Framework for Strengthening ICTS for Development
A recent speaker at my university explored the question of why the income benefits of new agricultural practices had not resulted in better nutrition for children in the villages of India. One of the speaker’s guesses was that the people used the ―extra‖ money to buy cell phones. Everyone in the villages, he noted, had cell phones. To put it in more formal terms, authors of a chapter in the 2012 World Bank publication Maximizing Mobile suggest that ―Mobiles are arguably the most ubiquitous modern technology‖ (Kelly and Minges, 2012). They note that in some developing countries, more people have access to mobile phones than to a bank account, electricity or evenwater, and that mobile phones are the vanguard of information and communication technologies (ICTs) in agriculture development. An example of the relevance of mobiles to agriculture comes from Sri Lanka. Officials there discovered that between 2003 and 2008 the country was losing a huge amount of milk because of the lack of systematic attention to 500,000 milk cows’ potential pregnancies. So the country’s eDairy programme made a significant change. In 2009, eDairy set up a system whereby dairy farmers could request veterinary and extension services related to such issues as animal health and artificial insemination by means of simple information technologies (Halewood and Surya, 2012).