Web 2.0 and Social Media Tools for Agri-business Marketing

Web2Presenter: Nicholas Kimolo, Communication Specialist, Futuristic Ltd

Technological innovation is taking place at a breath-taking pace. Simple, open-source internet-based applications and services designed to enhance on-line collaboration are now available to the wider public at little or no cost at all. These new online technologies known as Web 2.0 and Social Media applications enable people to collaborate to create, share and publish information.

Web 2.0 and Social Media technologies can become a key enabler in the realisation of an organization’s objectives. These technologies can enable an organization to increase participation to and from the grassroots while facilitating information exchange, knowledge sharing and communication among its stakeholders. enhancing openness (building lasting relationships, trust and loyalty), and supporting user controlled thematic content generation, curation and information sharing.

In this session, we will explore some of these technologies and see some best practices.


iCow logoPresenter: Susan Kahumbu Stephanou, CEO, iCow

iCow is the intersection between technology, agriculture, research and passion, resulting in an innovative mobile phone agricultural service that meets the challenges of the Kenyan farming community quickly, cost effectively and sustainably. iCow’s objective is to increase farmer productivity through access to knowledge and experts and to encourage the growth of a younger generation of farmers. The iCow platform has a series of dairy agri products that are available over a simple menu system. Farmers dial a short code, *285#, and access a simple menu that guides them on how to subscribe to the various products. After subscribing, the system begins to send farmers SMSs at intervals depending on the product choice. On average the farmers will receive 3 SMSs a week at a cost of US$ 0.034 each. iCow is powered in Kenya by Safaricom Ltd and developed by Green Dreams TECH Ltd

Mobile Agribiz

Mobile AgribizPresenter: Narcisse Mbunzama, CEO, Mobile Agribiz

Mobile Agribiz (mogribu.com) is a web and SMS mobile application that helps farmers decide when and how to plant crops, select the best crops for a given location using climate and weather data, and connect to the available market. It helps connect farmers to buyers, and helps them to obtain skills (e.g. how to plant crops, how to use fertilizers) and necessary information aggregates (e.g. weather, crop pricing) from different sources. Farmers can easily connect with customers by sending an SMS with their phone number, information on goods, prices and quantities fort sale. This information is plotted into a map in our servers enabling customers to see farmers’ information, the goods they are selling, their quantities and location, and make a connection. As a result of using Mobile Agribiz, farmers in the Congo improve their productivity, are empowered with new skills, increase their incomes by 40%, and attain enhanced food security and nutrition.


Next2Presenter: Brian Puckett, CEO, Next2

The Next2 platform builds intelligent “knowledge hubs” that automatically connect farmers with each other, and with the businesses and organizations they rely on for assistance and expertise. Next2 helps farmers communicate with other farmers, with agricultural extension services, and with agriculture value chains. Our sophisticated knowledge hub software “mimics” the location and social features of smartphones so farmers can connect around common locations and shared interests using even simple mobile features and text messaging (SMS). Farmers use Next2 location-based services to buy and sell, access market and weather information and share local indigenous knowledge and expertise. Extension services and value chain participants use Next2’s hub software to deliver SMS auto-responder messaging services quickly and economically to farmers without the need for any specialised software or expertise.

Doing by viewing

Doing by viewingPresenters: Perez Muchunguzi, Extension Agronomist IITA & Boudy van Schagen, Knowledge Sharing Specialist, Bioversity International

Doing by viewing is a video-supported farmer training approach to enhance comprehension and learning. The Consortium for Improving Agriculture-based Livelihoods in Central Africa (CIALCA) supports NGOs and development organisations that are engaged in agricultural development, but require ready-made solutions that can be easily scaled out in the field. Technical innovation packages are provided to boundary partners and farmers’ organisations using a training-of-trainers model, supported by knowledge products and video to maximise learning and impact. Complex concepts and technologies can be quickly conveyed using local-language training videos developed and validated by CIALCA and RAB, thus saving time and reducing costs. Videos can be shown in-field using a laptop and a pico-projector, and knowledge retention is ensured by the provision of hard-copy factsheets and by saving soft copies of the videos on partners’ laptops, and on video-capable mobile phones.


ict4ag plugplay IFPRI v01Presenter: Luz Marina Alvare, Head of Knowledge Management, Communications and Knowledge Management Division, International Food Policy Research Institute

Mendeley is a combination of a desktop application and a website which helps you manage, share and discover both content and contacts in research. IFPRI’s experience with this tool has proven successful and impactful as it facilitates collaborative adding and tagging of papers, is interconnected with social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter, and can provide readership statistics. Furthermore, it allows authors to create and embed bios on other sites and portals, which give the author control over what information is displayed about them, as they can update it at will. IFPRI utilised Mendeley’s group platform to create a collaborative bibliography group of research publications relevant to one of IFPRI’s 2011 conferences entitled, ‘Agriculture, Nutrition, and Health.’ This group continues to provide a space for publication sharing and online discussions.


