Africa is a system to transfer this knowledge in a way that smallholder farmers can easily access. The opportunity to improve food security and livelihoods exists, it just needs to be delivered.

This discussion brief looks at how mobile ICT can be scaled-up to improve food security and livelihoods, with a case stude from Uganda.


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