Digital Agriculture Webinar Series
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Supporting Farmers Digitally:
How to deliver agricultural extension services to farmers in Ethiopia during COVID-19
June 24, 2020
Extension services, or the delivery of information and agricultural inputs to farmers, is critical to helping smallholder farmers improve productivity. However, with COVID-19 limiting the movement of people and goods, the agribusiness industry is having to rethink how these services are delivered.
This webinar explored digital tools that can provide extension services to farmers, how stakeholders can promote and adopt these tools, and how policymakers can encourage the development and use of digital extension services as a long-term approach to supporting farmers.
COVID-19 is negatively impacting the agribusiness sector, causing delays in the distribution of agricultural inputs such as fertilizer and seeds, disruption to farmer extension services, a shortage of labor for harvesting, and difficulties in bringing agricultural products to the market.
Extension services in Ethiopia traditionally include organizing on-site demonstrations at farms, farmer-to-farmer knowledge sharing, in-person meetings and input deliveries. All of that has been affected.
Digital tools are one solution many organizations are using in Ethiopia to experiment with virtual extension services to small holder farmers to help farmers with good production practices, timely reporting of cases, information on production risks and mitigation plans and pricing updates.
The increasing penetration of mobile networks as well as availability of mobile phones and their facilities in the country paves way for the provision of agricultural extension services, market information and financial services (e.g. mobile banking).
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Farm to Fork: How Digital Payments Can Transform Agricultural Supply Chains in Ethiopia
The role and applicability of Digital Payments Systems in mitigating COVID-19 related disruptions in Agribusiness value chains: examples from Ethiopia and Kenya.
The Coronavirus pandemic is having significant disruptive and negative structural and economic impact on countries around the world. This discussion focused on the different ways key actors can push and promote digital, contactless payments and remote banking and the impact it can have on the agriculture sector.
As various restrictions are put in place in response to COVID-19, food remains an essential item and the agriculture sector plays a central role in ensuring that existing supply chains are maintained. Over the last few years, Ethiopia has made important progress in the modernization of the payment system, with a number of technology providers offering digital payment platforms and local banks embracing modern methods of reaching their customer base. Various productivity gains are associated with digitisation and as a sector agriculture is seen as a laggard and behind the curve. Despite positive developments in introducing online banking, mobile banking, p2p and p2b payments; these unprecedented times, may force the agriculture sector to embrace this form of technology to improve efficiency and transparency.
The panelists focused on the push to go digital and the key considerations for the Agricultural sector in Ethiopia
- Reaching the rural market—scaling beyond the urban hubs and delivering payment solutions.
- Reliability of the telecoms sector—relying on a single player and agility to provide services offline.
- Local regulatory framework—robustness and gaps in the legal framework, interoperability, Payment System Proclamation, national payment system and central switch.
- Applicability in the Agriculture sector-the value proposition of payment systems to different actors in the agriculture value chain.
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Lessons from Ethiopia: Digital tools to mitigate COVID-19 on agribusiness
COVID-19 is disrupting agriculture and food supply chains by causing a shortage of labor, transport restrictions, quarantine measures and enhanced border controls. The World Bank Group is exploring how digital technologies can mitigate these challenges.
The webinar featured representatives from government and private sector sharing their respective efforts to manage the crisis, with a focus on the positive impact of digital technologies.
We also launched the Ag-Tech User Guide, developed by the Agribusiness Market Ecosystem Alliance, which profiles digital solutions with benefits for smallholder farming.
This webinar was part of a series building up to the second Digital Disruption in Agriculture Forum, which will take place on October 28–29, 2020 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
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