ICT and Distance Learning for Agricultural Extension in Low Income Countries

ICT and Distance Learning for Agricultural Extension in Low Income Countries

Colin R. Latchem (Open Learning Consultant, Australia) and Ajit Maru (Agricultural Informatics Consultant, India)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59904-939-7.ch174
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Abstract

About 2 billion people in low-income countries are dependent upon smallholding farming for their livelihoods. These are among the world’s poorest people. Most of them lack land tenure and farm in regions with limited land and water resources. Many must cope with drought, desertification, and environmental damage caused by failed land reforms, large-scale monocropping, overgrazing, logging, destroyed watersheds, and the encroachment of new pests and diseases. They use only the most primitive of tools and they lack the knowledge and skills to improve their farming methods, value-add their produce, and compete in national and global markets. Many of these smallholder communities have been devastated by HIV/AIDS. In some regions of sub-Saharan Africa, food production has dropped by 40%, and it is estimated that over the next 20 years, 26% of the agricultural labour force will be lost to this pandemic. And demographic and economic changes in the low-income nations are increasingly leaving farming in the hands of women, who lack the knowledge and resources to farm efficiently.

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