Supporting Farmers With Low-Cost Digital Tools During The Covid-19 Pandemic

“The eProd team identified several key constraints that basically cripple field activities for the buyers from small-scale producers in Africa”, according to Miss Erna Goudt, Client Relationship Manager at eProd Solutions, and speaker at the ICT4D webinar series.  Due to the current crisis, it has indeed become exceedingly difficult to conduct basic field operations, such as registering farmers and their fields. eProd can assist to collect farmer groups, farmer and field profiles, field inspections, and managing produces collections via local field staff and lead farmers.

Secondly, gathering reliable data to monitor field production via field inspections and survey data from farmers, has become very difficult and companies are in the dark regarding crop status and projecting yields. Thirdly, communication with farmers has stopped or at least significantly reduced while the current situation requires the continuation of extension services, sharing of market price information, and updates on COVID-19 awareness. Fourth, following up on the buyers’ field staff’s activities is even more difficult than ever before. How to verify movements, accomplishments, etc?

Finally, and probably the most crippling factor, there is a lack of cash liquidity in the field for farmers to invest in field activities, farming inputs, etc. On one hand, many buyers are not able to pay farmers remotely via mobile money transfer or bank account, and farmers can’t link up with financial institutions or can’t be checked for creditworthiness. How would buyers share credit risk information with financial institutions, automated loan repayment, and tri-partite agreements, and manage their input inventories without appropriate and affordable tools?

Please participate in the upcoming webinar, part of the virtual edition of the ICT4D Conference and ongoing ICT4D webinar series, you will hear about low-cost digital and mobile technologies to support farmers under these unprecedented circumstances.