AGRICOPresenter: Yacouba Dao, Developer, AGRICO

The large number of interventions by partners and multiplicity of projects done in organizations makes the task of extracting data for analysis and decision-taking purposes more complex. Several hours and sometimes days are spent on one isolated activity, and following its progression over many years. At times, several reports must be evaluated and this makes work harder and more ineffective. AGRICO is a software package which enables an agricultural cooperative to insert the references of its members (groups and farmers), their employment contracts, data related to agricultural inputs (fertilisers, seeds, etc.) and their variation. Thereafter, the cooperative will only need to update the information progressively for data extraction purposes and thus be able to conduct analysis by community, village, group, farmer, agricultural campaign, etc.


SBC4DPresenter: Stephane Boyera, CEO, SBC4D

SBC4D’s agriculture business-matching service is a mash-up of mobile, radio and Web platforms that enables farmers in the developing world to use ICTs for direct access to new market opportunities at the local, regional, national and global level, independently of their literacy level, their language or their phone. It uses innovative voice technologies that allow all farmers to use the platform directly without intermediaries. It has different modules to tackle different contexts and needs. It includes voice technologies, SMS and Web access. It also has specific modules to connect with community radio stations and mobile money systems. The platform is a toolbox that can be customised for different regions. It is currently deployed by ITC in Kenya, in cooperation with KACE, and in Fiji with FCLC. It is built on top of an open-source package developed as part of the EU-funded VOICES project.

Group Certification (GC) Management

Group Certification Organic ServicesPresenter: Frank Gerriets, Programme Manager and Director, Organic Services

GC Management is a new software programme that supports smallholder groups and businesses with small producers under contract farming with the management of their internal control system (ICS). All internal inspection procedures and farm data are administered and managed by an efficient database, which includes reports, e.g. farmer and crop lists, as well as data export functions e.g. for non-conformities and corrective actions. GC Management is multi-lingual and offers multi-standard inspection checklists for organic (EU, NOP, JAS, Naturland, Bio Suisse, Demeter), Fairtrade, UTZ Certified and GLOBALG.A.P. standards. Additional standards and languages can be added. Group Certification Management helps producer organizations greatly to simplify the implementation of their ICS; ensure compliance with international food production requirements and standards; improve the organization’s administration and documentation; increase product integrity; improve the communication between the organization and various business partners, e.g. trading companies and the external certifier.

The Agronomy Information and Reminder System (AIRS)

airs3Presenter: Patrick Cyusa, Director of Operations, AxIS

Farmers lack access to relevant location and crop information that can allow them to improve revenue through increased productivity and higher outreach to the market. Most of the mobile-based solutions that have been developed in the past assume that farmers know what information they need and the syntax they have to use to retrieve the information. We have developed a platform that allows data to be pulled from different sources, organized and distributed to relevant subscribed farmers. vAIRS is an implementation of the platform that leverages the Technoserve database of the most efficient fertilisers for coffee productivity depending on the location and soil type. Subscribed farmers are able to receive precise fertiliser recommendations along with other relevant agronomy information depending on their location.


EsokoPresenter: Mark Davies, CEO, Esoko

Esoko is Africa’s most popular mAgric platform for tracking and sharing market intelligence. We have a range of apps that you can choose from to suit your needs. Link farmers to markets with automatic market prices and offers from buyers. Disseminate personalised extension messages based on crop & location. Manage extension officers and lead farmers with SMS messaging. Profile customers, farms, events with powerful handheld survey forms. Monitor field activities in real time with simple and affordable SMS polls. Track logistics like stock counts and truck deliveries. Provide early warning messages about climate issues or disease outbreaks. Add on airtime transactions and call centre services where appropriate. Esoko is a totally customisable comprehensive platform designed to transform how you manage your information needs – all bundled into one easy-to-use interface, and backed up with a unique deployment team to help you anywhere.