How ICT tools are improving efficiency of agricultural development

From Global development | The Guardian Thu Jan 24 2013, 07:10:00

Data collection and monitoring and evaluation through mobile apps is fast taking over traditional methods of collecting and using information - and the results are impressive

Data collection and monitoring and evaluation (M&E) are a vital part of development work, as the results determine where public services are most needed, and what approaches prove effective.

Traditionally, pen and paper have been used to collect data in the field and for monitoring and evaluation of projects in rural areas. However, this approach is time consuming and susceptible to human error that may affect productivity and accuracy. Information and communication technologies are now being used widely with remarkable positive results to perform these tasks in agricultural development projects.

In a recent global discussion organised by the World Bank and e-Agriculture, experts from various fields and organisations around the world shared their experiences and discussed the ways in which they were using ICT - mobilephones, tablets, applications and software - to collect data in the field, and to perform M&E in development projects, while also working closely with rural communities and taking their feedback. The discussion has been summarised in a policy brief and outlines the benefits of using ICT for data collection. Several examples of theapps were also showcased in the discussion, among those:

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