Digital Tools for Agriculture

Digital Development for Feed the Future (D2FTF) is a collaboration between the U.S. Global Development Lab (Lab) and the Bureau for Food Security (BFS) at USAID. Launched in September 2015, this three year partnership is aimed at integrating digital tools and approaches into the Feed the Future portfolio.

Due to the rapid global growth and increasing ubiquity of mobile and digital technologies, it is now possible to unleash a new farming revolution: one driven by data and information sharing. Digital technologies have upended business models and expanded the frontiers of information access in the developing world by increasing access to more efficient and cheaper payment and savings tools, delivering weather forecasts to actors throughout the agricultural value chain, and providing real-time pricing information to small-scale producers.

D2FTF utilizes four categories of digital tools based on evidence of their impact: (1) precision agriculture (including sensor technology), (2) digital financial services, (3) data-driven agriculture facilitated by better data collection, analysis, and dissemination, and (4) mobile-enabled extension information delivery.

OUR APPROACH

We pursue integration of digital tools into the Feed the Future portfolio by: (1) In country technical assistance to Feed the Future programs in four countries: Ghana, Uganda, Nepal and Cambodia. (2) Capacity building through policy input into the Global Food Security Strategy, trainings for USAID staff, and the development of toolkits and other learning activities, (3) Contributing to thought leadership in digital agriculture via workshops, case studies, technical reports and applied research.

SAMPLE ACTIVITIES

  • In Cambodia, D2FTF is providing technical assistance to a Feed the Future nutrition activity to develop a digitally-enabled model for its Conditional Cash Transfers, contributing to the overall goal of tackling stunting through better nutrition messaging and practices.
  • In Uganda, the team is working directly with Feed the Future activities, in partnership with Strategic Impact Advisors, to increase uptake of digital financial services throughout the value chain through direct technical assistance and trainings. In Nepal, D2FTF worked with the USAID Mission and local partners to run the Data Driven Farming Prize, designed to identify innovative ways to collect, analyze and disseminate information to small-holder farmers in order to improve outputs.
  • In Ghana D2FTF is working with the Grameen Foundation to conduct a landscape assessment of how profiles of farmers are defined, conceptualized and employed to provide services to small holders in order to identify best practices.

RESOURCES

GUIDE TO THE USE OF DIGITAL FINANCIAL SERVICES IN AGRICULTURE. This guide helps identify specific challenges in value chains, and subsequently identifies corresponding digital financial service (DFS) solutions with the aim of advancing digital financial inclusion for smallholder farmers.

EVIDENCE OF DIGITAL TOOLS IMPACT IN AGRICULTURE. This meta analysis of 200 documents and reports demonstrates the value of integrating digital tools into agriculture.

CASE STUDIES. These documents highlight how organizations and projects both within Feed the Future countries and across the agriculture sector globally are using digital tools and technologies to more efficiently and effectively meet their goals.

AGRICULTURE.DIGITALDEVELOPMENT.ORG. This online resource features technical guides, case studies, toolkits, blogs and more.

Last updated: March 14, 2018

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