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By Riten Chand Gosai, Pacific Regional Winner of the CTA ARDYIS Essay contest

Abstract
Agriculture continues to be the economic mainstay of the Fiji Islands and is metaphorically referred to as the backbone of the country. The sector, however, is not immune to obscurity and faces many challenges. Two of such challenges are the lack of agricultural information being disseminated to needy farmers and reluctance of small scale farmers to commercialize production. This essay examines how information and communication technology can be used to address these predicaments. Firstly, it will discuss how information poverty can be eradicated by the use of mobile phone applications, rural ‘telecentres’ with internet, video satellite presentations and the use of traditional media namely radio and television. Then it will entail how small holder farmers in Fiji can be encouraged to commercialize through interactive use of ICTs. These include enhancing production techniques, improving market access, stock control, quality control and the use of global positioning systems (GPS) in innovative farming. The essay also includes several examples of technologies that have been successfully implemented in other parts of the world in similar situations as the Fiji Islands.

Published in Key publications

By Gerald Musakaruka Mangena from Zimbabwe: Southern African Regional Winner of the CTA ARDYIS Essay contest

It is 7:00 in the morning, and a 28 year old Zimbabwean new farmer gets up to prepare for the day. This season she expects a good 500 tonnes of high quality potatoes. Today will be her first day of selling and she is still wondering where all these potatoes will be sold.

Published in Key publications

By Maureen Agena from Uganda: East African Regional Winner of the CTA ARDYIS Essay contest.

With over 88% of Uganda’s Population of 29 million being rural based and depending almost entirely on agriculture at various levels of livelihoods. It is widely held that access to accurate and timely information by rural communities can not only increase agricultural productivity; it can also result into enhanced economic and social development.

Published in Key publications

By Chris Mwangi from Kenya: East African Regional Winner of the CTA ARDYIS Essay contest

Currently, Kenya has four active mobile operators. The technology is the prime mode of communication in the country. Since its introduction, the industry has picked up quickly and remarkably, covering most of the geographical areas of the country and has contributed greatly to local peoples’ livelihoods.

Published in Key publications

By Anthony Itodo Samuel from Nigeria: West African Regional Winner of the CTA ARDYIS Essay contest

Nigeria’s economy is overwhelmingly agrarian. In 1999 70% of Nigeria’s labor force was involved in agriculture. In 2009 agriculture accounted for 33.4% of Nigeria’s GDP, while 70% of the population lived below the poverty line in 2007.

Published in Key publications
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