Ethiopian commodity marketing system attracts interest

Kenya is one of three countries that are eyeing software developed by the Ethiopian Commodity Exchange (ECX) to market and sell agricultural products through an internet portal. The others are Zimbabwe and Tanzania who believe the tool that can improve farmer’s earnings. This was announced by ECX chief executive Dr Eleni Gadri-Madhini said at the seventh African Fine Coffee Conference and Exhibition held in Mombasa last week.

The software serves farmers, traders, processors, exporters and consumers. It provides a secure and reliable system of handling, grading, and storing commodities, matching offers and bids for commodity transactions, and a risk-free payment and goods delivery system. Once adopted, farmers will have increased access to market information and be able to trade coffee directly.

e-Extension officers for Ghana districts

Dr Kwame Amezah, the National Director of Extension of the Ministry Of Food and Agriculture, has said the sector would introduce Electronic (e) Extension Services by April. The e-extension service, which the World Bank will support, would be piloted in 50 districts.

Dr Amezah said this at the opening of a two-day Agricultural Extension Performance Review Workshop for 25 District Extension officers in the Western Region at Apowa on Tuesday. He said the e-extension would promote knowledge in the dissemination of information, store data and update information in the sector through the use of mobile phones. He said it was important for extension officers to update themselves on commodities and practices that are common in the area where they operate. “You have to move away from face to face interaction for farmers to group and community campaigns that would help the sector to grow”, he said.

via Ghana News Agency, 20 Jan 2010

Inventory of agricultural information systems

The Inventory of Innovative Farmer Advisory Services using ICTs, from the excellent Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa, was published in February 2009, but I have just discovered it. It lists sixty systems dedicated to improving the technical and business information available to small farmers in Africa.

Its foreword provides a progressive view of the new discipline of  “e-Agriculture”:

The e‐Agriculture concept  goes beyond technology, to the integration of
knowledge and culture, aimed at improving communication and learning processes
among relevant actors in agriculture at different levels i.e. locally, regionally and
globally.

Uganda to expand rural information system

The International Institute for Communication and Development (IICD) and the Ugandan government have signed an agreement to expand a programme that helps rural farmers increase their income through ICT-enabled crop marketing services. The Rural Information System (RIS) programme enables farmers to send and receive production and market information through 26 information centres in isolated areas throughout the country. The information helps farmers sell their produce at better prices. The Ministry of Trade, Tourism and Industry (MTTI) will build ten new centres.

The new phase in the programme will begin in early 2010. The involvement of MTTI significantly improves the sustainability of the RIS programme. Together with the Uganda Commodity Exchange, MTTI will drive the programme and work with existing farmer cooperatives to set up new centres. IICD will act as project advisor, sharing its experience in rolling out the existing centres and its expertise in monitoring and evaluation.

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