WorldAgInfo First KM Reviews

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The “First Kilometre” is a metaphor for reaching, interacting with, listening to, learning from, empowering and enriching smallholders. It is chosen to counter the “top-down” connotations of the more common “last mile” vocabulary.

Research on the topics covered here provided background for the WorldAgInfo Design Team on existing information systems for large and smallholder producers, and a beginning understanding of how they might be improved. While the issues involved are wide-ranging and incredibly complex, focus areas were identified where the Design Team would benefit from more in-depth research. Information gathered informed and helped shape the deliberations of the two workshops.

The Design Team commissioned research analysts to survey the literature, understand the issues of institutional context, and inventory what is happening on the ground. Each review resulted in an approximately 10-page report with a narrative review and list of citations. Eleven areas were surveyed, with an emphasis on successes, failures, scalability, incentives, sustainability and replicability.

Additional materials and an archive of the project web site can be found on the Internet Archive here.

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Recent Submissions

Now showing 1 - 10 of 11
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    Literature Review: Community Knowledge Workers and Village-based Knowledge Systems
    Maredia, Karim (World Ag Info Project, 2007)
    With the emergence of the ‘new agriculture’ and the availability and rapid uptake of information and communication technology (ICT) tools, governments are refocusing development resources in rural areas. Excellent recent reviews and studies provide information on the vision and momentum towards bringing information and knowledge to the village level (Arunachalam, 2004; Kuriyan and Toyama, 2007; Dossani et al., 2005). This list of publications and web links serves as a useful resource on community development and village-based knowledge systems.
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    Soil Health and Soil Quality: A Review
    Kinyangi, James (World Ag Info Project, 2007-09-27)
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    Radio Education: A Review of the Literature
    O’Shea, Patrick; Richmond, Simon (World Ag Info Project, 2007)
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    Supermarkets and Beyond: Literature Review on Farmer to Market Linkages in Sub-Saharan Africa and Asia
    Tschirley, D. (World Ag Info Project, 2007-07-28)
    This paper reviews recent literature on selected issues that need to be considered in designing policies and programs to improve farmer-to-market linkages in Sub-Saharan Africa and Asia. Since the “supermarket revolution” has received wide attention in the professional and popular press since the early 2000s, this paper starts with a careful review of that literature. Yet expectations regarding supermarket growth in Africa and parts of Asia have cooled considerably over the past two years. For this reason, the discussion of supermarkets is cast in the broader context of retail modernization; we stress the interaction of supermarkets and more traditional marketing channels in African and Asian food systems, and suggest that these systems are likely to remain highly diversified for the foreseeable future. Additional topics include domestic and regional markets as foci of growth, market information (including commodity exchanges and modern information and communications technology - ICT), and contract farming for export crops. Given the rapid pace of change in marketing systems in developing countries, primary emphasis is placed on research since 2000.
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    First Kilometer Incentives: A Review of the Literature
    O’Shea, Patrick (World Ag Info Project, 2007)
    The purpose of this document is to review the literature concerning the incentives that are used to bridge the “First Kilometer.” The term “Last Mile” is often used to indicate the gap between the rural farmers and all of the agricultural support staff who are attempting to deliver agricultural content and skills to them. As WorldAgInfo is focused on incorporating the rural farmer into the creation and delivery of their own content, the term “First Kilometer” is used to indicate this same gap, but approached from the other direction. Through this review, several themes emerged. In general, these themes can be described as demonstrating incentives that are economic, that deal with extension or other educational services, those efforts that attempt to build the farmers’ voice in the process, those efforts that attempt to build trust in the system, and those efforts that deal with technical or infrastructural needs. This document will describe each of these themes in turn.
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    Integrated Pest Management Resources
    Maredia, Karim; Baributsa, Dieudonne (World Ag Info Project, 2008-01)
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    Corruption and the Smallholder: A Review of Current Literature and Research
    Webster, Chris (World Ag Info Project, 2007)
