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GeoFarmer: A monitoring and feedback system for agricultural development projects
- Eitzinger, Anton, Cock, James, Atzmanstorfer, Karl, Binder, Claudia R., Läderach, Peter, Bonilla-Findji, Osana, Bartling, Mona, Mwongera, Caroline, Zurita, Leo, Jarvis, Andy
- Computers and electronics in agriculture 2019 v.158 pp. 109-121
- Internet, agricultural development, communications technology, cost effectiveness, crops, development projects, experts, farmers, farms, infrastructure, livelihood, monitoring, production technology, risk reduction, Latin America, Western Africa
- Farmers can manage their crops and farms better if they can communicate their experiences, both positive and negative, with each other and with experts. Digital agriculture using internet communication technology (ICT) may facilitate the sharing of experiences between farmers themselves and with experts and others interested in agriculture. ICT approaches in agriculture are, however, still out of the reach of many farmers. The reasons are lack of connectivity, missing capacity building and poor usability of ICT applications. We decided to tackle this problem through cost-effective, easy to use ICT approaches, based on infrastructure and services currently available to small-scale producers in developing areas. Working through a participatory design approach, we developed and tested a novel technology. GeoFarmer provides near real-time, two-way data flows that support processes of co-innovation in agricultural development projects. It can be used as a cost-effective ICT-based platform to monitor agricultural production systems with interactive feedback between the users, within pre-defined geographical domains. We tested GeoFarmer in four geographic domains associated with ongoing agricultural development projects in East and West Africa and Latin America. We demonstrate that GeoFarmer is a cost-effective means of providing and sharing opportune indicators of on-farm performance. It is a potentially useful tool that farmers and agricultural practitioners can use to manage their crops and farms better, reduce risk, increase productivity and improve their livelihoods.