About this courseSkip About this course
Digital Agricultural Technologies (DATs) are innovations that enable farmers and agribusiness entrepreneurs to leapfrog to increase their productivity, efficiency, and competitiveness, facilitate access to markets, improve nutritional outcomes and enhance resilience to climate change. These technologies range from mobile apps to digital identities for farmers to solar applications for agriculture to portable agriculture devices. DATs are increasingly becoming indispensable in the global food and agriculture sector, from fast and convenient information delivery to providing virtual marketplaces. Considering the fact that digital technologies can accelerate agro-food outcomes is juxtaposed with low adoption rates of the same, the World Bank’s operations are increasingly incorporating digital agriculture as a critical element in its operations. Thus, it is important to study digital agriculture technologies in further detail.
This five-week course will provide a high-level overview of DAT concepts, potential impact, range of technologies available, used cases as well as forward-looking technologies. The course will introduce the participants to different agriculture data platforms already available and will encourage them to discover the scope and utility of the open data platforms for analytics and intelligence in agriculture. Participants will be required to engage in discussion forums with their peers and complete quizzes throughout the course.
What you'll learnSkip What you'll learn
- Gain a solid understanding of core concepts of DAT and ICT in agriculture, with a focus on used cases and potential impact.
- Learn about digital tools enhancing on-farm productivity.
- Understand how to empower smallholder farmers through ICT/Digital Tools in market access and financial services.
- Gain awareness of the forward-looking technologies and their scope in agriculture – artificial intelligence, remote sensing, crowdsourcing, and big data analytics.
This course runs for 5 weeks.
Week 1: Overview of Digital Agriculture
The first module of this course outlines what ICTs and digital technologies are being used in agriculture and how. It will explore the key drivers of ICT-enabled services in agriculture as well as the lessons learned so far. The module also introduces the Principles of Digital Development established in 2017 to capture the shifting role of technologies in global development. The second section of the module spotlights the impact of mobile phones and mobile technologies on agriculture and rural development.
Week 2: ICT and Digital Tools for Enhancing Productivity on the Farm
In the modules, they are two sections; first section focuses on their impact on on-farm productivity; the second section focuses on improving farming practices through extension and advisory services.
Section 1: How can farmers and governments use ICT and digital tools to increase agricultural productivity? At the local level, farmers can use ICT to match cropping practices to climatic trends, use inputs and resources environmentally and sustainably, and cope with productivity threats. At the national level, public officials can adjust policies to reflect the data collected with ICT and digital tools, predict food supplies, target social programs, or promote yield technologies.
Section 2: ICT and digital tools have the potential to transform extension and advisory services in several ways—including changing the way in which extension agents do their work, but also changing the ways extension institutions are organized and staffed. The emergence of public and private innovators and start-ups with business models built around ICT-enabled advisory services signals the types of transformations that are likely to come.
Week 3: Empowering Smallholder Farmers through ICT/Digital Tools in Financial Services
New channels for delivering financial services (facilitated by ICT), new players, and greater competition enable service providers to offer a larger suite of financial products and services and acquire better financial information, some of which is useful for government regulation and policy development. A number of non-bank institutions have developed innovative approaches to financing agriculture, enabled by or integrated with ICT, including mobile financial services, branchless banking, ATMs, and smartcards.
While the digital revolution is reaching rural areas in many developing countries, the rural-urban digital divide remains, and rural women face a triple divide: digital, rural, and gender. This module looks at the benefits of ICT when placed in the hands of men and women working in agriculture and rural areas. It examines the challenges that must be overcome and provides recommendations for rural communities to take full and equal advantage of ICT.
Week 4: Strengthening Agricultural Market Access with ICT and Digital Tools
Farmers use mobile phones to build a network of contacts and draw on this wider expertise to obtain critical information more rapidly. The mobile phone, its special applications, and the Internet are essentially becoming management tools for farmers, especially in relation to market intelligence. Greater access to information helps farmers make better decisions about transportation and logistics, price and location, supply and demand, diversification of their product base, and access to inputs.
ICT also facilitates market research, increasingly using live information. This market information strengthens farmers’ position in their day-to-day trading. Over time, market intelligence enables them to focus on satisfying consumers’ and buyers’ demands and on developing relationships with stakeholders in the next stage of the value chain. The key development challenge lies in assembling and disseminating this information in a timely manner, not just to traders or larger-scale farmers but also to smallholders.
Week 5: Using ICT for Remote Sensing, Crowdsourcing, and Big Data
This module consists of three sections. (1) Remote sensing, (2) Crowdsourcing and crowd mapping, and (3) Big data for analytics:
The first section , “Remote Sensing for Sustainable Agriculture,” focuses on the different types of geographical solutions that producers and others in agricultural value chains can use to increase efficiency, reduce waste, and ultimately bring about more sustainable agricultural practices.
The second section on “Crowdsourcing and Crowd mapping: The Power of Volunteers,” focuses on how advances in social networking and data collection are enabling individuals to share hyperlocalized data in ways that have the potential to benefit society more broadly.
The last section, “Big Data for Analytics,” focuses on how all of these agriculture-related data collected globally can be mined and analyzed in ways that lead to meaningful insights about how agriculture can be made more sustainable and productive.
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