Hi everyone! I've recently discovered your community and very interested in watching it grow -- I'm particularly excited about the new developments with the Foundation and the growing ecosystem.
So far I haven't seen very much content or discussion about agriculture in low and middle income countries. As described in the ICT4Ag conference web site,
Over 2 billion people depend on 500 million smallholder farms for their livelihoods. Smallholder farmers produce 80% of the food consumed in Asia and sub-Saharan Africa. Yet smallholders and their families make up half of those who are food insecure.
Small farm sizes, limited borrowing capacity, increasingly erratic climate, counterfeit inputs, difficult enabling environments, and volatile markets combine to make it a challenge for smallholder farmers to increase their income, or even feed themselves. Maize yields in Africa average just 1 ton per hectare, and rice yields in Asia rarely surpass 4 tons per hectare.
Farmers could increase productivity and profitably to meet growing urban demand if they have access to better financial services, the knowledge and skills to adopt new practices, and incentives aligned along the value chain to support farmer, private sector, and government agricultural stakeholders.
So I'm curious if there is anyone lurking out there thinking about some of these issues, and whether or not this community would be a good place for such people to gather. Please share your thoughts either as a reply here in this topic, or send me a private message. Thanks!