    Corruption is a hot topic of academic and public policy research. Specifically, corruption is often characterized as directly impacting the economies of developing countries: “Corruption undermines governance, economic growth, and, ultimately, the stability of countries and regions” (Spector, 2005). Of particular concern are areas of the world, such as Sub-Saharan Africa, where corruption is perceived to be rampant and where smallholders form the backbone of the economy. This paper addresses the current research and literature on corruption with a specific focus on the impact of corruption on the smallholder.
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    Curriculum Enhancement and Reform to Meet the Needs of Smallholder Farmers in Developing Countries: Survey of Literature
    Maredia, Mywish (World Ag Info Project, 2007-09-26)
    An agriculture-focused development agenda requires building and strengthening three core institutions— education, research and extension. These are the three nodes of what is referred as the “Agriculture Knowledge and Information System” (AKIS) or simply the “knowledge triangle” (FAO 2000, Rivera et al. 2006). Smallholder farmers are at the heart of the knowledge triangle. The agricultural education system plays an important role in developing knowledge resources and preparing well-trained individuals who serve smallholder farmers through these three core institutions (i.e., researchers, educators, extension staff) as well as prepare the labor force that becomes part of the public sector (government), the private sector (entrepreneurs, farm producers, agri-business entities) and the NGOs. An education system that is innovative and responsive to the complex and rapidly changing work environment is critical to ensure the effectiveness of all the institutions that contribute to agricultural development agenda. To make the education system responsive requires developing and implementing curriculum and teaching programs that are relevant to the production needs and employment demands of the agricultural sector. This paper reviews recent literature on experiences gained in the development of innovative and demand-driven curriculum to make the agricultural education system serve the needs of smallholder farmers in developing countries. The focus is on curriculum enhancement and reform in the post-secondary agricultural education system.
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    Major Agricultural Information Initiatives: With Emphasis on Developing Country Services
    Hutchinson, Barbara (World Ag Info Project, 2007-09-26)
    The purpose of this background paper on major agricultural information systems is not only to provide an overview of the wide variety of online agriculture-related content delivery services, but an understanding of the ongoing initiatives to bring continuity to an increasingly fragmented and sometimes duplicative information environment. While the revolution in information and communications technologies has made it possible to store and provide access to massive amounts of information, data, and targeted resources on a real-time basis, it has also considerably widened the playing field of participants in this process. What was once the domain of a handful of organizations is now a complex arena of stakeholders who are grappling with the complicated issues that affect the development of collaborative, multifaceted knowledge systems. At the same time, innovations, including Web 2.0 applications and rural information kiosks (World Bank 2007) as well as re-purposed traditional technologies such at radio and mobile phones, now make it possible to incorporate local knowledge directly into information services and to begin closing the digital divide that has limited the benefits of scientific advancements for farmers and rural communities in developing countries (Rao 2001; FAO 2004c; FAO 2005c; ITU 2007). That the intentions of the service providers have been virtuous and focused ultimately on improving livelihoods throughout the world is not in question; however, the reality of multiple organizations with similar missions and widely varying resource allocations has at times led to a climate of competition that has made it difficult to reach desired outcomes. In spite of these challenges, this paper will demonstrate a convergence of areas where progress has been made and where technical innovations may contribute to further progress in meeting the needs of the smallholder farmer in the future.
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    Agricultural Extension in Africa and Asia
    Eicher, Carl K. (World Ag Info Project, 2007-08-15)
    Without question, agricultural extension is now back on the development agenda. The acknowledged failure of the T&V extension model in Asia and Africa in the late eighties and early nineties has stimulated debate on extension reforms and new extension models such as Farmer Field Schools. Today extension reforms are underway in many countries in Asia and Latin America and to a lesser extent in Africa. The purpose of this review is to summarize the literature on the role of agricultural extension systems in helping smallholder farmers in Africa and Asia increase agriculture production and their livelihoods.