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Week 1 summary - #d4ag dialogue - Shaping #digital agriculture #capacities

In week 1, we asked you to reflect and share what training topics, skills, and knowledge you think implementers need to make their actions more effective. Below is the summary of the contributions received.


On Implementers needs

Basic capacity skills covered included the use of data collection tools, statistical skills, digital ethics and data management

One very  interesting need raised was the need to know how to assess the need of a digital platform /technology/ application with the end users and not to promote a technology to the end user just because it is there - acknowledging that software is not the solution to every business problem. 

A human-centered approach was advocated by many contributors to the dialogue, which perhaps suggests that by starting with an effective process, that can build trust and properly identify the needs of the users, will allow other capacity building needs to emerge, specific to the local context.

Finally, Ben suggested looking at the skills/capacities that implementers may need under each of the 4 pillars of the D4Ag Framework that he presented at the dialogue kickoff webinar. He encouraged contributions from folks working on the ground to implement agricultural projects “to make the identification of needs more practical - and to see if the concept/framework makes sense.”

List of emerging skills/capacity needed:

  1. Capacity building skills 

    1. Developing web hub for promotion

    2. Developing Market Information Systems (MIS)

    3. Use of digital data collection tools e.g survey tools

    4. Use of mobile and computer based platforms for collecting and managing data plus interpreting dashboards

    5. Basic statistical skills in collecting, managing, analysis and interpreting data

    6. Practical tech skills, digital literacy, digital security, digital ethics and sustainability strategies. Some training on the use of data. 

    7. Training on digital digital security, digital ethics and on sustainability strategies

    8.  Improve and to update their respective data literacy taking account of their new digital tools used in data process: in profiling farmers' data, in sharing data or in data analysis.

  2. Business development

    1. Connecting farmers to market opportunities

    2. Strategy development e.g. defining goals based on problems they are facing

    3. Communication skills 

      1. Skills to pitch to donors / investors

      2. Skills to work effectively with IT analysts

  3. Awareness of the context

    1. Understanding that not every node of their processes needs to be automated digitally (software is not the solution to every business problem)

    2. Mindful of technology transfer and the importation of western concepts which are responsible for the social inequalities in which poor families are falling behind

  4. Awareness of D4Ag

    1. Knowledge of available ICT4 agriculture technologies

    2. awareness raising on tools, latest innovations and tech application

    3. Facilitate knowledge exchange between different countries which have started to operate large ICT4Ag solutions

  5. Human-centred design approaches

    1. sustainable development concepts which are readily available to researchers and decision-makers to cocreate regenerative education and regenerative agriculture as effective social innovation

    2. how to conduct Human Centered Design (stakeholder engagement and contextualization of potential tech solutions)

    3. Need to know how to assess the need of a digital platform /technology/ application with the end users and not to promote a technology to the end user just because it is there. how to assess the technologies if they are applicable in your situations.

    4. Those implementing a solution must have the knowledge and equally importantly the confidence to challenge the developers


  • The discussion highlighted the need to tailor awareness raising messages to specific target groups, acknowledging that ‘implementers’ is a large stakeholder group, and therefore, will have differing objectives, reach, means, target group(s) etc. 

  • There was agreement that the high cost of digital literacy (time and money) to the farmers: regular trainings; infrastructure (internet, computers, smart phones etc), coupled with the lack of inexpensive data infrastructures or IT devices, as well as the unavailability of expertise in data management, can lead to low adoption of innovations by farmers.

  • As in many situations the challenge of time arose, in particular not allocating enough time spent on meaningful stakeholder engagement processes. Without this part of the process it can be challenging to build trust, and ensure that solution providers have adequate knowledge of the end users needs, both of which help to improve linkages between reach and extension,  Another important point raised was to avoid imposing western ideas on local global south contexts, as well as working to embed capacity building in the process of implementation.