Using ICT to Overcome Constraints in the Agriculture Value Chain: Emerging Trends in Ghana

Using ICT to Overcome Constraints in the Agriculture Value Chain: Emerging Trends in Ghana

Siegfried Kofi Debrah (International Fertilizer Development Corporation, Ghana) and Isaac Kwadwo Asare (International Fertilizer Development Corporation, Ghana)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-4153-2.ch041
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Abstract

Development partner efforts and private sector initiatives on ICT applications in agriculture have brought new opportunities for farmers and traders to reduce transaction costs and increase incomes. The applications are primarily used for linking actors in the agricultural value chain, accessing real time information on prices, buyers and sellers, transport and haulage, and other relevant information services in the agricultural value chain. Limited evidence from Ghana and elsewhere show that cell phone applications have resulted in increased incomes but the impacts and sustainability of other ICT applications have proven elusive. The role of ICT in overcoming the key constraints in the agricultural value chain and for making evidence-based decisions will be greatly enhanced if farmers, aggregators, and other stakeholders in the value chain pay attention to their business scope and schedule planning, executing, monitoring and control, procurement, risk planning, and stakeholder communications in a “project management” context. When this is done, ICT applications will facilitate supply chain management through sharing of timely and pertinent information on producers, buyers and other services, thereby helping to promote industry competitiveness. The major challenges to the widespread use and sustainability of ICT remain access to the appropriate ICT tool, poor road and storage infrastructure (particularly in the farming communities) and illiteracy on the part of the majority of smallholder farmers.
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Ict Applications In Agriculture

ICT applications have become important in facilitating decision making by actors in the agricultural value chain. Most of the applications have been for market price information collection and dissemination and are based on cell phone use. Such services, according to Action for Enterprise (2010, p. 2), are provided through four categories of providers:

  • 1.

    Mobile Network Operators (MNOs);

  • 2.

    Third-party service providers;

  • 3.

    Buyers providing information to producers; and

  • 4.

    Market Information Service provided by the public sector.

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